James W. Turnbow

Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame
Enshrined 2005

The father of aircraft crashworthiness analysis and investigation, Dr. James Turnbow began developing his specialty while serving in the ordinance department of the United States Army during World War II. There he was charged with the task of developing ways to airdrop larger loads of food, supplies, trucks, tanks, and equipment without destroying most or all of the payloads. He learned to counteract the crash forces by creating cushioning solutions that could absorb the energy of a violent impact.

His engineering skills later assisted in the development of some key aircraft components. This body of work is now known as the U.S. Government’s five-volume, Aircraft Crash Survival Guide and is the world’s primary reference on this subject. An Accomplished aviator in both gliders and general aviation aircraft, Doc was an active member of the Civil Air Patrol.

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