Capt William Marshall Magruder, Sr

Birth:  May 26, 1923
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death:  Sep. 10, 1977
Forsyth County
North Carolina, USA
Arlington National Cemetery
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 30 Site 1090 RH


William M. Magruder was a test pilot and aeronautical engineer during the twentieth century. From 1949 to 1956, Magruder served as a test pilot and engineer for the U.S. Air Force Flight Test Division and Flight Test Center, where he test flew and supervised the engineering of a number of aircraft, including the North American F-86 Sabrejet and Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. After leaving the military in 1956, he worked for Douglas Aircraft Company (1956-1963), where he helped design and test piloted the Douglas DC-8 airliner. From 1963 to 1967, Magruder worked for Lockheed Corporation, where he supervised the design and development of the Lockheed L-1011 airliner and served as test engineer and project pilot on the company's Supersonic Transport (SST) program. From 1970 to 1971, he served as Director of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Director of SST Development.


W. M. Magruder, Devised U.S. Program for SST

William M. Magruder, a former aircraft industry engineer, designer and project coordination who headed the Nixon administration's unsuccessful effort to launch an American SST program, died Saturday in a Winston Salem, N.C., hospital after suffering a heart attack. He was 54.

At the time of his death, Mr. Magruder was living in Winston Salem and working as an executive vice president of Piedmont Airlines.

Mr. Magruder came to Washington in June, 1970 to take the post of Director-SST development in the Department of Transportation.

For the next nine months Mr. Magruder waged a tough, if unsuccessful, fight to convince Congress that this country should join the race to produce a commercially viable supersonic transport.

The former Air Force engineer and test pilot made a controversial appearance on the Dick Cavett television talk show in March 1971, after filing a complaint with the FCC charging that the show had only presented the negative side of the SST controversy.

Following the SST defeat in Congress, Mr. Magruder was named a special consultant to the President to head the New Technologies Opportunities Group, a White House panel looking for new forms of technology that could provide jobs and economic growth for the country.

Mr. Magruder was a native of Evanston, Ill. He attended the University of Nebraska and received a B.S. degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of California. He also did graduate work in mathematics at the Ohio State University graduate school.

During his years in private industry, Mr. Magruder worked first for the Douglas Aircraft Co., now McDonald Douglas, and then for the Lockheed California Co., where he was intimately involved in that company's SST development program.

Mr. Magruder was also chief advanced design engineer for the development of Lockheed's L-1011 commercial jet transport.

During his five years with the Air Force, Mr. Magruder, a graduate of the Air Force's Experimental Test Pilot School, supervised the engineering, and evaluated the performance, of such aircraft as the B-57 and B-52 bombers, C-124 transport and the F-86 fighter.

A member of numerous test pilots' and aircraft industry groups and associations, he was the past president of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

Mr. Magruder is survived by his wife, Barbara, of the home; a son, William M. Magruder, of New York City; a daugther, Nancy, of the home; and a brother, Bruar, of Long Beach, Calif.