For a lifetime contribution to the successful development of commercial and military aircraft and for his outstanding leadership and management skills
THORNTON A. WILSON
As the leader of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, Mr. Wilson’s Boeing Aircraft Company produced 204 aircraft in 1985. This was accomplished while the company was downsizing for greater efficiency. During this same period, two new designs were being developed, the Boeing 757 and 767.
T.A. Wilson or “T” as he is known within the industry, graduated from Iowa State University in 1943, with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, followed by a Master’s degree at California Institute of Technology. The first Boeing aircraft to bear his imprint was the B-47, swept-wing bomber. That was followed by his becoming the overall project engineer of the B-52 program. As proposal manager of the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program, and later general manager, he helped establish Boeing as a leader in multi-contractor systems integration.
In 1968, “T” became president of Boeing, followed by being elected Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board in 1972. In 1975, Wilson was honored by being recipient of the James Forrestal Award from the National Security Industrial Association for leadership in promoting understanding and cooperation between industry and government in the interest of national security. He was an AIAA Honorary Fellow.
The Wright Brothers Trophy was awarded to Wilson in 1979 for “significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.” Boeing and T.A. Wilson received the Collier Trophy for the private development of two advanced technology transports, the B757 and the B767. In 1983, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame for engineering and managerial achievements.
Wilson died April 10, 1999.