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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    CONTACT: John Blacksten


    AIAA Mourns the Death of Past President Sam F. Iacobellis

    September 20, 2016 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) mourns the death of Sam F. Iacobellis, AIAA Honorary Fellow, and president of the Institute from 1998 to 1999, former B-1 Lancer bomber program manager, and former executive vice president and deputy chairman of Rockwell International. He was 87 years old.

    “Sam Iacobellis’ vision, leadership, and managerial acumen made the B-1 bomber program possible,” said AIAA President Jim Maser “While we mourn his passing, we thank him for all he did to enhance the national security of our nation, and for all he did for the Institute during his tenure as AIAA president. His energy, passion, and wisdom will be sorely missed by our community.”

    Iacobellis began his career as a draftsman in 1952 at the North American Aviation Company (NAAC), soon after graduating from California State University, Fresno, where he also played on the school’s football team. While at NAAC, Iacobellis became an engineering supervisor attached to the company’s Saber jet engine modification program. In 1967, Rockwell International acquired NAAC. After the merger, Iacobellis became head of Rockwell’s B-1 Lancer bomber program. Iacobellis led the B-1 program through numerous political obstacles, including cancellation by President Jimmy Carter, before its renewal by President Ronald Reagan, with the first bombers entering service in 1984. During his tenure at Rockwell, Iacobellis also headed the company’s rocket engine and space shuttle business units. He retired from the company as executive vice president and deputy chairman in 1995.


    About AIAA
    is the largest aerospace professional society in the world, serving a diverse range of more than 30,000 individual members from 88 countries, and 95 corporate members. AIAA members help make the world safer, more connected, more accessible, and more prosperous. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.



    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    12700 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200, Reston, VA 20191-5807
    Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551