R. Dixon Speas

Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame
Enshrined 1995

R. Dixon Speas was born in Davie County, North Carolina. Known for his dedication to improving the safety and efficiency of public and private air transportation, his future career was foreshadowed in the 1930s when he won the prestigious William E. Boeing thesis Contest.

Following graduation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he flew for American Airlines and served as President C.R. Smith’s assistant. During World War II, while on loan from American, he performed special assignments for the U.S. Army Air Force.

In 1951 he founded the first of several consulting firms; the most recent, PRC Aviation in Tucson. Over the years he has handled projects for most of the world’s major airlines, for much of corporate aviation and for many international airports.

Also, he pioneered the development of new operating procedures, including intercontinental computerized flight planning, that greatly increased the utility and profitability of commercial air carriers and business aircraft. There’s hardly an airline or corporate aircraft operator flying anywhere in the world today who doesn’t use some innovative idea or method that can be credited directly to R. Dixon Speas.

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