An engineering giant becomes a legend

  • 30-Sep-2011 11:10 EDT
Bill Milliken(R-146&206)tif.tif

Bill Milliken is one of few people who can say he built, flew, and crashed his own airplane. He survived that 1933 mishap and went on to make major contributions in automotive and aerospace engineering. He is now 100 years old and lives in Buffalo.

Many people consider engineer, racecar driver, and SAE Fellow Bill Milliken a legend, and now it is official as Watkins Glen International on Sept. 12 honored him and famed racecar driver Mario Andretti as the newest members of the Legends of the Glen. Milliken, who turned 100 in April, accepted his award in person. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate who served as chief flight test engineer for Boeing during World War II, Milliken left his mark on The Glen in many ways. Among other things, he was the first to crash in a race there, and the area of the course in which he rolled his car in 1948 is still known as Milliken's Corner. However, his greatest impact might have come off the track, where he was instrumental in the planning and design of both the temporary and permanent race circuits featuring sweeping turns and long straightaways. Milliken has authored or co-authored several best-selling books published and/or sold by SAE here.

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