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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Zipp, Harold W., 1906-1991



  • Existence: 1906-1991

Biographical Note: Harold W. Zipp

Harold W. Zipp had a career as an engineer at The Boeing Company that spanned over forty years. Born in 1906 in Lincoln, Nebraska, Zipp graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1930 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He served in the United States Officers’ Reserve Corps until 1938.

Early in his professional career, Zipp worked for Phillips Petroleum Company and Knoll Aircraft Corporation. He began work as a draftsman at Stearman Aircraft Company in Wichita, Kansas in 1931 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming Chief Engineer in 1937. In 1950, Zipp was promoted to Executive Engineer, a position which he held for two years before transferring to Boeing headquarters in Seattle, Washington to assume the role of Assistant to the Vice-President of Engineering. Six years later, he was promoted to Assistant to the Headquarters Senior Vice-President, a position he held for six years before being promoted to Director of Engineering Services, a position he kept until his retirement in the early 1970s.

In the mid-1930s, Zipp co-designed the Stearman (1927) PT-13 Kaydet (Model 75), a primary trainer used by the United States Army and Navy to train aviation cadets. As chief engineer during World War II, Zipp was directly involved in many high-profile and often confidential projects developing military aircraft. As reported in an article in the February 1956 issue of Boeing News, during Zipp’s tenure as chief engineer, “... the organization designed and produced numerous trainers, the X-100 attack bomber prototype, and then turned to all-out production of B-29s during World War II. After the war, [Zipp’s] division designed the L-15 Army recon plane and undertook modification of B-20s and B-50s, then moved into B-47 production."

In other professional capacities, Zipp served on various committees and the original Boeing Employees’ Credit Union Board of Directors, referred to by Zipp as "The Employees' Club." He also held officer positions in numerous industry associations and for a time edited the Stearman company newsletter.

In his personal life, Zipp was involved in many recreational and community service organizations and had an active social life with his wife, Pauline, and their son Stephen. Zipp died in 1991 at the age of 84 in Bellevue, Washington.


Boeing Public Relations Office. (February 23, 1956). "Holman, Zipp, Chavey reach quarter century of service." Boeing News, 15(8), 2.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Harold W. Zipp Collection

Identifier: 1992-11-12
Abstract Harold W. Zipp was an engineer at the Boeing Company for forty years. The collection documents his career, particularly his tenure in Wichita, Kansas, with diaries, photographs and other documents.

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