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Richard “Dick” McFarland, BS ’50, received his bachelor’s of science degree in mathematics from Ohio University in 1950. He also holds master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Ohio State University.
McFarland returned to Ohio University in 1962 as a member of the electrical engineering faculty, and the following year founded the Avionics Engineering Center, the only center of its kind in the United States, specializing in research, development, and evaluation of electronic navigation, communication, and surveillance systems. McFarland went on to work with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NASA, the armed services, and private industry, as well as publishing extensively. He currently serves as chief engineer and director emeritus of the Avionics Engineering Center.
McFarland’s pioneering research helped the development of mathematical models for predicting performance of Instrument Landing System (ILS). An active pilot with more than 18,000 hours as pilot in command, he has been active in researching and developing air navigation and landing systems throughout his career.
McFarland is a fellow in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and a member of the American Society of Engineering Education and the National Association of Flight Instructors, as well as several honor societies, including Tau Beta Phi, Phi Beta Kappa, Eta Kappa Nu, and Sigma Xi.
The recipient of numerous awards, McFarland was honored with the FAA’s Distinguished Service Medal in 1989 and Excellence in Aviation award in 1997. He was given the Laurel Award from Aviation Week in 1989, and in 2000, received the Hays Award from the Institute of Navigation.