Jack Real, aviation pioneer and confidante of Howard Hughes, died Sept. 6 in Los Angeles from heart failure. He was 90.
Real, who earned a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan College of Mining and Technology, began his aviation career in 1939 at the Lockheed Aircraft Co., where he worked on several designs, including the Lodestar and SR-71 Blackbird. While he worked at several companies, he is best remembered for his time at Lockheed and his relationship with Howard Hughes, whom he met in 1957. He served as an advisor to Hughes until the billionaire’s death in 1976.
In 2003 Real published a book, “The Asylum of Howard Hughes,” in an effort to dispel the more elaborate rumors about Hughes’ eccentricities.
Real, who was instrumental in the creation of the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Ore., was a key figure in getting the Hughes flying boat moved to the museum.