Archie Trammell, Jr., a renowned aviation journalist, safety advocate, and weather radar expert, died on February 5. He was 89. Born on October 23, 1928, in Corpus Christi, Texas, Trammell long had a passion for aviation, receiving Army Air Corps training during World War II. He subsequently became a mechanic and joined the U.S. Coast Guard, where he went to Loran school and first learned about radar on the job. Following his service, he earned degrees in aircraft maintenance engineering and journalism and became a commercial pilot.
He first returned to mechanic work, performing maintenance on DC-6s and -7s for American Airlines, before stepping into journalism. While working for a newspaper in Stockton, California, he wrote a few articles for Flying Magazine, eventually joining the publication as senior editor. Trammell later moved over to take the role of editor-in-chief for Business and Commercial Aviation. He had become an award-winning journalist, including receiving a nod from the Aviation/Space Writers Association for his article “Weather Accidents.”
In the late 1970s, he left BCA to join Bendix, where he continued to build his knowledge of radar, helping to develop and test radar systems. After a short stint with Bendix, he founded his own radar-training firm, AJT, in 1979, and became known for his weather radar seminars, lectures, and video programs.
He brought that expertise to AOPA as executive director of the Air Safety Foundation from 1981 to 1983, where he published bimonthly Air Safety Journals.
Returning to his business, Trammell became a leading expert on proper use of weather radar and flying procedures. NBAA in 2006 recognized Trammell’s contribution to safety with its Award for Meritorious Service to Aviation, calling him a “widely sought-after safety consultant whose lectures…have been used to train pilots who fly the U.S. President and other high government officials, as well as the crews of more than 4,000 business flight departments.”
"Countless numbers of pilots have benefited from Archie's understanding of how to make the most effective use of cockpit weather-avoidance and other instruments," said Ken Emerick, then chairman of the board of directors for NBAA, in announcing the award. "The business aviation community owes Archie a debt of gratitude for his decades-long commitment to promoting equipment and techniques that improve flight safety, and NBAA is proud to honor him with our highest award."
Over his career, Trammell wrote numerous safety articles, published a free website, produced training manuals, and authored a book on safe flying. He is survived by his wife, Mary, and three children.