Southern California. In 1984, at the age of 81, he published two papers (“Past and Present in Air Safety” and “The Psychology of Copilot Assertiveness”). Starting in 1979, he served two three-year terms on the Advisory Council for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations in the wake of the Three Mile Island accident, where he advocated applying aerospace risk management techniques to the nuclear power industry. He also served on government investigative panels for train and ship collisions.
During his remarkable career, Jerry became known as Mr. Aviation Safety and the Father of Aviation Safety, the “go-to” person first for aviation safety and later for industrial safety writ large. Jerry fulfilled this function with wit and creativity. He was acutely aware of the prevalence of human error, both in design and operation. “The alleviation of human error,” he said, “whether design or intrinsically human, continues to be the most important problem facing aerospace safety.”
In his later years, Jerry researched, spoke, and wrote about personnel safety problems, such as substance abuse, subtle cognitive incapacitation, cockpit boredom in an age of automatic systems, and the importance of interpersonal communications. Jerry was evidently of the opinion that automatic systems could be safer than human-operated systems, but he was also a consummate realist. “Of the major incentives to improve safety, by far the most compelling is that of economics,” he said. “The moral incentive, which is most evident following an accident, is more intense but relatively short lived.” In the course of his long career, he came to know not only Charles Lindbergh, but also many other brilliant individuals, such as Neil Armstrong and Werner von Braun.
Jerome Fox Lederer wrote a book, Safety in the Operation of Air Transport, in 1938, wrote and delivered hundreds of articles and presentations, and received about 100 honors and awards. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1967 for “air safety research.” His awards included selection as a “Laurel Legend” by Aviation Week, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, Edward Warner Award from the ICAO, National Aeronautic Association Cliff Henderson Award, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, FAA Distinguished Service Medal, Daniel