Joe Sutter, 'Father of the Boeing 747', dies

31 August 2016

Image courtesy of Boeing 

Joe Sutter, who became known as the father of the jumbo jet after he led the design team that developed the Boeing 747 in the 1960s, has died at the age of 95.

Sutter, who also served on the commission of inquiry into the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, was hailed as "one of the giants of aerospace" by Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner.

"His team, along with thousands of other Boeing employees involved in the project, became known as the Incredibles for producing what was then the world's largest airplane in record time -- 29 months from conception to rollout," said Conner. "It remains a staggering achievement."

Sutter was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up near to Boeing's plant. In 1940, he took a summer job at Boeing Plant 2 while studying aeronautical engineering at the University of Washington. During World War II he served in the US Navy as a junior officer aboard the destroyer escort USS Edward H. Allen .

He was awarded the United States Medal of Technology in 1985.

Rest in peace.

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