Meet Lew Wallick
Lew’s passion for flying started as a kid, watching barnstormers fly over his family’s Kansas farm.
Lew became a Naval Aviation Cadet in 1943, at age eighteen. He graduated in January 1945. Commissioned as a Naval Aviator and fighter pilot, he was assigned to fly F4U Corsairs.
After WWII ended, Lew obtained a degree in mechanical engineering from Kansas State University. His first job was with Beech Aircraft in Wichita as an engineer who did some experimental flight testing on the side. Two years later, in 1951, he went to work for Boeing, where he remained until he retired in 1986 as Chief Test Pilot and Director of Flight Test.
In 1953 Boeing sent Lew to the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. During this time, in addition to test flying Boeing’s military aircraft (B-47, B-52, KC-135) he became involved with the 367-80 (Dash-80), the 707 prototype. Tex Johnston checked him out as pilot on the Dash-80 in September 1956. Lew concentrated on flying Boeing's commercial jets, starting with the 707.
In July 1960 Lew was named project pilot for the 727. He was involved in the design of the cockpit, controls, and autopilot.
On February 9, 1963, Lew piloted the 727's first flight, with Dix Loesch as co-pilot and M. K. Shulenberger as flight engineer. Over his career, Lew also participated in first flights on the XB-47D, 707-320, 720, 737, 747SP, 757 and 767, as well as many derivatives of those models.
Flying was not just Lew’s job; it was his passion and filled many of his leisure hours. Lew helped restore a 1929 Boeing P-12 open cockpit biplane, flying in air shows for several years. It is now proudly on display in the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Lew also co-owned several small planes, including a Grumman Widgeon. After retiring, Lew rewarded himself with an amphibious Cessna 185 which he used to take family and friends fishing on remote lakes in British Columbia.
In 1983 Lew was honored with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Chanute Flight Award, a prestigious award (also given to Howard Hughes and Neil Armstrong) that recognizes an “outstanding contribution made by a pilot or test personnel to the advancement of the art, science, and technology of aeronautics.” In 1999 Lew was inducted into the Museum of Flight Pathfinder Hall of Fame.
Lew passed away on August 19, 2009. He was 85 years old.