David Thurston

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David Byron Thurston
Born 20 September 1918
Mineola, New York
Died 10 December 2013(2013-12-10) (aged 95)
South Portland, Maine
Alma mater Georgia Institute of Technology
Known for Amphibious aircraft design

David Thurston (20 September 1918 – 10 December 2013) was an American aircraft designer noted for his work on small amphibious aircraft, including the Colonial Skimmer, Lake Buccaneer, Thurston Teal and AeroMarine Seafire. He also wrote three books about light airplane design: Design for Flying, Design for Safety, and Homebuilt Aircraft. [1]

Colonial Skimmer amphibian flying boat by Colonial Aircraft

The Colonial Model C-1 Skimmer was an American small single-engined amphibian flying boat built by the Colonial Aircraft Corporation. It was the start of a line of very similar aircraft designed by David Thurston.

Lake Buccaneer amphibious flying boat by Lake Aircraft

The Lake Buccaneer is an American four-seat, light amphibious aircraft originally developed as the Colonial C-2 Skimmer, itself a development of the two-seat Colonial C-1 Skimmer.

Thurston Teal

The Thurston Teal is a family of two- and four-seat all-aluminium amphibious aircraft designed by David Thurston in the United States and first flown in 1968.


Thurston was born in Mineola, New York. In June 1940 he received a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from New York University- NYU. His first employment was with Brewster Aeronautical Corporation where he was a design engineer from May 1940.

Mineola, New York Village in New York, United States

Mineola is a village in Nassau County, Long Island, New York, United States. The population was 18,799 at the 2010 census. The name is derived from an Algonquin word meaning a "pleasant village".

The Brewster Aeronautical Corporation was a North American defense contractor that operated from the 1930s until the end of World War II.

In May 1942 he joined Grumman Aircraft. After World War II, Thurston was involved in the development of three personal type aircraft directly under the Grumman president, Leroy Grumman. The aircraft included the G-65 Tadpole amphibian, as well as the G-63 and G-72 Kitten sport airplanes. None of these aircraft entered production, when the post-war personal aircraft market did not boom as predicted.

Grumman 1929-1994 aerospace manufacturer

The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, later Grumman Aerospace Corporation, was a leading 20th century U.S. producer of military and civilian aircraft. Founded on December 6, 1929, by Leroy Grumman and partners, it merged in 1994 with Northrop Corporation to form Northrop Grumman.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Leroy Grumman American engineer

Leroy Randle "Roy" Grumman was an American aeronautical engineer, test pilot, and industrialist. In 1929, he co-founded Grumman Aeronautical Engineering Co., later renamed Grumman Aerospace Corporation, and now part of Northrop Grumman.

Thurston became design group leader for the G-79 naval jet fighter, designated F9F Panther by US Navy. From December 1947 to June 1953 Thurston was in charge of Grumman Rigel guided missile development program followed by the F11F Tiger naval jet fighter. At his resignation from Grumman in January 1955, Thurston was in charge of the design and development of propeller driven aircraft at Grumman, being a senior member of a staff responsible for the operation of a 1500-man engineering department.

Thurston died at South Portland, Maine on 10 December 2013. [2]

South Portland, Maine City in Maine, United States

South Portland is a city in Cumberland County, Maine, United States, and is the fourth-largest city in the state, incorporated in 1898. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 25,002. Known for its working waterfront, South Portland is situated on Portland Harbor and overlooks the skyline of Portland and the islands of Casco Bay. Due to South Portland's close proximity to air, marine, rail, and highway transportation options, the city has become a center for retail and industry in the region.

  1. "Designers talk about the future". Air Progress. January 1979.
  2. Portland Press Herald: Wednesday, December 18, 2013

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