Turbofan pioneer Sam Williams dies

Dr. Sam Williams, founder and chairman of Williams International, died June 22 at the age of 88, according to a statement issued by his company.

The small, efficient fanjet engines that Dr. Williams developed are used widely on general aviation jet aircraft. The first of them, the FJ44-1A, was certified by the FAA in 1992 and, since then, 4,000 FJ44 engines have entered service, according to an item in the Aviation International News online newsletter.

A winner of the Collier Trophy, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy and the National Medal of Technology, Williams said, more than a decade ago, “Our objective is to replace aging, piston-powered light aircraft with all-new, four-place single and six-place twin turbofan-powered modern aircraft. This means we must develop a turbofan in the 700-pound-thrust category that is very low in cost at a high production rate, is extremely quiet, is light in weight, and is very reliable.”

According to Williams International, “Dr. Williams also applied his gift for innovation to the many charities he supported, especially through his promotion of inventors and inventions in medical research for cancer and degenerative eye diseases.” His son, Gregg G. Williams, current president and CEO of Williams International, will assume the title of chairman.

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