Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Jerome Fox Lederer

Jerry Lederer, © 2011Jerome ("Jerry") Lederer is known as the "father of aviation safety." He began his career as an aeronautical engineer for the U.S. Air Mail Service in the 1920s prior to becoming chief engineer for Aero Insurance Underwriters, one of the world's largest aviation insurance companies at that time. In addition to assessing aviation risks for the company, Lederer carried out safety audits and educational programs and produced a widely acclaimed safety newsletter. In 1940, Lederer was named director of the newly-created Civil Aeronautics Board Safety Bureau, a forerunner to the National Transportation Safety Board. He left the Safety Bureau in 1942 for a position with the Airlines War Training Institute.

In the aftermath of a Lockheed Constellation accident in 1946, Lederer organized a meeting to discuss ways to disseminate safety information. The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) was formed in 1947 as a result of this meeting, and Lederer served as its director until 1967. Lederer served concurrently as director of the Cornell-Guggenheim Aviation Safety Center from 1950 to 1967.  Upon his retirement from FSF, Lederer was asked to establish an Office of Manned Space Flight Safety for NASA to address safety issues in the Apollo Program following the January 1967 launch-pad fire that killed three astronauts. Lederer retired from NASA in 1972, but continued to be an advocate for aviation safety until his death in 2004 at age 101.

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The Jerome Lederer Papers contain correspondence, speeches, articles, reports, photographs, news clippings, publications, an oral history interview, and memorabilia spanning Lederer's entire career. Also included in the collection are FSF records and records and reports from Aviation Crash Injury Research (AvCIR). AvCIR (later renamed Aviation Safety Engineering Research or AvSER) was a program started by Hugh DeHaven at Cornell University which operated under the oversight of the Cornell-Guggenheim Aviation Safety Center and later became a subsidiary of the Flight Safety Foundation. The Lederer Papers are part of the Flight Safety Foundation Jerry Lederer Aviation Safety Library which is located in the Aviation Safety and Security Archives at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona.

The Flight Safety Foundation published a special issue of Flight Safety Digest in honor of Jerry Lederer on his 100th birthday in 2002.