Boeing 747 Designer Joe Sutter Dies at 95
Boeing engineer and aircraft designer Joe Sutter, who achieved aviation icon
status as the “Father of the 747” , died on August 30th at age 95.
Known principally for ushering the West’s first wide body airliner into service in 1970, barely four years after the program launch, despite severe technical, supplier and production obstacles. Sutter also played roles in multiple Boeing aircraft programs spanning seven decades.
Sutter a native of Seattle, began his career with a summer job at Boeing in 1940 while studying for an aeronautical engineering degree at the University of Washington.
In the library of Boeing history books, Sutter’s role in the company is widespread, from delivering the technical data that drove the decision to use a T-tail on the 727 to recommending underwing podded engines on the original 737-100.
His preference for mounting engines underneath the wings would have a lasting impact on the industry beyond Boeing. Sutter’s legacy, however, is forever linked to the 747, the Boeing aircraft credited with opening international air travel to the masses.