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From Biplanes To Spaceplanes: The History Of The University Of Washington

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

History of Aerospace Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.640.1 - 14.640.23



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Paper Authors

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Scott Eberhardt Boeing Company

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Lee Jonathan Boeing Company

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Adam Bruckner University of Washington

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

From Biplanes to Spaceplanes: The History of the University of Washington Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

J. Lee,* D.S. Eberhardt,† The Boeing Company, P.O. Box 3707, MC 0R-MM, Seattle, WA 98124-2207 A.P. Bruckner§ Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics University of Washington, Box 352400, Seattle, WA 98195-2400

Introduction This paper is an updated and expanded version of a paper that appeared in Aerospace Engineering Education During the First Century of Flight, a book published by the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics).1 The work contributed in this paper is part of an on-going effort to continually update and document the history of the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department at the University of Washington. Added material includes early curriculum, Fredrick Kirsten’s teaching philosophy and greater detail of the past two decades, including the recent complete remodeling of Guggenheim Hall.

The Department The University of Washington’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics was one of the first aeronautical engineering departments in the nation, and one of the seven originally established with the help of the Guggenheim Fund for the Advancement of Aeronautics. It offers the only aerospace degree program in the Pacific Northwest, a region whose aerospace industry has been a major contributor to the technological development, economic vitality and the security of the United States. Educators and researchers in the Department over the years have made numerous contributions in all major areas of aerospace engineering. Graduates at all degree levels, have been successful and valued in industry at the local, national, and international levels, as well as in government organizations and institutions of higher learning.

Bill Boeing and the Early Years In 1903, the year of the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight, a man interested in establishing a timber business on the West Coast moved to Seattle after leaving Yale. Little did he know it at the time, but he was destined to change the face of aviation and the Pacific Northwest forever. His name was William E. Boeing. It is with this man that the story of aeronautics at the University of Washington begins.

* Alumnus (BSAA 2002, MSAA 2005), currently at Boeing Commercial Airplane Company † Formerly Associate Professor, currently at Boeing Commercial Airplane Company § Professor and Department Chair

Copyright © 2009 by the authors. Published by ASEE with permission.

Eberhardt, S., & Jonathan, L., & Bruckner, A. (2009, June), From Biplanes To Spaceplanes: The History Of The University Of Washington Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4893

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015