|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
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
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 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.