Covington, Wayne Reinhart (1920-1999)

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 6/29/1999
  • Essay 1442

Wayne Reinhart Covington was a noted Boeing engineer whose 45-year career included work on B-17 Flying Fortress, Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile, and on the Saturn V rocket that launched the Apollo moon missions.

Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, on December 29, 1920, Wayne Covington developed an early interest in aeronautics and took his mechanical engineering degree at Georgia Tech. He worked on the B-17 from 1943 to 1946 in Seattle before returning to Texas to teach and earn his master's degree.

After doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Covington returned to Seattle and Boeing. He applied his skills to a wide range of projects, including the B-47 Stratojet bomber, Minuteman ICBM, Saturn V SIC booster, special 747 adaptations to ferry the Space Shuttle, and the Inertial Upper Stage booster. Former astronaut and NASA director Deke Slayton honored Covington's contributions to the Apollo program with the "Silver Snoopy" award.

Covington retired in 1988, shortly after the death of his first wife, Phyllis Jean Covington (1922-1987), one of the first women to serve on the Seattle Police force. On May 5, 1999, he succumbed to cancer.


The Seattle Times, May 11, 1999; Walt Crowley Telephone Interview with Cameron Covington, 1999.

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