February 17, 2020 by NVVF

“Brilliant Mathematician”

Bill Goss was born in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania on February 29, 1932 (leap year). Bill is a Korean War Veteran and was married to his wife Verlain. They have two children.

He graduated from high school in January 1949 while simultaneously earning his Eagle Scout badge (the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouting Program). Bill immediately joined the U.S. Army National Guard. His unit (field artillery) was activated in January 1951 and sent to Korea. By this time, he was a staff sergeant. He remained in Korea until January 1952, whereupon he was ordered to Japan to help train the Japanese self-defense forces in the art of Field Artillery. The Army honorably discharged Bill in July 1952.

Bill enrolled in college under the G.I. Bill and graduated in 1955 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

He joined the Douglas Aircraft Company and was assigned the task of writing the Pilots Operating Manual RB-66C aircraft even though he knew nothing about it, all seemed to work out well.

In 1956, he left Douglas and joined the Melpar Company, who specialized in government research and development projects. He began working in the aircraft simulation department, which would become his vocation.

The first simulator he worked on was the Sikorsky HSS-2 Sea King military twin rotor helicopter. It took him seven months to perfect the mathematics of simulating the motion of the helicopter rotor (the large blades on top that provide the lift and thrust). No easy feat since a simulator, which is a stationary box on the ground, and must be designed to create the motion and feel of the actual helicopter in flight. This requires enormous amounts of mathematical data, which is then fed into a computer, which operates everything.

Bill was then assigned to a secret U-2 aircraft project, which would allow the spy plane to locate Russian radar sites while flying at very high altitudes. The project came to an abrupt end on May 1, 1960, when Gary Powers was shot down by a missile while flying his U-2 plane over Russia.

He left Melpar and joined Goodyear Aerospace in 1961 to develop a simulator for the F4D Navy carrier-based aircraft.

In 1963, he left Goodyear and was hired by Link to head up the Apollo and Lunar Excursion Module (L.E.M.) simulators. The simulators were located in Houston, Texas and Cape Canaveral, Florida where for the next 6 years he worked closely with all seven of the original astronauts. All were very smart, had great work ethics and were a pleasure to work with. Training went on every day, day after day.

Bill calculated that it cost 85 million dollars to outfit the three Apollo and the two LEM simulators, plus all the external computers and hardware. Each astronaut’s space suit cost between 10 and 12 million dollars.

Bill says that today’s cell phone has more capability than all of the onboard computers on both the Apollo and the LEM combined.

In 1969, the Link Company transferred Bill back to New York state to help work on the Boeing 707, the 727 and 747 aircraft simulators. After this program ended, he was transferred to Link’s Sunnyvale, California operations.

In 1970 he joined Hewlett Packard (HP) company and stayed there until 1984, when he and another HP employee decided to start a company of their own.

This new company would specialize in software testing. There was a great need for testing since a lot of software was arriving on the market full of “bugs” and “holes” and Bill felt an independent company, solely devoted for testing, was in order.

Their company would be known as The International Bureau of Software Test (IBST). It became profitable, almost from the first day of business, was very successful and grew larger. In 1986 Bill and his company were featured in Fortune Magazine. They eventually employed 220 people with three divisions, two in the United States and one in Japan. The business was sold to Gulf + Western and later taken over by Viacom.

In 1998, Bill received the “Volunteer of the Year” award for his many activities from the city of Los Altos, California

BILL GOSS was last modified: February 17th, 2020 by NVVF

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