Florida Automatic Computer
Florida Automatic Computer FLAC II Florida Automatic Computer

FLAC - Florida Automatic Computer - Patrick AFB, Florida
Notes by E. H. Chandler - April 15, 2001

FLAC I - Programming Manual - Author: Lt. R.J. Konig USAF
Presented to Dan Simpson , Director of Labs, April 2001 for FIT Engineering Library.

FLAC II Artists Rendition, (framed, 2 feet by 5 feet)
Presented to Dan Simpson, Director of Labs, April 2001 for display in FIT Engineering Laboratory.

FLAC Personnel List
Compiled by Ed Chandler who obtained signatures of those people still around in the early Sixties.
List presented to Dan Simpson, Director of Labs, April 2001 for FIT Engineering Library.

FLAC I was operational in 1956 when Ed Chandler joined the RCA Missile Test Project
at the USAF Atlantic Missile Range.
FLAC I was installed in a wooden, three story building at PAFB south of the Cafeteria.
FLAC II was installed, two copies, in the South Wing of the Tech Lab in summer-fall of 1956.
FLAC II became operational in Fall 1956.

The Florida Automatic Computers, FLAC I and FLAC II,
were under the Direction of Josephine LeGault, Manager of RCA Data Reduction
which consisted of Programming, Mathematical Analysis and Computer Operations.

Names acquired in the Sixties, before I left Civil Service for IBM and the Apollo Program.
Names, signatures, were obtained at a going away party for Jo Hall.
The party was held at Nelle Hathaway's home in West Melbourne.

Names - Start-hire Date
Bill Harp Feb 5, 1954
Nannie Franeham Feb 21, 1954
Jo Hall Spears Sep 1954
Dot Zuhlke Jan 20, 1955
Carl Nick Feb 11, 1955
Nelle Hathaway Ayres Aug 1955
Jim Duncan Jan 16, 1956
Rick Arnet Jan 28, 1956
Ed Chandler June 18, 1956 FLAC  Computer Engineer
Bob Pfeifer July 1956
Jim Ayres Sep 17, 1956
Jack Wilson Sep 17, 1956
Tom Lewis Sep 17, 1956
Jerry Perlmutter Oct 8, 1956
Lenny Skeldon Dec 1956
Glenn Cox Dec 10, 1956
Gary Spears June 10, 1957
Red Wheatley Sep 1958
Josephine Legault
Duane Brown
Bruce Glass
John Cundiff
CV Williams
Carey Brazier
Andy Roy
Shirley Roy
Anne Exline
Walter Johnson(may be originator of the term AOK)
FLAC I had 512, 48 bit words of memory. The memory was a mercury acoustic delay line, operating at the speed of sound. Programs were written in machine code in base 16. There was no such thing as an assembler or compiler for FLAC. As one might suspect, FLAC programmers wrote their programs in very few instructions.

FLAC I was a three address machine with a Tally Order (now known as an Index Register). Operator input was from a Flexowriter keyboard and/or seven hole punched paper tape. Missile Tracking data from Mod 2 Radars was recorded in Giannini Code on large rolls of 1.5 inch paper tape. Photographic data was recorded by fixed cameras and tracking cameras.

FLAC I produced output on paper tape for input to Flexowriters. A large battery of Flexowriters was used to type missile test reports on reams of 8.5 x 11 inch paper. Producing missile test reports not only produced reams of paper, the Flexowriters also produced a high volumn of noise.

FLAC II was the same machine as FLAC I from a programmers viewpoint. But, FLAC II had a whopping 4K of magnetic core memory. Sounds incredulous today, but the home built machines did the job as our country pursued knowledge and experience in the vital field of missiles.