|Elrey B. Jeppesen
CAHS Honored in 1970
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Elrey Jeppesen’s aviation career spanned more than 60 years. He is most famous for his development of manuals and charts that allow pilots worldwide to fly the airways safely. For many years he was known affectionately as Capt. Jepp.
After purchasing an Alexander Eaglerock airplane, he joined Tex Rankin's Flying Circus in Portland, Oregon. He barnstormed his way down to Dallas where he got a job flying for Fairchild Aerial Surveys, photographing the delta area around New Orleans. In 1930, he went to work for Varney Airlines and later joined Boeing Air Transport, both predecessors of United Airlines. During this time he flew many of the early aircraft types then in airline use.
Because in those days there were no adequate navigational aids for pilots, they used road maps, such as they were, and railroad tracks to guide themselves. At the age of 23 Jeppesen started to compile information about the airports he flew into and out of. He used a ten-cent notebook to record this information. He highlighted landmarks, elevations and obstructions.
Word got around about this notebook and other pilots wanted them, so Capt. Jepp started to have them printed and made available. He moved to Denver in 1941 where he started in earnest in the manual business while continuing to fly for United Airlines. The military soon made his charts standard for their pilots, and the manual shortly thereafter became the standard for the airlines. In 1954 he left United Airlines to concentrate on the chart business. In 1961, he sold his firm to the Times Mirror Publishing Co. of Los Angeles, but remained as president and chairman of the board.
The company, which he founded in his basement, is now a worldwide resource providing navigational charting and electronic computerized aids for the world's pilots and for flight training programs. Jeppesen- Sanderson as the company was later named became the world's leading publisher of air navigational information and flight training systems.
Elrey Jeppesen has been inducted into the OX-5 Aviation Hall of Fame and has received the NBAA Meritorious Service Award along with Charles A. Lindbergh, Igor Sikorsky and Jimmy Doolittle. He has been honored in many other ways. He was inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame in 1970 and into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1990.
In 1995 FAA Administrator David Hinson presented the FAA Award for Extraordinary Service to Capt. Jepp. The terminal buildings at the Denver International Airport have been named the Elrey B. Jeppesen Terminal, an appropriate honor for a man who has done so much for the world's civil and military aviation, and for this state of Colorado.