Theodore Paul Wright

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Theodore Paul Wright
Theodore Paul Wright.jpg
BornMay 25, 1895
Galesburg, Illinois
DiedAugust 21, 1970
EducationLombard College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering career
DisciplineAeronautical engineering
InstitutionsCivil Aeronautics Administration,
Cornell University
Employer(s)Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Company,

Theodore Paul Wright (May 25, 1895 – August 21, 1970), also known as T. P. Wright, was a U.S. aeronautical engineer and educator.


Air Agency Certificate issued by T. P. Wright, Administrator of Civil Aeronautics, to Harry Garland dba Garland Aviation in 1947

He was born in Galesburg, Illinois on May 25, 1895. His brothers were the geneticist Sewall Wright and the political scientist Quincy Wright. He graduated from Lombard College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served in World War I.[1]

In 1936, he published an important paper entitled "Factors affecting the costs of airplanes"[2] which describes what has become known as Wright's law or experience curve effects. The paper describes that "we learn by doing" and that the cost of each unit produced decreases as a function of the cumulative number of units produced.[3]

He served as administrator of the Civil Aeronautics Administration during 1944–1948.[4] When President Truman announced Wright’s resignation as Administrator of Civil Aeronautics on January 16, 1948, the New York Times reported that Wright felt he could not continue in office at a salary of $10,000 per year (equivalent to $110,000 in 2019).[5]

He served as Cornell University's vice president in charge of research from 1948 to 1960 and served as acting president of Cornell University in 1951. He died on August 21, 1970.[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Daniel Guggenheim Medal - 1945" (PDF).
  2. ^ T. P. Wright (1936). "Factors affecting the costs of airplanes". Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences. 3 (4): 122–128. doi:10.2514/8.155.
  3. ^ "Do your projects follow Wright's Law?". Control Engineering. 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  4. ^ Wilson, John R. M. (1979). Turbulence Aloft. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation. OCLC 5537914.
  5. ^ "T. P. Wright Resigns as Chief of the CAA". The New York Times. XCVII (32, 864). January 16, 1948. p. 15.
  6. ^ "Dr. Theodore Wright, 75, Dies; Leader in Aviation Development". The New York Times. CXIX (41, 118). August 22, 1970. p. 23. Dr. Wright served as Cornell University's vice president in charge of research from 1948 until his retirement in 1960. He was acting president of Cornell from Feb. 1 to July 1, 1951.
  7. ^ "Theodore Paul Wright". Knox Prairie Fire. Retrieved 29 July 2019. He was honored with a United States Freedom Medal, Wright Brothers Medal, and was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Knox College.

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