Schairer came to Boeing in 1939 after short stints at Bendix in Indiana and Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in California. Initially, he was in charge of aerodynamics and played major roles on the design teams for the B-17, B-29, Stratocruiser, B-50, C-97, 707, KC-135, B-47, B-52, and 727. He rose to vice president of research and development at Boeing and retired in 1978. After that he continued to consult for Boeing.
In 1944 and 1955 he was a full-time member of the U.S. Army Air Force Scientific Advisory Group, when he went to Germany. He was active on many committees of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. He served on the Steering Panel of the U.S. Department of Defense from 1955 to 1960 and the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board from 1954 to 1958. He was a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee Panel on Scientific and Technical Manpower from 1962 to 1964 and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1965 to 1970. He served on visiting committees for the University of Washington, MIT, Princeton University, and the California Institute of Technology.
Schairer was elected a fellow of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences in 1951 and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1967, and the National Academy of Sciences in 1968.
An honorary doctor of engineering degree was awarded to Schairer from Swarthmore College in 1958. He received the Sylvanus Albert Reed Award of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in 1949, the Spirit of St. Louis Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1959, and the Daniel Guggenheim Medal of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)/Society of Automotive Engineers/American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1967. He delivered the Wright Brothers Lecture of the AIAA in 1964 and the Wilbur and Orville Wright Memorial Lecture of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1968.
George was widely known to be “an irascible son of a gun” who “was not out to make friends. He was out to get things done.” He was committed to get the best out of himself and of the people he worked with and counseled over the years.