Dwight Henry Bennett Personal Papers

Dwight Henry Bennett was an aeronautical engineer for Convair, Rockwell, and McDonnell Aircraft. Born November 19, 1917, in Oklahoma City, he earned a BS degree in mechanical engineering in 1940 from Caltech in Pasadena, CA. While enrolled at Caltech, he worked on B-24 bombers for Consolidated Aircraft. 

Bennett would spend 23 years at Convair, working on the Sea Dart seaplane, the F-102, F-106, and others. Bennett was part of a team that led the development and flight-testing of Convair’s T-29 Flying Classroom. While in San Diego, Bennett served as chair of the San Diego section of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences (an early part of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) and was eventually selected to be on their national council.

Bennett (second from right) with fellow engineers.

Bennett left Convair in 1962 to become vice president and assistant to the general manager of the Aerocommander division of Rockwell in Bethany, OK, for two years. He moved on to McDonnell Aircraft until 1976. At McDonnell, he worked on the Breguet 941, a short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft with four engines developed to show the potential of STOL aircraft. Bennett was promoted to Director of Program Engineering to oversee the development of the F-4 Phantom supersonic fighter. He ended his career at McDonnell as director of program engineering for the F/A-18 Hornet project based at Northrop Los Angeles. 

As one of the early developers of the control-configured vehicle (CCV) concept, he won the 1972 SAE Wright Brothers medal as co-author, along with R.P. Johannes, for the paper Combat Capabilities and Versatility through CCV, discussing its applications. This award recognizes individuals for their executive leadership in aerospace engineering and who can demonstrate significant contributions to the progress and development of air transportation.

Bennett had a lifelong interest in flying, logging over 6000 flying hours from 1940 - 1985. Most of his flight time was in single or twin-engine aircraft, although he also flew Mach 2 at Convair. Following retirement in 1982, he worked as a flight instructor in all ratings until 1985.

Bennett passed away in San Diego on July 10, 2002.

The collection contains correspondence, research, engineering data, and compiled publicity relating to design concepts and proposals of aerospace engineer Dwight Henry Bennett. Through his career, Bennett researched and proposed applying delta wing configurations and fixed canard Kreuger flap configurations to short-haul transport aircraft. He proposed applying these designs to Cessna and Douglas aircraft corporations. This collection also includes material relating to Bennett’s career including invitations, awards, and manuscripts for publication.

Images for this collection on Flickr.

The descriptive finding guide for this collection.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter

Get Social with SDASM

Icon for Facebook Icon for Twitter Icon for Instagram Icon for Pinterest