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WMoF Celebrity Series: Cold War Warrior David Wensley
- Date: 02/16/2019 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
- Location: Western Museum of Flight (Torrance Airport)
3315 Airport Drive
Torrance, California 90505
David didn’t start out that way though. He aimed for an electrical engineering degree from his hometown University of Miami. While at the M, he entered the University’s ROTC program graduating with a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force.
Lt. Karl Grosh was an German Luftwaffe pilot at 14 who was captured by American forces shortly before the end of WWII. Grosh parlayed his flying experience into becoming an instructor in the US Air Force and Wensley’s instructor.
Wensley chose the F-86D equipped with an afterburner and radar, and fired rockets instead of machine guns. It was America’s first single-seat all-weather interceptor. His initial assignment was to be an air defense pilot with the 324th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Westover AFB, near Springfield, Massachusetts.
He returned to engineering at McDonnell-Douglas while remaining in the Air Force Reserves until 1970 when he was discharged with the rank of Captain.
He was at the birth of the aerospace industry and spent many years engaged in new product developments ranging from flight control systems, to lunar and Mars rovers, to manned spacecraft design. David assisted a European consortium, ERNO, in developing the Spacelab manned module that was launched on the US Space Shuttle.
After serving at McDonnell-Douglas as V.P. of Strategic Planning, V.P. for Integration on the US Space Station, V.P.G.M. of Advanced Programs & Technology, and several other management responsibilities, Wensley retired (1996) as Vice President/General Manager of Reusable Launch Vehicles.