Thornton Wilson

Last updated
Thornton A. Wilson
Thornton Arnold Wilson

(1921-02-08)February 8, 1921
DiedApril 10, 1999(1999-04-10) (aged 78)
Citizenship American
Alma mater Iowa State University (BS)
California Institute of Technology (MS)
Occupation(s)Former CEO, Boeing
SpouseGrace Wilson
ChildrenDan Wilson, Sachi Wilson, Sarah Parkinson

Thornton "T" Arnold Wilson (February 8, 1921 – April 10, 1999) was the Chairman of the Board and chief executive officer of Boeing corporation. [1] [2] [3]

Born February 8, 1921, in Sikeston, Missouri, Wilson earned his B.S. degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Iowa State University in Ames and a M.S. degree from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. [3] He also attended the MIT Sloan School of Management's Sloan Fellows program, but did not graduate. [4] While attending Iowa State, Wilson was a member of the swim team.

Wilson was awarded the NAS Award in Aeronautical Engineering in 1985 from the National Academy of Sciences. [5] In 1992, he was the recipient of the Tony Jannus Award for his distinguished contributions to commercial aviation.

Following his graduation from Iowa State, Wilson joined Boeing in 1943 and worked on bomber programs, notably the swept-wing B-47 Stratojet and B-52 Stratofortress, and also led the proposal team that won the contract for the Minuteman missile. [2] He became company president in 1968, chief executive officer in 1969, and chairman in 1972. [1] Wilson stepped down as CEO in 1986 at age 65, succeeded by Frank Shrontz, [3] and retired as chairman at the end of 1987. [6] He died at age 78 at his winter home in Palm Springs, California. [1]

The main glass gallery of the Museum of Flight in Seattle, opened in 1987, is named for Wilson. [7] [8] [9]

Wilson was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio in 1983. [10]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">MIT Sloan School of Management</span> Business school of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The MIT Sloan School of Management is the business school of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT Sloan offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs, as well as executive education. Its degree programs are among the most selective in the world. MIT Sloan emphasizes innovation in practice and research. Many influential ideas in management and finance originated at the school, including the Black–Scholes model, the Solow–Swan model, the random walk hypothesis, the binomial options pricing model, and the field of system dynamics. The faculty has included numerous Nobel laureates in economics and John Bates Clark Medal winners.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Collier Trophy</span> Annual aviation award administered by the US National Aeronautical Association

The Robert J. Collier Trophy is an annual aviation award administered by the U.S. National Aeronautic Association (NAA), presented to those who have made "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year."

Charles Stark "Doc" Draper was an American scientist and engineer, known as the "father of inertial navigation". He was the founder and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Instrumentation Laboratory, later renamed the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, which made the Apollo Moon landings possible through the Apollo Guidance Computer it designed for NASA.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Museum of Flight</span> Aviation museum in Washington, U.S.

The Museum of Flight is a private non-profit air and space museum in the Seattle metropolitan area. It is located at the southern end of King County International Airport in the city of Tukwila, immediately south of Seattle. It was established in 1965 and is fully accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. As the largest private air and space museum in the world, it also hosts large K–12 educational programs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gerald Carr (astronaut)</span> American astronaut (1932–2020)

Colonel Gerald Paul Carr was an American mechanical and aeronautical engineer, United States Marine Corps officer, naval aviator, and NASA astronaut. He was commander of Skylab 4, the third and final crewed visit to the Skylab Orbital Workshop, from November 16, 1973, to February 8, 1974.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Donald Wills Douglas Sr.</span> American aircraft industrialist (1892–1981)

Donald Wills Douglas Sr. was an American aircraft industrialist and engineer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Norman R. Augustine</span> American aerospace businessman

Norman (Norm) Ralph Augustine is a U.S. aerospace businessman who served as United States Under Secretary of the Army from 1975 to 1977. Augustine served as chairman and CEO of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. He was chairman of the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame</span>

Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame, based in The Hangar Flight Museum in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, commemorates and honours those whose accomplishments in aviation contributed so much to Canada's development as a nation. Founded in 1973, the Hall of Fame has honoured thus far more than 200 aviators, engineers, technicians and administrators.

