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Subject: John McLucas, Leader of Air Force

Dies at 82
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Date Posted: December 04, 2002 3:10:35 EDT

John Luther McLucas, an electronics engineer in aviation and space technology who led the Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration and several companies, died on Sunday in Alexandria, Va. He was 82.

He had prolonged heart problems, Bill Brobst, a friend and colleague, told The Associated Press.

Dr. McLucas served in the Defense Department in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations as a senior official in research and engineering of tactical warfare programs. He also spent time as assistant secretary general for scientific affairs at NATO headquarters in Europe in the mid-1960's.

He returned to the private sector in 1966 as president of the Mitre Corporation, a not-for-profit systems analysis and research organization in Bedford, Mass.

The Nixon administration recalled him to be chief scientist and under secretary of the Air Force in 1969. He rose to the secretary's job in 1973 and served until 1975. Among the problems he faced were delays and ballooning costs in the development and construction of the B-1 bomber.

He was administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration under President Gerald R. Ford until 1977, when he became president of Comsat General, a subsidiary of the Communications Satellite Corporation. He became president of Comsat's world systems division in 1980.

In 1983, he became chief strategic officer of Comsat's parent organization. He retired in 1985.

Born in Fayetteville, N.C., John McLucas graduated from Davidson College in 1941, received a master of science degree from Tulane University in 1943 and his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 1948. He was a naval officer in World War II.

He held several jobs in private industry, including one as chief executive of Questech Inc. of McLean, Va. He was also associated with the Arthur B. Clarke Institute in Washington.

He wrote "Space Commerce" (Harvard University Press, 1991), about projects like communications satellites and space laboratories.

Dr. McLucas's survivors include his wife of 21 years, Harriet Black McLucas; and two daughters and two sons from a previous marriage, Pamela Byers of San Francisco, Susan McLucas of Boston, John C., of Baltimore, and Roderick K., of Manhattan.

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