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Photo courtesy Flight Safety Digest

1902 - 2004

Air Mail Pioneers' esteemed former president was renown throughout the world for his dedication to airline safety.  When he wasn't devoting his energies to Air Mail Pioneers, keeping members of the U.S. Air Mail Service in touch with one another through newsletters and meetings, he traveled the world receiving more than 100 awards for his contribution to aviation safety.

Jerry first entered the world of aviation in 1926 as an aeronautical engineer for the U.S. Air Mail Service.  His duties included modifying aircraft, writing specifications and overseeing accident reconstruction.  During this period he wrote the nation's first aviation safety bulletin and the Pilot's Code.  His recommendation to pilots: "If you do crash, please fly between two trees and take the wings off and leave the fuselage intact."

In 1929 he became chief engineer of the nation's largest aviation insurance company, which later became Aero Insurance Underwriters.  From then until 1940 he evaluated risks and undertook their safety programs.  In 1947 he organized a meeting of aviation industry organizations for disseminating safety information, later known as the flight Safety Foundation. 

Jerry developed many programs with the Flight Safety Foundation still in effect today -- annual International Air Safety Seminars, aviation safety research projects and numerous safety publications.  About 1950, he became director of the Cornell-Guggenheim Aviation Safety Center.

Jerry and Sarah Lederer -- Photo courtesy Flight Safety Foundation

In 1967, following the space capsule fire at Cape Kennedy, Jerry joined NASA to organize the Office of Manned Space Flight Safety.  In 1970 he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his work in the Apollo Moon Landing program. 

As many honors as Jerry received in his career, including the Thirty-third Edward Warner Award for recognition of his eminent contribution to the safety of international civil aviation, none did he prize as much as his membership in Air Mail Pioneers. "I have always considered my membership in the Air Mail Pioneers as a unique distinction, more significant than my memberships in any of the organization to which I belong."

International Society of Air Safety Investigators honors Jerry's memory:  click here

Jerry's wife of 67 years, Sarah, supported his work in aviation safety with devotion and through public service.  The Lederers have two daughters, Susan Lederer and Nancy Cain.

Left to right: Jerry Lederer, W.P. Hoare, George I..Myers Douglas M1, Chicago, Maywood, 1926.




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copyright 1999 Nancy Allison Wright, President Air Mail Pioneers

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