Gene has been active in aviation since he was 11 years old. That is when he built his first model airplane. In high school, he had a part-time drafting job designing parts for an experimental helicopter. Before it flew, Gene had enlisted in the US Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet and graduated a full fledged P-47 Fighter Pilot. After the war, he taught flight instruction in southern Michigan. In 1951, he graduated from the Aeronautical University with a degree in aeronautical engineering. For several years he was a design engineer for Bell Helicopter Corp., Beech Aircraft, and Convair. In1958 he joined the Federal Aviation Agency, later to become the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). After 20 years as an aerospace engineer and aircraft certification manager, he returned to the private sector as an FAA Coordinator and Consultant with Eurocopter Helicopter Corporation in Grand Prairie, Texas . From 1958 on, his spare time was spent designing and building 14 different airplanes. The T-40 Series Folding-Wing Sport Plane has been the most successful with many built. The T-40 series is discussed in the Section Turner Airplanes. In 1981 Gene designed and developed a twin boom pusher ultralight airplane Model T-100. The airplane was successful, and constructed plans were marketed, however, with liability concerns of the time construction plans were recalled. All plans were returned except two; one set in Japan, and the other set in Italy. The T-100 in Italy was probably built.
In 2006 the rights to the T-100D Mariah was purchased by Adams Aviation in Dallas, Georgia. Construction plans are now available from them It was in 1958 when Gene started designing a single place airplane that he could store in his garage. The criteria for the airplane included ease of flying, stable, all wood construction, and simple enough that he could build it himself. The finished airplane flew on his 36th birthday in !961. In 1962 his T-40 was awarded 2nd place in the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) competition for a folding wing airplane. (See EAA's Sport Aviation Magazine, July 1965 for details.) The design was popular, but many potential builders wanted a two-place airplane. As a result the Model T-40A two place series airplanes were created.
GENE TURNER, AUTHOR
Gene always wanted to share some of his outstanding experiences in flying, working in FAA, and design engineering. In 2000 he fulfilled this ambition by publishing his book, Fabulous Affairs With Aircraft and Federal Aviation Airheads. The book is discussed in the Section CAVU Books
Gene after the first flight of the Turner Model T-40A/B Mojave Airport 1969.
(It was the only airplane operating
from the Mojave Airport at the time.