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Edgar J. Lesher

Edgar James Lesher


Edger James Lesher was born July 31, 1914 in Detroit, Michigan. As a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, he made significant contributions to aviation as a teacher and engineer.

Lesher received a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan and joined the Department of Aerospace Engineering in 1942. While he taught courses in all aspects of aircraft, he also had a major impact through his widely known airplane design courses. In the late 1950s, Edgar Lesher decided to "practice what he preached," and started to design his first airplane. In 1961, the NOMAD SN-1 made its maiden flight. This was the first of the pusher prop designs for which he is internationally known.

After 5,000 hours of personal engineering and construction time, Lesher's second plane, the TEAL, made its first flight on April 28, 1965 at Willow Run Airport. In 1968, Lesher made a series of record setting flights for speed in a closed circuit course in the TEAL. He was awarded the 1968 Bleriot Medal by the Federation Aeronautique International. Lesher continued to set new records with TEAL, receiving the Louis Bleriot Medal again in 1970, 1974, and 1976.

Lesher was enshrined on October 14, 1988 for his dedicated service as an educator and engineer, advancing the science of aircraft design.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program