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Donald W. Douglas


Pioneer Aero Industrialist

Founder of

Douglas Aircraft Company

Born Brooklyn, New York

April 6, 1892 - February 1,1981

Donald Wills Douglas attended the U.S. Naval Academy and then became the first aeronautical student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving his degree in 1914. He began his aviation career as a design engineer for the Glenn L. Martin Company, and in 1920 established his own firm in California, the Douglas Aircraft Company.

In 1924, Donald Douglas was responsible for the design and production of the first airplanes to circumnavigate the Earth. His company produced a continuing line of civil and military aircraft, including the then advanced commercial passenger plane, the DC-1. The legendary DC-3 followed, which as the C-47 of World War II, was delivered in a quantity of 10,926. His inspired genius created other great civil transports, the DC-4, DC-6, DC-7 and the DC-8 and DC-10 jets, which have made air travel a vital part of society.

The Douglas quality of rugged dependability and high performance is characteristic of the many thousand of military and research aircraft and missiles produced. These include many Naval aircraft such as the AD Skyraider and A-4 Skyhawk, and the S-IV and S-IVB upper stages of the great Saturn rocket which has carried man to the Moon.

After his retirement, he remained active in the aerospace community.

Invested 1967 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame

From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984

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Updated: March 12, 2004