August 12, 2003 by

Jack Steiner


Categories: Business, Scientists

John Edward Steiner, an aerospace engineer who was known as the “Father of the 727,” drowned in Lake Washington on July 29. He was 85.
Originally, Steiner wanted to design boats. After he received a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Washington in 1940, he looked to the sky for inspiration.
Steiner was best known for the inventive design work he did at Boeing from 1941 to 1984. Steiner created the triple-slotted flap, a device that allowed planes to take off and land on shorter runways. In 1963, he helped build the high-performance Boeing 727, turning it into a commercial airliner that was ideal for domestic flights. Previously, commercial jets only flew international flights.
Boeing sold over 1,800 727s during Steiner’s tenure, making it the second best-selling commercial jet airliner of all time. The first was the 737; Steiner was the chief engineer on that project. In the final design of the 737, Steiner used 60% of the 727’s parts, including its doors, cockpit layout and avionics.
From 1982 to 1990, Steiner served on the White House Aeronautical Policy Review Committee.

4 Responses to Jack Steiner

  1. Joel Bader

    Whenever I see a Boeing 727 or a Boeing 737, or even a picture of such aircraft, I know that Jack Steiner’s genius lives on everywhere.

  2. william Teadale

    I first met Mr Steiner in the late ’60’s a friend of His Son John. I admired the Man Greatly, He taught Me how to Sail a Sailboat from His dock in Medina. He was an intelligent Man and quite polite, even to a smart assed kid. I owe much to Jack, and His wisdom serves Me well today. Bill Teasdale

  3. Peggy Steiner

    I am Mr. Steiner’s former daughter-in-law. In his Will, he made a stipulation that my husband, John Steiner, Jr., would not receive his inheritance except through distributions by an appointed guardian, Christy Schwager, his sister. His sister would make distributions to John Jr. as she saw fit. This was a way to keep Jr.’s inheritance from being touched by me, admitted by Christy in deposition, and John Jr. started divorce proceedings exactly three weeks after the will was read. We were married for 29 years; he informed me he was leaving on the eve of our 29th wedding anniversary when I asked him out to an annivesary dinner, and told me the reason was so he would not have to be controlled by his sister. I’m sure Jack was a great man in business, but to exert such control over his son and our marriage, even from the grave, in my opinion was typical of his personality. I loved my husband, but had to endure a horrifying divorce proceeding, the focus of which on the part of family members seemed to be that I really never was the kind of “quality” mate Jr. deserved, anyway. It’s all a matter of public record, I’m sure, and replete with disproved lies. I felt like it was an “ex-communication” proceeding. I think it is time people saw both sides of this man; if he saw fit after death to destroy a 29-year marriage and leave my son without a father in the home, then I think it is fair to tell the truth after death as well.

  4. TC Howard

    I was in a carpool with Jack Steiner the day that he was appointed Director of Engineering for the 727. At the present time, I am a retired Boeing Quality Engineering Manager and helping with the restoration of the No. 1 A/P that was delivered to UAL. This restorstion in being doen at the Museum of Flight Restoration Center, Paine Field, Everett, WA. Terris C. “TC” Howard.

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