Edward MacDonough was born in Tampa, Florida on December 4, 1915. The family moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he graduated from Robert E. Lee High School. He graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1937 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (with Honors).
Ed went to work in the Shop with Beech Aircraft Corp. in Wichita, Kansas, then into Engineering doing Drafting and then Structural Design and Analysis. At that time the products at Beech were the Model 17 Stagger Wing Biplane and the twin engine Model 18.
In December 1938, after Chance Vought received a contract from the Navy to develop the XF4U-1 Corsair, he joined Vought as a junior structural engineer. He was given the job of performing the stress analysis of the center wing section of this new inverted gull wing fighter. The structural analysis problems were unique and the experience gained from analyzing this highly redundant structure provided valuable training for the many generations of airplanes to come.
He did structural analysis and design on numerous follow on versions of the Corsair, the V-173 Flying Pancake, and was the lead structures man on the XF5U-1.
When he joined Vought there were 60 people in the engineering department and three projects. With the outbreak of the war in Europe there was a very rapid expansion and within four years, the engineering population was about 3000. The people who had been in the industry became the supervisors, although many were still in their 20’s. Ed became Assistant Supervisor of Structures Design and then Supervisor of Structures Design.
With the rapid growth of engineering in the 40’s and early 50’s, Vought was fortunate in being able to hire a large number of very bright young engineers. At least 14 men from the structures section, became Presidents or Vice Presidents of major corporations in later years, including two Presidents of Vought and the President of Aerospatiale Helicopters
With the development of the jet engine, the F6U-1 and the XF7U-1 were developed. After the move to Dallas in early 1949, the F7U-3 was developed. In December 1951, Mr. MacDonough became Chief of Structures. The XF8U-1 Crusader was developed in this period. After the design completion, and in December 1954 he was transferred into the Preliminary Design Section to begin design studies for the F8U-2, and then to start the preliminary design for the J-75 powered F8U-3 Mach 2 fighter for the Navy. Upon the award of a development contract, he became Chief Project Engineer for the design phase of this program.
In late 1958, after the design completion, he became the assistant head of a new Corporate Long Range Planning group. A year later, a decision was made to make a series of acquisitions. He became a staff assistant to the Vice-president- Finance to assist in making acquisitions in the mobile home industry. Vought Industries Inc. was formed to acquire the largest manufacturer and two other companies in that industry. He became a Vice President and a member of the board of directors of Vought Industries.
After Jim Ling secured control of Chance Vought and formed Ling-Temco-Vought, Vought Industries was sold. Mr. MacDonough returned to the Vought Aeronautics Division as Chief Engineer
He left Vought in 1964, after 25 years of service, to enter a business of his own. He acquired a small manufacturer of truck bodies and trailers and ran that for 5 ˝ years. After selling that, he was involved in other business ventures until 1977 when he decided that the most enjoyment had come during his involvement in airplane design.
He joined Piper Aircraft Corp. in Vero Beach, Florida where he did the conceptual work and preliminary design of the Piper Malibu. That airplane is still in production more than 20 years after it’s introduction.
In 1979 he joined Avco Aerostructures in Nashville Tennessee, where he led proposals for subcontract work for the Boeing 757, and then became Director of R & D.
In 1981 he retired to Charlotte, NC, but continued to perform several consulting assignments for Piper Aircraft. Then, in 1984 the Director of Engineering at Piper, called him and suggested “Let’s start a Kit Plane company”. This led to preliminary design studies, a hunt for financial backing, the formation of Questair, Inc. and the design of the “Questair Venture”. This 2 place retractable gear “Baby Malibu” set 10 world records for speed, time to climb and altitude. He continued working with Questair for five years.
He has continued doing consulting work for small general aviation companies, including Commander, Visionaire, Ayres, and Aero Modifications and Consulting. Currently, in 2003 at age 87, he is enjoying continued involvement with aircraft design, through consulting efforts for Honda R and D company who is developing a small business jet.