Philip Murray Condit is an American engineer and businessman who was Chair and Chief executive officer (CEO) of the Boeing company from 1996 to 2003. He dramatically reshaped the company by Merger with McDonnell Douglas and relocating Boeing headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. He resigned to take symbolic responsibility for a military procurement scandal, although he was not accused of any ethical breaches.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">David S. Lewis</span>

David Sloan Lewis, Jr. was an aeronautical engineer who led aerospace and defense giant General Dynamics for 14 years.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. (AIAA) established the Octave Chanute Award named after Octave Chanute. Pilot(s) or test personnel that contributed to the advancement of the art, science, or technology of aeronautics received the Octave Chanute Award. The Octave Chanute Award was renamed the Chanute Flight Award in 1978 and discontinued by the AIAA in 2005. Starting in 2017, the Chanute Flight Award was re-established as the Chanute Flight Test Award. The Chanute Flight Test Award presentation occurs biennially at the AIAA Aviation and Aeronautics Forum.The Chanute Flight Test Award is presented to recognize significant lifetime achievements in the advancement of the art, science, and technology of flight test engineering.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alan Mulally</span> American businessman

Alan Roger Mulally is an American aerospace engineer and manufacturing executive.

Jan Roskam was the Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas. He is the author of eleven books on airplane design and flight dynamics and over 160 papers on the topics of aircraft aerodynamics, performance, design and flight controls. He founded the company DARcorporation with Willem Anemaat.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tony Jannus Award</span> American commercial aviation award

The Tony Jannus Award recognizes outstanding individual achievement in scheduled commercial aviation by airline executives, inventors and manufacturers, and government leaders. The award is conferred annually by the Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society and was first bestowed in 1964 in Tampa, Florida, U.S. Its namesake, aviation pioneer Tony Jannus, piloted the inaugural flight of the St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line on January 1, 1914, the first scheduled commercial airline flight in the world using heavier-than-air aircraft. In addition to preserving the legacy of Tony Jannus, the non-profit Society also offers financial assistance to college students pursuing studies in aviation and conducts an annual essay contest for high school students to encourage careers in aviation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy</span> American aviation award

The Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy was established by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) in 1948 after a trust fund was created in 1936 by Godfrey Lowell Cabot of Boston, a former president of the NAA. It is awarded to a living American for "significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States." The presentation of the award is made annually at the Aero Club of Washington, as close as possible to December 17 each year, the day on which, in 1903, the Wright brothers made the first flight in an airplane. The inaugural recipient of the trophy was William F. Durand, "a pioneer in aeronautics, naval propulsion and engineering research methods". Until 2010, winners of the award received a trophy depicting the Wright brothers' Wright Flyer aircraft. From 2010 onwards, a redesigned trophy featuring a silver obelisk and bronze inscription has been awarded.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Walter J. Boyne</span> US Air Force officer (1929–2020)

Walter J. Boyne was a United States Air Force officer, Command Pilot, combat veteran, aviation historian, and author of more than 50 books and over 1,000 magazine articles. He was a director of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution and a Chairman of the National Aeronautic Association.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joseph John "Tym" Tymczyszyn</span>

Joseph John "Tym" Tymczyszyn was an American World War II pilot, and test pilot for the United States Army Air Corps and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The NAS Award in Aeronautical Engineering, also known as the J.C. Hunsaker Award in Aeronautical Engineering, is awarded by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences "for excellence in the field of aeronautical engineering." Established by Jerome C. Hunsaker and his wife, it was first awarded in 1968.

The Robert J. Collier Trophy is owned and administered by the National Aeronautic Association and is awarded annually "for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dennis Muilenburg</span> Former President, chairman and CEO of The Boeing Company

Dennis A. Muilenburg is an American engineer, business executive, and the former president and chief executive officer (CEO) of The Boeing Company, a multinational aerospace and defense company. He was CEO from 2015 to 2019, when he was fired in the aftermath of two crashes of the 737 MAX and its subsequent groundings.


  1. 1 2 3 "Boeing's T.A. Wilson dies". Spokesman-Review. April 13, 1999. p. A8.
  2. 1 2 Anderson, Peggy (April 13, 1999). "Former Boeing CEO dies at 78". Ellensburg Daily Record. Associated Press. p. 14.
  3. 1 2 3 "Boeing's T.A. Wilson stepping aside". Ellensburg Daily Record. UPI. February 25, 1986. p. 5.
  4. MIT Alumni
  5. "J. C. Hunsaker Award in Aeronautical Engineering". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 9 August 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  6. "Boeing boss gets big raise". Ellensburg Daily Record. UPI. March 24, 1988. p. 5.
  7. "Air museum to open big gallery". Spokane Chronicle. Associated Press. July 6, 1987. p. A5.
  8. "VIP's expected for flight museum opening". Ellensburg Daily Record. UPI. July 9, 1987. p. 7.
  9. "Flight museum is open". Ellensburg Daily Record. UPI. July 11, 1987. p. 3.
  10. "Enshrinee Thornton Wilson". National Aviation Hall of Fame. Retrieved 28 February 2023.
Business positions
Preceded by CEO of Boeing
Succeeded by