ArchivesSpace Public Interface

ALPA Engineering and Air Safety Department Records Edit


Finding Aid Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Finding Aid Date
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of Description


  • 1931 – 1974 (Creation)
  • 1955 – 1970 (Creation)


  • 138 Linear Feet (Whole)
    (138 SB)

Agent Links



  • Language of Materials

    The majority of this collection is in English. Some of the material is in French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.

  • Abstract

    Part I: Part 1 of the Engineering and Air Safety Department Records is concerned primarily with air safety. The files include material pertaining to studies of airports; air traffic control; lighting; accidents; new aircraft evaluations; crew training and related areas; noise abatement; the SST; and all-weather flying. There is much documentation of the work done in these fields by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

    Part II: Part 2 of the Engineering and Air Safety Department Records contains photographs of accidents and investigations conducted by the Department as well as airplane components and flight stations. Many of these photographs correspond to folders found in Part 1 of the EAS Records, the relevant box and folder numbers are noted in parentheses after each folder description.

  • Acquisition

    Part I: The records of the Air Line Pilots Association Engineering & Air Safety (EAS) Department were deposited in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs by Theodore G. Linnert, Elizabeth K. Holder, Tobi Brimsek, and Peggy Ewell in various shipments beginning in 1968 through 1996.

    Part II: The files of the Air Pilots Association Engineering and Air Safety (EAS) Department were deposited in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in multiple shipments.

  • Processing History

    Part I: Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in 1996.

    Part II: Processed and finding aid written by Kathy Makas on February 5, 2010.

  • Access

    Collection is open for research.

  • Use

    Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

  • Citation Style

    "ALPA Engineering and Air Safety Department Records, Part [#], Box [#], Folder [#], Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University"

  • Related Materials

    ALPA collections

  • Transfers

    Part I: A number of badges, posters, black and white and color photographs and slides have been transferred to the Archives Audiovisual Collection. The photographs deal with such subjects as accidents, (both fatal and non-fatal), and new aircraft evaluations. Another interesting audiovisual part of the collection are the “computers”. These are disks which were used with the Flight Time Duty Time Study. Several of the computers were transferred to the audiovisual collection. One computer was left with the manuscript collection. A special report on how to use the computer is found in Box 133, folder 13 containing The Air Line Pilot November 1963 issue.

  • History

    The Air Line Pilots Association was organized in 1930. ALPA affiliated with the American Federation of Labor in 1931 and became the principal bargaining agent for professionally employed air line pilots. All aspects of air safety—airport facilities, flight procedures, equipment, and pilot training—have been a priority since the inception of the Association. During the 1930s, ALPA created its own National Safety Board, but through the early to mid-1930s the Association had little effect in enacting significant changes in air travel safety.

    In May, 1935, Senator Bronson Cutting of New Mexico was killed in a plane crash near Kirksville, Missouri. Four months later, pilot Wiley Post and humorist Will Rogers died in a plane crash in Point Barrow, Alaska. In September, ALPA’s Central Executive Committee passed a resolution recommending that the federal Bureau of Air Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce, take immediate action to control uniformly all aircraft in flight. The death of prominent individuals sparked government investigation into air safety. The Cutting crash precipitated investigations by five government agencies and provoked reforms in accident investigation.

    The timing of another situation proved fortuitous for ALPA as the organization assumed a increasing leadership role in promoting air safety. Publicity surrounding ALPA’s accusations of industry “pilot pushing” in late 1936-early 1937 coincided with pending government aviation legislation. “Pilot pushing” meant the employer held the threat of immediate discharge over pilots who refused to fly in bad weather. This practice directly caused the deaths of two mail pilots flying for Northwest Airlines in December. The tragic episode served as a national opportunity for ALPA to expose the poor status of air safety in the United States. Historically, air crashes and aircraft mishaps through the 1930s were routinely blamed on pilot error—exclusive of serious consideration of other important factors such as equipment malfunction, mechanical failure or bad flying conditions.

    The pending legislation resulted in the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938. A major provision of the act was the creation of an independent Air Safety Board (ASB) which assumed the duties of the Bureau of Air Commerce: an ALPA vice president had a seat on the board. A major component of the new federal board, the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA), accepted air safety recommendations on behalf of pilot groups—such as ALPA—for federal review and potential rule-making. A chief concern of the pilots then, which would remain a concern to ALPA to the present day, was air traffic control (ATC).

