Barry Latter oral history interview



Barry Latter oral history interview


Born-digital video recording of an oral history with Barry Latter and interviewer Dan Hagedorn, recorded as part of The Museum of Flight Oral History Program, October 28, 2015.


Aeronautical engineerBarry Latteris interviewed about his decade-spanning career in the aviation industry. He describes his education in propulsion engineering and his early work experiences during the 1950s and 1960s with the Blackburn and General Aircraft Companyandthe Hawker Siddeley Group. He then discusses his emigration to the United States from England and his subsequent career with the Boeing Company, where he worked on the 747, 757, 767, and 737 Next Generation. The interview concludes with an overview of Latter’s major career contributions, his thoughts on Boeing’s past and future, and his experiences as a docent at The Museum of Flight.

Table Of Contents

Introduction and personal background -- Early aviation memories -- Growing up in England during World War II -- Pursuing an aviation career -- Experiences at the Blackburn and General Aircraft Company -- Engineering challenges with the Blackburn Beverley and Buccaneer -- Courtship -- First solo flight -- Impact of being a pilot on his career as an aeronautical engineer -- Graduate studies at Cranfield University and marriage to Susan -- Engineering work with Rolls-Royce and an offer from Boeing -- Move to Seattle, Washington and career at Boeing -- Thoughts on Boeing’s past and future -- Major career contributions and career overview -- Favorite aircraft -- Docent experiences at The Museum of Flight




1 recording (1 hr., 32 min., 34 sec.) : digital



Bibliographic Citation

The Museum of Flight Oral History Collection/The Museum of Flight




Biographical Text

BarryCharlesLatteris a retired aeronautical engineer who had a decade-spanning career with Boeing and other aviation companies.He was born on July 9, 1938 in Coulsdon, England to Edgar Charles Latter and Kitty Latter (née Sinclair). His father served with the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, and the family moved frequently around the United Kingdom for his father’s assignments.

Growing up near airfields inspired Latter to pursue his own career in aviation. In 1953, he applied for a Royal Air Force Cadetship but did not make the final cut of applicants. Around this same time, he joined the Hull branch of the Royal Aeronautical Societyas a student member. After completing high school, he was accepted into a five-year apprenticeship program for general aeronautical engineering at Blackburn and General Aircraft, Limited (Brough, England). During his time at Blackburn, he helped solve engineering challenges with the Blackburn Beverly and Buccaneer aircraft. He completed his apprenticeship in 1960, then went on to graduate studies at the College of Aeronautics (now Cranfield University). After completing his master’s degree, he returned to Blackburn, which had since been absorbed into the Hawker SiddeleyGroup. His propulsion engineering work at this time included developing a way to match engines to aircraft based on thermodynamiccharacteristics.

In 1965, Latter accepted a job offer from the Boeing Company, and he and his family relocated to Washington State. He initially worked on engine design and development for the 747 and afterwards worked on the 757, 767, and 737 Next Generation. He retired in 2000 as Chief Engineer.

After his retirement, Latter joined the Docent Corps at The Museum of Flight (Seattle, Washington). He was still an active volunteer as of 2015.

Latter married his wife, Susan, in 1962.

Biographical information derived from interview and additional information provided by interviewee.