This is a beta version of NNDB
Search: for

Donald W. Douglas

AKA Donald Wills Douglas

Born: 6-Apr-1892
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Died: 1-Feb-1981
Location of death: Palm Springs, CA
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Remains: Cremated (ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean)

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Engineer
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Douglas Aircraft Co.

Donald Douglas dropped out of the US Naval Academy to pursue his dream of flying, after seeing a flight demonstration by Orville Wright in 1909. As chief designer for Martin Aircraft he oversaw construction of the MB-1 twin-engine bomber in 1918, and in 1920, with funding from millionaire David R. Davis, he opened the Davis-Douglas Company, which became Douglas Aircraft the following year, when Davis withdrew his investment. The company earned its claim as "first around the world" in 1924, when three Douglas World Cruisers left Seattle to circumnavigate the globe. One of the three planes crashed, but the other two completed their world journey in six months and six days, landing and taking off in 28 nations. As the air transport industry matured, Douglas became known for its propeller-driven transports, the DC-1, DC-2, and the first modern airliner, the DC-3. It offered the first airborne lavatories, which carried more than 90% of American air passengers in the mid-1930s.

Douglas was a founding member of Project RAND, a post-World War II group of War Department bureaucrats, representatives of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development, and defense industry contractors. Chartered by the US Air Force under contract to Douglas Aircraft, the group was spun off as an independent entity in 1948 as RAND Corporation. Douglas Aircraft later developed the DC-8, its first jet airliner, which was successful but not as well-received or reliable as competitor Boeing's 707. Douglas left the company's presidency in 1957, and retired as Chairman of the Board in 1967, when Douglas Aircraft was merged with McDonnell Aircraft to form McDonnell-Douglas. He died in 1981, and in 1997 McDonnell-Douglas was merged into Boeing.

Father: William A. Douglas (bank clerk)
Brother: Harold Douglas
Wife: Charlotte Marguerite Ogg (m. 1916)
Son: Donald Douglas Jr. (Douglas Aircraft executive, b. 3-Jul-1917, d. 3-Oct-2004)

    High School: Trinity Chapel School, New York City (1909)
    University: US Naval Academy (attended 1909-12)
    University: BS Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1914)
    Teacher: Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1914-15)

    Robert J. Collier Trophy 1936
    Guggenheim Medal 1939
    French Legion of Honor 1951
    National Aviation Hall of Fame
    Elmer A. Sperry Award 1956
    Connecticut Aircraft Co. Dirigible Designer (1915)
    Martin Aircraft Co. Chief Engineer (1915-16)
    Douglas Aircraft Founder & President (1921-57)
    Member of the Board of Douglas Aircraft Chairman (1957-67)
    Member of the Board of McDonnell-Douglas (1967-81)
    National Academy of Engineering
    RAND Corporation Co-Founder
    Scottish Ancestry

Create a map starting with Donald W. Douglas
Requires Flash 7+ and Javascript.

Do you know something we don't?
Submit a correction or make a comment about this profile

Copyright ©2019 Soylent Communications