LEDERER, JEROME F. (1902–2004), U.S. aeronautical engineer. Born in New York City, Lederer received his B.Sc. in 1924 and his M.E. in 1925 in mechanical engineering with aeronautical electives at New York University, one of the very few universities which offered this course. In 1926 he joined the U.S. Air Mail Service, the world's first system of regular air transportation. The high accident rate among airline pilots stimulated his life-long interest in aviation safety and eventually he won the sobriquet "Mr Aviation Safety." His innovative work covered aircraft design and safety modifications, accident investigation, human factors such as pilot fatigue and distraction, and flight insurance. He organized the Flight Safety Foundation, of which he became the first director and later president emeritus. In World War II, Lederer was director of training at the institute which trained Air Transport Command's pilots and technicians and an operations analyst for the U.S. Air Force. He was a member of many key national and international organizations concerned with aviation safety. After retirement from the Foundation in 1967, he established the Office of Manned Space Flight Safety at the National Aeronautical and Space Administration's request following the 1967 space capsule disaster. As well as technical supervision, Lederer stressed the role of personal motivation. His many honors included the Wright Brothers Memorial Award (1967), the K.E. Tsiolkovsky Medal of the Soviet Federation of Cosmonauts (1988), and the International Civil Aviation Organization's Edward Warner award (1999). In January 2000 Air Safety magazine named him "aviation's man of the century." In retirement he continued to work actively on many more general aspects of transportation safety.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.