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Edgar Schmued

 

 

Airplane Designer

1899 - 1985

Edgar Schmued was born al Hornback, Germany, 30 December 1899. At age eight, he first saw an airplane in flight and decided that aviation was to be his life's work. Edgar embarked early on a rigorous program of self-study to become an engineer, and later served an apprenticeship in a small engine factory. He also designed several innovative engine components for which he received patents. In his spare time, he continued the self-study of aviation. His experience in Germany led to employment with the General Motors Corporation in Brazil, and later with a General Motors subsidiary in the United Stales, the Fokker Aeroplane Company, where he began his career as an airplane design engineer.

In 1935, North American Aviation (NAA) was formed in Los Angeles, California, from General Motors. The talented and inventive Schmued by now a citizen of the United States was employed by North American in early 1936 as a preliminary design engineer and later became Chief of Preliminary Design. During his long tenure at NAA, he contributed greatly to the design of many airplanes.

By far his most famous design was the highly successful P-51 Mustang of World War II. His adaptation of the then new laminar flow wing and other innovations made the P-51 performance outstanding in all respects and its flying qualifies superb. This aircraft was still winning races and setting speed records for piston engine-powered airplanes decades after its production had ended. Edgar Schmued died at Oceanside, California, on 1 June 1985.

Invested 1991 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame


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