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Elrey as a youth, dreaming about flying
Elrey B. Jeppesen

Elrey Borge Jeppesen (January 28, 1907 – November 26, 1996) was an aviation pioneer. He developed manuals and charts that allowed pilots worldwide to fly safely.

A graduate of the University of Denver, Jeppesen started in aviation by buying a Jenny and then an Alexander Eaglerock, and joined Tex Rankin's Flying Circus in Portland, Oregon. He went to Dallas and worked for Fairchild Aerial Surveys, photographing the Mississippi Delta surrounding New Orleans.

In 1930, he went to work for Varney in Portland, Oregon and then joined Boeing Air Transport as a co-pilot, he didn't get much flying time and he returned to Fairchild. Fairchild based him in Tampico, Mexico where he flew photographic mission to map that area of Mexico. When the Great Depression lifted, Jeppesen delivered mail in a Boeing 40B. Jeppesen realized that someone would have to develop flying charts to replace the road maps used by pilots. He realized someone had to be the collection center for aviation data. He compiled information on objects visible from the air. He designated landmarks, elevations of obstructions and airport runway information to help him on his mail runs. He designed en route procedures, approach procedures, missed approach procedures to be used when visibility was bad. After several pilots borrowed his information, he decided to print copies of the charts and allow pilots to buy the manual for $10 each. In 1936, he married Nadine Liscomb, a United Airlines stewardess and together they worked on the charts at their home in Salt Lake City. He moved to Denver in 1941, and rented office space to hold the expanding business. Jeppesen continued to fly for United Airlines while the manual business was growing.


World War II

During World War II, the US Navy adopted the "Jepp Charts" as its standard flight manual. Following the war, the newly-created United States Air Force and many commercial airlines also contracted for the manuals and air navigational charts. Jeppesen stayed with United Airlines until 1954. That year, he left the airline to concentrate on the chart business. In 1961, he sold his firm to the Times Mirror Publishing Company of Los Angeles but remained as president and later chairman of the board. Jeppesen Sanderson is now a worldwide company, selling flight information and navigation manuals.


Elrey Jeppesen died at his home in Colorado on November 26, 1996.


The main terminal at the Denver International Airport is named the Elrey B. Jeppesen Terminal in his honor. The Jeppesen company continues to exist today, currently as a subsidiary of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, which acquired the business in October 2000[1].

Aviation Accidents

Captain Jeppesen was involved in an overrun accident [2] at the Municipal Airport in Denver Colorado on June 10, 1941. While landing in a rainstorm, the United DC-3 aircraft overran the landing area, travelled through the airport boundary lights and into a 3 foot ditch where the right landing gear failed. None of the crew or 15 passengers was injured but the aircraft incurred major damage.



  1. ^ Historic timeline of the Jeppesen company.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Holmes, Charles W., Editor, Honoree Album of the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, The Colorado Aviation Historical Society, 1999, Audubon Media Corp., Audobon, IA.
  4. ^ The Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor, established by Oregon Department of Aviation in 2003, is located at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.


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