Distinguished Alumni Awards

Preston A. Henne

Preston A. Henne
To Preston A. Henne for his leadership in the field of advanced aerodynamics and his excellence in program management.

Senior Vice President for Programs, Engineering and Test; Vice President, General Dynamics

  • BS 1969, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • MS 1974, Engineering, California State University at Long Beach

 Preston A. Henne began his aerospace career in 1969 at McDonnell Douglas’ Long Beach Douglas Aircraft Facility, where he managed several advanced programs in aerodynamics and acoustics for both military and commercial aircraft. While at McDonnell Douglas, he was responsible for the aerodynamic design of the wing on the C-17, considered the most versatile aircraft in airlift history, and winner of the 1994 Collier Trophy (which is given annually to recognize the most outstanding achievement in aerospace and is the highest award in the industry). He was responsible for the development of the divergent trailing edge airfoil concept. In 1991, he became vice president and general manager of the MD-90 Program and oversaw the aircraft’s complete development and certification process.

Joining Gulfstream in 1994, Henne was responsible for the design, development, test, and certification of the Gulfstream V aircraft—the world’s first ultra-long range business jet aircraft—which was recognized with the Collier Trophy in 1997. He became vice president of General Dynamics in 1999 when the company acquired Gulfstream. In his current position, he is responsible for Gulfstream’s program management, engineering, and flight operations. His organization was responsible for the development of the Gulfstream G550—which was recognized with the Collier Trophy in 2003.

In 1981, Henne received the Department of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award. Eight years later, he received the Department’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, and he currently serves on the College of Engineering Innovation Leadership Advisory Board at Illinois.

In recognition of his many career achievements, Henne was elected as a Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2001, and this year, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 2003, Honeywell (a partner with Gulfstream in the development of the G550) established the Preston A. Henne Endowment in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “in recognition of the PlaneView vision for the Gulfstream G550 of Preston A. Henne, which has set new standards for integrated avionics systems and cockpits for future generation aircraft.”

Current as of 2005.