Nation’s First Aerospace Engineering Program Celebrated


As part of the 100th anniversary celebration for its first-in-the-nation Aeronautical (now Aerospace) Engineering Department, the University of Michigan is staging a flyoverof a fleet of historic aircraft before Saturday’s football game at the Big House. Honoring an engineering school that turned out such notables as Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, founder of Lockheed’s famed Skunk Works, the flyover will consist of 12 different types of aircraft, including an F-100 Super Sabre, F-86 Sabre, B-25 Mitchell and Sikorsky S58T. While still a student at the University of Michigan, Kelly Johnson was involved in the design and wind-tunnel testing of the twin-engine Lockheed Electra, the type later used by Amelia Earhart. There are currently no flying Electras-as a tribute to the school, Joe Shepherd will join the flyover in his Lockheed Electra Juniorthat was featured on AVweb last spring.

In an attempt to recognize cutting-edge aviation technology, the flyover organizers sought approval from the FAA to have the game ball delivered by UAV; however, the FAA turned down the application. Founded in 1914, the Aeronautical Engineering Department boasted some of the most advanced wind tunnels in the world and later provided what amounted to a pipeline for astronauts to NASA that resulted in two all-University of Michigan space flights, Gemini 4 and Apollo 15. The flyover above the nation’s largest football stadium will occur just prior to the kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m. EDT.