For outstanding achievement in the innovative design of military airplanes which are noted for longevity of service, versatility of tasks, simplicity of design, high performance and elegance of line.
EDWARD H. HEINEMANN
From his fertile imagination and matchless inspiration have come a fleet of war-planes that have served America in three wars, while simultaneously helping to preserve the peace.
The list of Heinemann-designed planes is a Who’s-Who roll call of famous combat aircraft—the Douglas Dauntless, Havoc, Invader, Skyraider, Skyhawk and Skyrocket, each an important part of the nation’s aerial arsenal in the generation spanning World War II to Vietnam.
Edward Heinemann was a high school dropout who wangled a job at Douglas in 1926—at a salary of $19 a week for tracing drawings in pen and ink. He worked for and with such designing greats as Jerry Vultee, Jack Northrop and the unforgettable “Dutch” Kindelberger.
Eventually, this youngster with no formal engineering degree was supervising entire teams of graduate engineers and teaching them the fundamentals of aircraft structure. He himself was a bold innovator, a man of incredible durability and drive. He was once given 16 hours in which to design a new Navy dive bomber; what he came up with was the AB Skyraider—he and two associates had worked all night and Heinemann laid the blueprints in front of the admirals at nine a.m., the deadline the Navy had set at four p.m. the preceding afternoon. The plane he had designed in less than 16 hours was to see combat service longer than any single-engine aircraft in the Navy’s history.
The Skyraider was the first in the long line of relatively small, simple military aircraft that were a Heinemann trademark. So was the A4D Skyhawk which also served the Navy for years and was so typical of the planes affectionately called “Heinemann’s hot rods.”
Heinemann later became Douglas's Chief Engineer in 1936. He remained with the company through 1960, when he left to join Guidance Technology. In 1962 he joined General Dynamics as Corporate Vice President of Engineering. In this position he oversaw the development of the F-16. He retired in 1973.
His approach to aircraft design was often simple, once saying that he just took the most powerful engine available, and designed the aircraft around that.
This noted aircraft designer died on November 28, 1991.