    By the end of 1938, the CAA established an airway operations division. Also, during this year ALPA abolished its own National Safety Committee, citing that the committee was unable to function expeditiously.

    The ASB was short-lived. In April 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt abolished the board. The CAA was transferred back to the Department of Commerce. The accident investigatory function of the now-defunct ASB was transferred to a newly restructured government agency, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), later in 1942. ALPA’s concern over air safety was ever present, and in response to the demise of the ASB, the Association established the Engineering and Airworthiness Committee, a standing committee, at the ALPA’s 1940 Board of Directors (BOD) meeting.

    ALPA’s growing involvement in national affairs since the mid-1930s necessitated changes within the Association itself. ALPA began to develop its organizational structure as a professional and modernized entity. The issue of air safety was of particular importance. The major drawback with ALPA’s existing Engineering and Airworthiness Committee was that it lacked sufficient technical engineering expertise.

    By 1940 ALPA, and David Behncke in particular, recognized the need for engineering expertise. The December 1942 ALPA BOD meeting authorized adding professional specialists to the Association headquarters staff: a lawyer, a negotiator, additional clerical help, and an ALPA representative to Washington. Included in this group of specialists was an aeronautical engineer who was also a certified pilot.

    Theodore George Linnert, “Ted” Linnert, held those unique qualifications. Linnert was born April 30, 1912. In 1929, he worked as a draftsman/mechanic at the E.M. Laird Airplane Company in Chicago. Later Linnert earned a B.S. degree in aeronautical engineering from the Aeronautical University in Chicago. By 1935, he was a design engineer for Howard Aircraft Corporation. As a pilot, Linnert soloed prior to 1940 in an airplane powered by a World War Ivintage engine—the OX5 engine, which was less reliable than aircraft motors of the 1930s, and provided a historical link back to the days of barnstormers and aviation pioneers. In 1941, Linnert moved to Washington, D.C. and worked for the CAA as an aeronautical engineer. From 1942 to 1944 he was employed by the E.G. Budd Manufacturing Company in Philadelphia as a flight test engineer. He joined ALPA as director of E&AS in September of 1944 and served as department director until his retirement in September, 1975. Mr. Linnert died on August 21, 1988.

  • Scope and Content

    Part 1: The papers of the Engineering & Air Safety Department document the day-to-day operations of the department within ALPA and the activities of Ted Linnert. Linnert’s contributions to ALPA and the field of air safety are many. He organized ALPA’s first technical committees; inaugurated Association participation in new aircraft evaluation; assisted in developing the ALPA airport approach light system; and pioneered the idea of airport certification. He crusaded for increased runway lengths for adverse weather flight operations. Ted Linnert also championed changes in cockpit instrumentation, advocating a retrofit rule for secondary landing gear-up warning signals to eliminate aircraft wheels-up landing accidents.

    Also documented within the papers, are the activities of staff engineer Carl F. Eck. Eck was born April 20, 1917. He graduated from Tri State College in Angola, Indiana with a baccalaureate degree in aero engineering in 1937. Eck then worked in the engineering department of the Vultee Aircraft Company until late 1938. He received naval flight training in Pensacola, Florida in 1939. Eck later was employed by C.L. Martin as a weight engineer and a liaison engineer until August 1942. He then served as a pilot for TWA, flying several classes of commercial aircraft prior to joining ALPA in May, 1947.

    In addition to routine staff duties, Eck organized ALPA Safety forums from 1952 to 1972; developed the ALPA publication Tech Talk and edited it for almost a decade; and served as an accident investigator. From 1953 until 1972 he participated in the evaluation of all new jet transport aircraft including turboprop aircraft. Carl Eck retired as a senior staff engineer from ALPA Engineering & Air Safety in August, 1981.

    The Engineering & Air Safety Department collection consists of correspondence, reports, convention information files, general files, draft releases, committee materials, engineering data, strike ballots and negotiation materials, airport documents, new aircraft evaluation files, council minutes and reports.

