Inducted in 1972
Army’s First Civilian Aeronautical Engineer, 1914
1888 – 1976
Grover Cleveland Loening’s distinguished aviation career spanned more than half a century. His background earned him an appointment in 1914 as the first aeronautical engineer in the Army Signal Corps.
Loening was born in Bremen, Germany, the son of the U.S. Consul. He saw his first flying machine while an undergraduate at Columbia University in 1908. Soon after, he organized the Columbia University Aero Club. The following year, Loening began working on a master’s degree in aviation and aerodynamics. His MA, granted in 1910, was the first of its kind in the United States and helped usher in the field of aeronautical engineering.
Loening spent the next few years gaining experience in aircraft design and construction. While working as an engineer for the Wright Company in 1913, Loening designed the Model G “Aeroboat” under Orville Wright’s supervision.
Anticipating the ascendancy of the monoplane over the biplane, Loening contributed to the invention of the strut brace monoplane. After World War I, he received the Distinguished Service Medal for the design and construction of the two-seated fighter plane. Loening later established an aircraft manufacturing company bearing his name.