back to list

William P. Lear


1939 - 1967

Automotive & Aerospace

Military ServiceNavy
1930 b. 1902
Born-Died1902 - 1978
BirthplaceMissouri (MO)
FatherDeceased / Absent
Era - 1930

Long before he invented the autopilot and the executive jet that bears his name, Lear was a pioneer in the development of radio technology. A self-taught engineer, Lear developed the prototype for the first practical automobile radio which he sold to Motorola Corporation, and he went on to develop the eight-track stereo cartridge. Learís most impressive inventions were in the field of aviation where he virtually established the market for small executive jets. His development of the autopilot function for both small and large jets has been heralded as a major advancement in aircraft safety and efficiency.