F-16 Developer Dies

Harry Hillaker, 89, a long-time aeronautical engineer with General Dynamics who is considered to be the “father of the F-16,” died Feb. 8 at his home in Fort Worth, Tex. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Feb. 10 that Hillaker led the GD design team that worked, secretively at first, with a group of Pentagon insiders including then-Maj. John Boyd—that later became known as the “fighter mafia”—to mold a collection of ideas, theories, and concepts into what became the F-16, one of the most successful fighter programs in history. Hillaker, born in Flint, Mich., retired from GD in 1985. (For more on Hillaker’s role in the genesis of the F-16, read The Viper Revolution.)