    Important subjects: ALPA Air Line Stewards & Stewardess Division ALPA Training Plans Committee ALPA News Bulletin Air Safety Air Traffic Controllers Aircraft Components Aircraft Engineering Airplane crashes in North America Asociacao Dos Pilotos Da Panair Do Brasil Asociacion Sindical De Pilotos Aviadores De Mexico Aviation Conferences, International British Air Line Pilots Association Canadian Air Line Pilots Association Canadair The Cockpit Federal Aviation Administration Flight Time Duty Time Study International Civil Aviation Organization International Federation o f Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA) Martin 404 aircraft Master Executive Councils (MECs) National Aircraft Noise Abatement Council (NANAC) Notice of Proposed Rule-Makings (NPRMs) New Aircraft Evaluation New Zealand Air Line Pilots Association Sandia Mountain accident, Albuquerque, New Mexico 1955 Strikes Super Sonic Transport (SST) Trans Canada Airways Important correspondents: Wallace W. Anderson, Oscar Bakke, T. A. Basnight, E. J. Bechtold, David L. Behncke, Kenneth L. Burroughs, Larry Cates, Nino Ciancetta, A. J. Clay, Viola Colby, Scruggs A. Colvin, Robert E. Commerce, Elizabeth Cowan, Dolores Curran, William B. Davis, Stanley L. Doepke, James R. Durfee, Carl F. Eck, Jacqueline Farias, Paula Featherstonhaugh, Armando V. Galvin, Rosemarie Gillis, Mercedes D. Grant, O. W. Hanks, Jack Harrington, C. C. Jackson, Glyn Johns, C. Kidd, Dolores Kidder, Dolores Kruger, Lucien L. Leclerc, John Leroux, Theodore G. Linnert, Charlotte Littlewood, D. Macleod, Harold F. Martinsen, John R. Mcdonald, Kay McMurray, Gloria Nam, John P. O’Brien, D. F. O’Sullivan, Harry Orlady, T. R. Outland, C. F. Pocius, Betty Pursell, Roger D. Rae, Claudette Reid, D. W. Richwine, P. Rider, R. N. Rockwell, W. J. Rodgers, R. J. Rohan, Robert Rosenbaum, Charles H. Ruby, Clarence N. Sayen, Thomas G. Smith, C. C. Spencer, Francis A. Spencer, L. Taylor, John F. Ulm, A. A. Vollmecke, F. L. Wallace, Sally Wallwork, Diann Williams, Jerome E. Wood, Charles L. Woods

    Series Description: Series 1: Air Safety & Air Traffic Controllers, 1931-1974 Series 2: Correspondence, 1942-1968 Series 3: Conferences, Reports, 1947-1972 Series 4: General Files, Draft Releases, 1946-1972 Series 5: Committees, 1948-1972 Series 6: Engineering Materials, 1944-1965 Series 7: Strikes, 1945-1957 Series 8: Airports, Aircraft; components, evaluations, 1951-1971

    Part II: The ALPA Engineering and Air Safety (EAS) Department Records contains photographs of accidents and investigations conducted by the EAS Department as well as airplane components and flight stations. Many of these photographs correspond to folders found in Part 1 of the EAS Records, the relevant box and folder numbers are noted in parentheses after each folder description.

    Important subjects: Air safety Air traffic control Aircraft accident investigation Airline pilots Airlines—Safety measures Airlines—Safety regulations Airlines—Technological innovations—United States Airplane Airworthiness Airplane crashes Airplanes—Piloting—Safety measures Civil Aeronautics Board (U.S.) Federal Aviation Administration National Transportation Safety Board (U. S.)

  • Arrangement

    Part 1: Arranged into 8 series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-32), Series 2 (Boxes 33-35), Series 3 (Boxes 36-40), Series 4 (Boxes 41-63, 130-132), Series 5 (Boxes 64-85, 133-136), Series 6 (Box 86), Series 7 (Box 87), and Series 8 (Boxes 87-128). Folders in each series are simply listed by their location within each box. They are not arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout several boxes within each series.

    Series 1: Air Safety & Air Traffic Controllers, (Box 1-32),

    Series 2: Correspondence, (Box 33-35),

    Series 3: Conferences, Reports, (Box 36-40),

    Series 4: General Files, Draft Releases, (Box 41-63, 130-132),

    Series 5: Committees, (Box 64-85, 133-136),

    Series 6: Engineering Materials, (Box 86),

    Series 7: Strikes, (Box 87),

    Series 8: Airports, Aircraft; components, evaluations, (Box 87-128)

    Part II: Folders in Part 2 are not necessarily arranged in any particular order. The box folder listing provides an inventory based on their original order. Subjects may be dispersed throughout the collection.