Defining the Future of Flight: 1997 -- present

Jeppesen Sanderson Inc.

Because we dared to dream, dared to work hard, we have turned dreams into realities, to leave some huge footprints on every aerospace frontier. Now it is time to create some new footprints!
-- Phil Condit

In September 2000, Boeing purchased Jeppesen Sanderson Inc., a leading provider of aeronautical charts.

The company had been founded by Elrey Borge Jeppesen, who started out as a barnstormer during the 1920s and flew with Varney Airlines, part of the Boeing corporation. Later he flew with Boeing Air Transport as an airmail pilot to fly the Salt Lake City, Utah, to Cheyenne, Wyo. and Salt Lake City to Oakland, Calif., routes. At $50 a week and 14 cents a mile, this route was the highest paying and the most dangerous.

With no aeronautical charts available, many pilots used road maps for navigation. When visibility was limited, they often followed the railroad tracks, which they called "hugging the UP" (Union Pacific). Jeppesen recorded field lengths, slopes, drainage patterns and information on lights and obstacles. He also included drawings that profiled terrain and airport layouts and noted phone numbers of local farmers who could provide weather reports. On his days off, Jeppesen climbed hills, smokestacks and water towers, using an altimeter to record accurate elevations.

Other pilots were constantly asking him for his navigational information. The requests became so frequent that Jeppesen began offering copies of his book for $10. Many pilots collected additional data on their own routes and reported it back so he could add to his growing collection of airport and route information.

Jeppesen also tested the new radio navigational aids and developed ways to use the technology for improving point-to-point navigation and also began designing instrument approach procedures, using the information he had gathered on airports throughout the Northwest. These procedures were documented on his instrument approach charts, the only source in the country for this type of information.

In the late 1930s, Varney Airlines, Boeing Air Transport and several other companies merged to become United Airlines. United decided to use Jeppesen's charts throughout their organization, becoming one of the first airlines to subscribe to his early Airway Manual Service. The chart business took off.

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