The thought processes of engineers and pilots

Ewan noted the other day that there are two kinds of engineers, as illustrated by Robert Stanley and Richard Frost, both of whom worked with Chuck Yeager at some point, and both of whom Ewan’s father worked for.

One kind of engineer, illustrated by Dick Frost, who founded Frost Engineering, gets into engineering out of curiosity about how things work.  The other kind, illustrated by Bob Stanley, who founded Stanley Aviation, is an engineer so as to find out how to fix the thing he just broke.  There are uses for both attitudes in engineering, but they probably aren’t going to work well together for long.  You can read more family stories about these two aviation engineers here.

Pilots enter their profession for different reasons too.  Another observation about fighter pilots is that Rickenbacker, Richthofen, and Udet seem to be in agreement that the top aces weren’t necessarily the best pilots; they were the best hunters.  Love of flying and ability to do stunts were not essential in an ace and could be distracting from the main job.

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