Elected in 1988
“For pioneering application of guidance and control theory and to
experimental man-machine interactions.”
BY ARTHUR E. BRYSON AND JASON SPEYER
DUANE T. MCRUER, a guiding force in the development of modern aircraft flight control technology and founder and former president of Systems Technology, Inc. (STI), died on January 24, 2007, at his home in Manhattan Beach, California.
“Mac,” as he was affectionately called, was born in Bakersfield, and received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering in 1945 from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He then joined the U.S. Navy and quickly rose to Lieutenant (j.g.) in charge of the CIC and Fighter Direction School on San Clemente Island, where he also worked on antisubmarine techniques. Upon discharge from the Navy he returned to Caltech and received an M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1948. From 1948 to 1954 he worked for Northrop Aircraft, Inc., where he became the technical chief of flight control. There, he pioneered new techniques for controlling high-speed aircraft, where in particular he made aircraft stability augmented hydraulic and fly-by-wire controls practical. Simultaneously, he took night courses at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in aeronautics, controls, mathematics, psychology, and neural physiology. He was the first to apply theories, well understood in academia, to aircraft flight control and stability augmentation systems. He developed the automatic “sideslip stability augmenter,”