Dr. Allen E. Puckett, 94, Aerospace Engineer

Dr. Allen E. Puckett, 94, Aerospace Engineer and 1997 Howard Hughes Memorial Award recipient

Dr. Allen E. Puckett, 94, Aerospace Engineer and 1997 Howard Hughes Memorial Award recipient

Last week, we learned that Dr. Allen E. Puckett, the Howard Hughes Memorial Award recipient in 1997, has passed away. Dr. Puckett enjoyed a lifetime of achievements in the Aerospace Industry. His hard work had brought him many awards and he was highly respected by his peers, as captured in the Aeronautic Pathfinders excerpt, published by our club. 

We send our sincere condolences to the Puckett Family and his many friends. 

John C. Stammreich


Aero Club of Southern California

Dr. Puckett received his Bachelor’s (1939) and Master’s (1941) degree in Science at Harvard, and Ph.D. (1949) in Aeronautics at Caltech, under Theodore von Karman. He participated in the birth of compressible aerodynamics with numerous contributions in experimental facilities, supersonic airfoil theory and supersonic missile dynamics, co-authoring a seminal text in 1949, Introduction to Aerodynamics of a Compressible Fluid, with H. W. Liepmann, and Guided Missile Engineering, in 1959 (co-edited with Simon Ramo). During his graduate years, he served as a technical consultant to the Government, Army, NASA (NACA), Asst. Sec. of Defense, and to JPL. He joined Hughes Aircraft Co., rising through the ranks from 1949 as department head, through 1978 as Chairman and CEO, to become Chairman Emeritus in 1987. 

He has also served as Director of General Dynamics Corp. (1978-95) and of various other corporations (American Mutual Fund, Inc.; Fluor Corp.; Logicon, Inc.; Telemprompter Corp.; Delco Electronics Corp.; GM Hughes Electronics Corp.; Los Angeles World Affairs Council), as Chair or Co-Chair of numerous NASA, Government, private and charitable committees and organizations. He is an Honorary Fellow of the AIAA (past president, 1972) and a member of the Aerospace Industries Association (past chair, 1979), Am. Assoc. Adv. Science, Int. Academy of Aeronautics, National Academy of Engineering, and National Academy of Sciences. 

He has been honored with the Lawrence Sperry Award (Inst. of Aeronautics Science, 1949), the Caltech Distinguished Alumnus Award (1970), the Lloyd V. Beckner Award (Am. Astronomical Society, 1974), the USC School of Engineering Award (1978), the Brandeis U. Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Technology (1980), was the California Manufacturer of the Year (1980), received the Frederik Philips Award (IEEE, 1983), the Medal of Honor (Electronics), the Medal of Honor (Electronic Industry Assoc., 1984), the French Legion of Honor (1985), and was awarded the National Technology Medal by President Reagan (1985).


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