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OCR for page 178

OCR for page 178
MAYNARD L ~ 1910-1994 PENNELL BY PHILIP M. CONDIT MAYNARD L. PENNELL, who played a leading role in the de- sign of the Boeing 707 and many other landmark aircraft during his thirty-four year career, died on November 22, 1994. Maynard was born in Skowhegan, Maine, in 1910. The harsh Maine winter had contributed to the fatal illness of an older brother, and in 1919 the family decided to move to a more temperate climate. Seattle was chosen because the University of Washington at the time offered a nearly free college education, and the Pennell's had high academic aspirations for their four children. Maynard was fascinated by flying at an early age and enrolled in the aeronautical engineering program at the University of Washington. After graduation, he worked for the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics and Douglas Aircraft in LOS Angeles, where he showed his flair for structural design as part of the team that created the DC-3. Tn 1940 Maynard returned to Seattle, where he would spend the next three decades as one of the most influential and respected engineers in the history of Boeing. During World War II, Maynard made substantial contribu- tions to the B-29 project. After the war, when the company was struggling to develop new products for the commercial mar- ket, he headed up the initial studies to determine the feasibility of jet transports. 179

OCR for page 178
180 MEMORIAL TRIBUTES Maynard soon became the company's leading acivocate for designing its own commercial jet despite the huge cost and risk. He went on to serve as senior project engineer on what was called the "367 Dash SO," the prototype for the Boeing 707, which wouIc! help revolutionize the air travel industry. A remarkably small work force (300 designers en cl technicians and 300 shop workers) turner! out the Dash 80 in the remarkably short time of twenty-six months. About one quarter of the company's net worth ($16 million) was riding on the airplane's success. After 1954, when the 707 prototype first flew, Maynard held a series of management positions, including that of chief engineer for the transport division, and then director of engineering, where he sought to persuade Boeing management to build a "family" of airplanes to serve various market needs. The enormously popular three-engine Boeing 727 followecl, and the strategy of creating an airplane family proved to be a key element in establishing the company's market leadership. In 1963 Maynard was appointed manager of Boeing's SST proposal team, engaging in a government-sponsored contest against Lockheec! for the right to manufacture the airframe for the nation's first supersonic jetliner. By mid-1966 he hacI unveiled the model of the 300-passenger, 330-foot-Iong air- craft designed to fly at 1,800 miles an hour, with a range of about 4,000 miles. Boeing won the competition against Lock- heed, but the SST project lost support in Congress and the plane was never built. In 1969 Maynard became vice-president of product devel- opment and went on to serve the company in a number of senior executive positions before his retirement in 1974. For his achievements at Boeing, Maynard was honored with the 1965 Elmer A. Sperx y Awarc! for clistinguished engineer- ing. He was a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics ant! was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1968. In ~ 989 Boeing established the Maynard Pennell Professorship in Structural Analysis at the University of Washington in his honor.

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MAYNARD L. PENNELL 181 Maynard was not only a talented, visionary engineer but also an exceptional leader and manager with that rare ability to motivate and inspire the people who worked for him and to keep them focused on achieving a common goal. He was known for his calm, quiet assurance and for his ability to steer people through a crisis without losing his composure or his sure grasp of what needed to be done. Maynard was also known as a manager who believed that everyone on a project had something to contribute. And like all superior leaders, May- nard was always willing to listen but never afraid to lead. Maynard embodied the highest standards of his chosen engi- neering profession. And he has left his mark, not only on the history of The Boeing Company, but on the history of av~ahon.