Ed Heinemann

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Edward Henry Heinemann
Ed Heinemann aircraft designer c1955.jpg
Born(1908-03-14)March 14, 1908
DiedNovember 26, 1991(1991-11-26) (aged 83)
OccupationAeronautical engineer

Edward Henry Heinemann (March 14, 1908 – November 26, 1991) was a military aircraft designer for the Douglas Aircraft Company.


Heinemann was born in Saginaw, Michigan. He moved to California as a boy and was raised in Los Angeles. A self-taught engineer, he joined Douglas Aircraft as a draftsman in 1926, but was laid off within a year. After stints at International Aircraft, Moreland Aircraft, and the first Northrop Corporation, Heinemann rejoined Douglas after it acquired Northrop. Heinemann became Douglas's Chief Engineer in 1936. He remained with the company through 1960, when he left to join Guidance Technology. In 1962 he joined General Dynamics as Corporate Vice President of Engineering. In this position he oversaw the development of the F-16. He retired in 1973.

The famed airplane designer Burt Rutan would list Heinemann as among the leading pioneers in aviation who had inspired him to become an aerospace engineer.[1][2]

His approach to aircraft design was uncomplicated, once saying that he simply took the most powerful engine available and designed the aircraft around it.[citation needed]


During his long career at Douglas, Heinemann designed more than 20 combat aircraft, primarily for the U.S. Navy, including many that became legends in aviation history. His designs included the following aircraft:

One of the first aircraft to be designed by Heinemann was the Moreland M-1 Trainer of 1929, a braced-wing parasol wing monoplane. Due to the 1929 recession only a small number were sold before the company ceased trading in 1933.[4]

Awards and medals[edit]

The Naval Air Systems Command awards the Edward H. Heinemann Award annually to an individual or group that makes a significant contribution to aircraft design.


  1. ^ Confidence in Nonsense, Aviation Week and Space Technology. Penton Media. March 24, 2003. pp. 50–52.
  2. ^ Golan, John (January 1, 2016). Lavi: The United States, Israel, and a Controversial Fighter Jet (First ed.). Potomac Books. p. 397. ISBN 978-1612347226. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  3. ^ Richard K Schrader (January 1988). "Skywarrior!". Air Classics: 15.
  4. ^ Orbis 1985, page 2560
  5. ^ Sprekelmeyer, Linda, editor. These We Honor: The International Aerospace Hall of Fame. Donning Co. Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57864-397-4.

Further reading[edit]

  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). Orbis Publishing. 1985.
  • Edward H. Heinemann and Rosario Rausa, "Ed Heinemann – Combat Aircraft Designer", ISBN 0-87021-797-6

External links[edit]