Alan Starr

Director - Engineering

1942 to 1987




Struck by spinal meningitis  in 1945, just three years after joining the Vought Structures Design Group, Alan experienced a total loss of  hearing overnight. He bounced back from this setback by learning to read lips and continued his Aeronautical Engineering career unabated much to the surprise of all who were associated with him from that time forward. Alan joined Toastmasters and participated fully by the giving of interesting and humorous talks. He could even critique the talks of others even though being totally without hearing. Late in his career he had an occasion to interface with the French. He learned to speak French and impressed his French teacher by being able to incorporate the French dialect into his vocabulary.

Alan was born in 1920 in Pleasantville New Jersey. He graduated from Indiana Institute of Technology with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering in 1942 and joined the Vought organization as a Structures Design Engineer. He received his Masters in Aeronautical Engineering from SMU in 1958 and his Doctorate from SMU in 1977. During the 1942- 1950 time period Alan was a Structures Design Engineer on the Chance Vought Aircraft F4U (Corsair-Famous WWII Fighter), XF5U-1 (Flying Pancake), XF6U-1 (Pirate), XF7U-1 and F7U-1 (Cutlass). Responsibilities included propeller and gearbox loads and stress analysis, airplane flight loads, wing and fuselage structural design and analysis. 

In 1950 he was assigned to Preliminary Design responsible for structural arrangements and analysis for advanced Aircraft. During this period Alan put together the Structures Design team that responded to the Navy’s RFP for a supersonic Fighter. Conceptual design studies lead to the  XF8U-1 (Crusader) configuration which won the competition and in 1953 Alan was named Structures Project Engineer for the XF8U-1.

In 1955 Alan was promoted to Supervisor of the Structures Design Group. Here he became responsible for the structural integrity of all Vought designed products. Then in 1957 he was promoted to Structures Project Engineer-Research and Development. In this position he became responsible for all structures research and development programs.

In 1959 he became responsible for the technical direction and  administration of all Vought Aeronautics Division, company sponsored and contract technical R&D programs.

In 1974 Alan was named Director, Engineering Technical Research and Development and retired from this position in 1977.

In 1977 Alan joined Aerospatiale Helicopter Corporation, (AHS), formerly the Vought Helicopter Corporation. He lead the Engineering effort in a proposal competition for a Short Range Recovery, (SRR), helicopter for the US Coast Guard. Aerospatiale won the competition and Alan was named Director of Engineering for the AHC SRR Division responsible for engineering development in coordination with the Aerospatiale Division in France. To coordinate the engineering effort Alan was required to travel extensively to France, Washington D.C., and the major suppliers of equipment. First delivery of 96  helicopters, designated the HH-65 Dolphin, was made to the US Coast Guard in 1984. Alan retired from AHC in 1987.