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"During the past two years, I have had the extremely good fortune to become acquainted with a number of very remarkable people. They are former employees of Wright Aeronautical and Pratt & Whitney, and were involved in the development of aircraft engines used in World War II. While their stories until now have been largely untold, their legacy has made an enormous impact on the world. These people gave us the engines that won the War. They gave us the engines that kept the peace. They gave us the engines that helped provide fast, safe, and extremely cheap non-stop travel to all points on the globe. They are the Aircraft Powerplant Engineers." -- Kimble D. McCutcheon, 2001

 


Dr. Sam B. Williams

Dr. Sam Williams was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Williams International with plants in Michigan and Utah. He managed the corporation since its formation in 1954 from its early successes as a turbine development organization to its current status as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of small jet engines. In addition to his management responsibilities, Dr. Williams took an active part in the corporation’s technical programs including a fanjet engine for business aircraft and trainers, various turbojet and turbofan engines for missiles and target aircraft, and turboshaft engines for vehicle, stationary and aircraft auxiliary applications.

Prior to forming his own organization in 1954, Dr. Williams played a key role in the design of the first Chrysler automotive gas turbine engine and the design of one of the first turboprop engines for the U.S. Navy.

Dr. Williams was a recipient of the two oldest and most prestigious awards in aviation. He received the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy in 1988 for his pioneering work in aircraft propulsion. He received the 1978 Collier Trophy for "developing the world’s smallest fanjet engine" for cruise missiles which were critical to the nation’s defense. (Prior recipients have ranged from early aviation pioneers such as Orville Wright and Charles A. Lindbergh to the Moon astronauts.) In 1995 he received the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton for reviving business jet production by developing smaller, lower cost engines for business jets, and he has recently been inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and The National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Sam Williams died on June 22, 2009 at the age of 88.