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Obituaries in the News

September 11, 2005

Jack Real

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Aviation pioneer Jack Real, who helped develop the Apache helicopter and authored a book on his friendship with reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, died Sept. 6. He was 90.

Real died of heart failure at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, longtime companion Betty O’Connor said Saturday. He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease and had been hospitalized for nearly a year.

Real was a vice president for Lockheed Martin Corp. and headed Hughes’ helicopter division before becoming president and CEO of McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co.

In 2003, he published the book, ``The Asylum of Howard Hughes,″ which detailed his 20-year friendship with Hughes, including his efforts to arrange a flight to carry an ailing Hughes from Mexico to a Houston hospital in 1976. Hughes died en route.

Real went to work for Lockheed, where he helped design, develop and test the B-14 Hudson Bomber and the Cheyenne helicopter, among other aircraft.

As Lockheed’s chief engineer of research, development and testing, he worked on projects at Southern Nevada’s mysterious Area 51. He also was the flight engineer in charge of the first flight of the C-130 Hercules in the early 1950s. The cargo vehicle is still used for U.S. military transport.

With Real at the helm, Hughes Helicopters received the Robert J. Collier trophy in 1983, American aviation’s highest honor for aeronautics. Real later became chief operating officer of McDonnell Douglas Helicopter. He retired in 1987.

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