Elected in 1973
“For contributions to the integration of design and airline operational
considerations in the development of economic transport aircraft.”
BY JOSEPH SUTTER
ROBERT W. RUMMEL, space expert and aerospace engineer, died October 17, 2009. He was 94 years old. He had the “vision to understand what is required to face the future.”
Bob was born in Dakota, Illinois, on August 4, 1915, to William Howard and Dora Elizabeth (Ely) Rummel. As a youth he became fascinated with aviation. He graduated from Mount Carroll High School and attended the Curtiss-Wright Technical Institute for Aeronautics in Glendale, California. He graduated in 1935 with a degree in aeronautical engineering and went to work for Hughes Aircraft Company as a stress analyst.
He worked for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Aero Engineering Corporation, National Aircraft Corporation, and Rearwin Aircraft, before starting as a senior engineer in 1943 with Trans World Airlines (TWA). He worked at TWA for 35 years and in 1969 was named vice president of technical development. While working at TWA, Bob was also a consultant on aviation affairs to Howard R. Hughes.
I first heard of Bob Rummel when I left the U.S. Navy in 1946. I was an aerodynamics engineer. Before the war, TWA bought the Boeing Stratoliner (the B307). These airplanes were called to war duty and were in the Air Transport Command. After the war they were given back to TWA. TWA made some