Learning Center Our Enshrinees

William Powell Lear Sr.

Inventor & Industrialist

Born: June 22, 1902 in Hannibal, Missouri
Death: May 14, 1978
Enshrined:  1978

Developed a “B” battery eliminator that enabled radios to operate on household electricity and invented a radio speaker and amplifier system that produced unbelievably fine sounds. Before long, he began work on a revolutionary new idea: a radio for automobiles. It proved to be another success and he christened it “Motorola.”

Established Lear Radio at Chicago’s airport and began to manufacture aircraft radio receivers to aid navigation by picking up radio beacon signals.

Developed a radio direction finder for airplanes. When it was perfected, he named it the Lear-O-Scope, and later received the Frank M. Hawk Memorial Award for this important aircraft navigation aid.

Received the Collier Trophy in 1949 for developing the F-5 autopilot with a control for landing aircraft in “zero-zero” weather.

Unveiled his radically new jet-powered business aircraft the Lear Jet in 1963.

Initiated the design of the Lear-Fan, a high-efficiency, turbine powered pusher-propeller driven business type airplane in 1977.

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