McDonnell, James Smith, 1899–1980, American aviation pioneer, b. Denver, B.S. Princeton, 1921, M.S. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1925. He designed the Doodlebug (1929), a small monoplane, and worked with several aircraft companies before joining the Glenn L. Martin Co. (1933–38) and then founding the McDonnell Aircraft Corp. (1939). The company developed the FH Phantom fighter, the first jet airplane to land (1946) on a carrier, and the widely deployed (1960s–1990s) F-4 Phantom II jet fighter. It also produced the Mercury and Gemini space capsules for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and worked on the Apollo and Skylab programs. After the 1967 merger with the Douglas Aircraft Co., McDonnell became chairman (until his death) and chief executive officer (until 1972) of McDonnell Douglas Corp.
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