Pratt & Whitney and Frontier Airlines (“Frontier”) today revealed “Edward the Bald Eagle,” the airline’s third GTF-powered A321neo featuring Pratt & Whitney’s hallmark bald eagle on the tail. The engine manufacturer’s employees named the plane after the late Edward Hall, one of the first African American military aviators trained as a bombardier and navigator and a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Following his military service, Hall spent a 33-year career at Pratt & Whitney, retiring as a metallurgist in 1983.
“The Tuskegee Airmen were among the most talented and decorated U.S. World War II pilots, yet they returned from distinguished military service only to face a battle for desegregation and equality at home,” said Earl Exum, vice president of Mature Commercial Engines at Pratt & Whitney – a member of the company’s Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board and chair of the steering committee that will bring a marquee Tuskegee Airmen exhibit to the New England Air Museum this summer. “Aviation pioneers like Hall have been the talent and intelligence behind decades of groundbreaking engines at Pratt & Whitney. We believe diversity and inclusion are differentiators for creativity and innovation, so it is moving to see his heroism, life and legacy honored in this way.”
Hall earned a physics degree from Virginia State University and carried out graduate work at the RCA Institute in New York before joining Pratt & Whitney’s Hartford, Conn. headquarters in 1950. During that time, Hall witnessed the development and evolution of many of the company’s remarkable engines for both military and civilian aircraft. Technological advancements in this era included the air-cooled radial Wasp engines; gas turbines like the J57, the first engine in the U.S. with more than 10,000 pounds of thrust; the F100 turbofan, which has powered decades of national defense; the PT6 turboprop, on which general aviation and many helicopters have been built; and the JT3D turbofan, which ushered in the jet age with the Boeing 707.
“We are extremely proud that our newest A321neo features a bald eagle on its tail named for the late Edward Hall, who valiantly served our country as a Tuskegee Airman, achieved remarkable professional success following his military career, and helped break barriers for African Americans through his advocacy and leadership,” said Barry Biffle, president and CEO, Frontier Airlines. “This latest A321neo to join the Frontier fleet is powered by the groundbreaking Pratt & Whitney GTF engines and their innovative sustainability benefits which are helping to support our mission as America’s Greenest Airline.”
In recognition of the companies’ relationship, Frontier asked Pratt & Whitney employees to name the first three of the airline’s 144 A320neo family aircraft powered by GTF engines. The first plane was named “Frederick the Bald Eagle” in honor of the company's founder Frederick B. Rentschler, and the second was named “Maria the Bald Eagle,” after Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Maria Della Posta, the company’s first female president and a pioneer in sustainable aviation.