The AIAA Wright Flyer Project is sad to announce that Jack Cherne, Project Chairman, has passed away.
Jack Cherne lead a volunteer team of several dozen aerospace professionals who have spent hundreds of weekends since 1980 building the AIAA 1903 Wright Flyer, two authentic replicas of the first airplane to achieve sustained, powered flight. An engineer who specialized in aircraft design and construction, Cherne worked in the aerospace industry since World War II, when he helped design the Mars Flying Boat and the Northrop XB-35 flying wing. In the decades since, he has worked on projects as disparate as helicopters, guided missiles, and, beginning in the early 1960s, spacecraft and satellites. At TRW (formerly Space Technology Laboratories), he headed the team that built the engines that allowed men to descend to the surface of the moon.
In addition to his involvement with the AIAA Wright Flyer, Cherne continued to work full-time for TRW in areas such as launch facilities for Air Force satellites and vehicles for nuclear, biological and chemical reconnaissance.
Cherne was a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the group sponsoring the AIAA 1903 Wright Flyer, since 1941. He became an AIAA Fellow in 2004. Fellows are persons of distinction in aeronautics or astronautics who have made notable and valuable contributions to the art, science, or technology of aerospace. One fellow for every 1,000 voting members is elected each year.
Cherne and the Wright Flyer Team celebrated the Centennial of Flight at the Regional Office of the Federal Aviation Administration with their Wright Flyer airplane. The airplane had just returned to it's home at the FAA Flight Deck after a fifteen month National Tour reaching over four million people. At the ceremonies, Jack received the honorary "Charles Taylor/Aviation Mechanics Award". This award is only given to special recipients with at least fifty years of service in the aeronautics/astronautics field.
Although Jack developed serious health problems during the past year, he continued to pursue his dream of flight. He chaired our Saturday meetings at the Wright Flyer Project at Microcosm in El Segundo, CA where the flightworthy replica is currently being constructed. In February, he was no longer able to continue and passed the torch to Co-Chairman Howard Marx. Jack passed away on March 2, 2004.
His dream will not die. The Wright Flyer Team plans to complete the "Jack Cherne Memorial Wright Flyer" and will fly it in his honor.
Full scale 1903 Wright Flyer Replica shown at its new home in the FAA Flight Deck Museum, with the project volunteers and guests from the AIAA National Office.
Visitor access to Wright Brothers National Memorial during the five-day First Flight Centennial Celebration is limited to those holding tickets (including children under 12 who are not charged). Visitors must purchase tickets prior to their arrival at the park. No drugs, alcohol, or weapons are allowed on site. All visitors will pass through security screening and are encouraged not to leave the site once they have done so. All persons and all items brought to the site are subject to inspection. Coolers are prohibited. Food and drink vendors will be available on site. Information on the First Flight Centennial Celebration, including the events calendar, safety requirements, security restrictions, available vendors, and transportation can be obtained by going to http://www.firstflightcentennial.org. Please check the saftey information and security restrictions prior to your arrival.
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