This Airplane is Dedicated to the Memory of Harlan A. "Bud" Gurney (1905-1982)

Bud Gurney joined the Los Angeles Section Wright Flyer Project soon after its beginning in 1979. From then until his death, he was an extraordinarily active and loyal member. Bud actually began the construction of this aircraft. He contriubted much of the wood in the airplane from his own supplies, and he assembled the first component, the canard, in his garage.

Bud was born in Beatrice, Nebraska on July 15, 1905. He was working at the Lincoln Stanard Aircraft Factory in Lincoln, Nebraska, when Charles A. Lindbergh came there to take flying lessons. In April 1922, Bud and Lindbergh took their first flight, sharing the front cockpit of a Lincoln Standard aircraft. After Lindbergh acquired a Curtiss JN-4D "Jenny," Bud made parachute jumps from the aircraft at airshows and barnstorming exhibitions. The two aviators became lifelong friends.

Bud flew the mail in a DeHavilland DH-4s for Robertson Aircraft Corporation, replacing Chief Pilot Lindbergh, who left to make his New York-to-Paris flight. Bud survived four forced landings, one with the aircraft on fire, but never bailed out or lost a single piece of mail. He then became operations manager for Universal Air Lines. Forsaking management, he joined United Airlines as a pilot in 1932. In WWII, he flew in Alaska and in the Pacific Theater for the Air Transport Command. He retired as United's most senior captain, flying Douglas DC-8 aircraft, in July 1965. He logged more than 40,000 flying hours in a career that spanned the Jenny to commercial jets.

Despite, or perhaps because of, his long historic aviation experience, Bud was always respectrul of his colleagues in the AIAA project. He willingly shared his wisdom, but never imposed his will. He sustained the project with his many contributions and made possible the construction of this AIAA Flyer.

The members of the Wright Flyer Project who had the humbling privilege of working with Bud lovingly remember our friend and colleague as a great man. We dedicate this great airplane to him.

Bud working on the AIAA Wright Flyer

Copyright 2002, AIAA Wright Flyer Project, all rights reserved.


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