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Elected in 1995

“For analytical and experimental contributions to supersonic/hypersonic combustion and ramjet engine technologies.”


FREDERICK STUCKY BILLIG, a pioneer in the field of high-speed air-breathing propulsion, died on June 1, 2006, at the age of 73. Fred was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1995.

Born on February 28, 1933, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fred grew up and spent his adult life and career in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. Always an avid sports fan, as a boy he participated in many contests on baseball statistics. While attending Johns Hopkins University (JHU), he contributed to the cost of his schooling by taking part-time jobs, which included assisting in the design of antennas for radio stations.

After completing his B.E. in mechanical engineering at JHU in 1955, Fred joined the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) there and began working on hypersonic propulsion and vehicles. In the early days, he was mentored by Drs. William Avery and Gordon Dugger. Fred was very productive in those early years, and the important contributions made by him and his group are reflected in the many patents and publications that bear their names. In recognition of Fred’s contributions to the field, he was promoted to the position of senior engineer and supervisor of hypersonic ramjets in 1963. During that period, Fred was also a part-time graduate student in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland, where he obtained an M.S. in 1958 and a Ph.D. in 1964.

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