Elected in 1977
“For contributions to engineering theory and practice and leadership of
organizations that pioneered major space programs.”
BY CHRISTOPHER KRAFT
JOHN F. YARDLEY was one of many great engineers and scientists who contributed to the success of the U.S. manned spaceflight program, but few had more of an impact than him. He died on June 26, 2001, at the age of 76.
John was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 1, 1925, to F. A. and Johnnie (Patterson) Yardley. He served in the U.S. Navy as an ensign from 1943 to 1946, during which time he received a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Iowa State University. In 1946 he married Phyllis Steele and started work as a stress analyst with the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis.
From 1946 to 1958, John contributed to numerous McDonnell aircraft designs and took on increasing responsibilities for structural analysis and design, serving as chief strength engineer from 1955 to 1958. In 1950 he earned an M.S. in applied mechanics from Washington University. The aircraft programs he contributed to included the FH-1 Phantom, the F-2H Banshee, the F-101 Voodoo, and several experimental aircraft. For a time he headed McDonnell’s Structural Research/Structural Methods Group and was responsible for developing advanced analytical methods.