Born: United States of America
Primarily active in: United States of America


Ed Austin, Army Aviation Engineer

Edward Eugene Austin was born on Jan. 31, 1945 in Des Moines, Iowa. He graduated from North High School, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University in 1967. After receiving a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970, Austin took a job at the then-Applied Aviation Technology Division (AATD), supporting helicopter systems development at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Over his 37 years there, Austin embodied the role of a servant-leader, participating in the development of Army helicopter design and modeling software, leading the Piasecki Aircraft X-49 high-speed helicopter demonstration program, leading the AATD Structural Test Laboratory, and retiring as the Engineering Design and Analysis Branch Chief.

Austin joined VFS in 1971 and remained active over the next 50 years, co-authoring at least two VFS technical papers. In recent years, he served as the VFS Hampton Roads Chapter treasurer, webmaster and publicity chair, and helped organize and run the chapter’s annual technical meetings and social gatherings.

In retirement, Austin volunteered regularly with and for Habitat for Humanity (Loraine had founded the local chapter in 1985). Through Habitat and his local church, Austin had fed the homeless, built bunk beds for children in need and performed countless acts that were neither flashy nor brilliant, but represented continual service to his family and the Hampton Roads community. His email signature bore his favorite quote, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are,” by Carl Jung.

Army engineer Ed Austin and his wife of 52 years, Lorraine Paula Austin, were tragically killed in an automobile accident on July 29, 2021.

The Vertical Flight Society is accepting contributions to the Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) towards the Ed Austin Scholarship. Please go to to make a donation in memory of Ed Austin.

Society Update: Vertiflite November/December 2021