Milton D. Sills Dies at 69
At the Cessna Aircraft Co. in Wichita (KS) they simply called
him "Mr. Citation."
Milton Sills died of cancer Thursday at 69. "We have lost a man
who has contributed greatly to the heritage of Cessna, and all of
his teammates have lost one of their best friends," Meyer said.
"He not only made the first test flight on the original
Citation, but he provided the vision, leadership and enthusiasm for
the development of every Citation model," said Cessna's chairman,
Sills twice won the coveted Robert J. Collier Trophy from the
National Aeronautic Association. In 1986, he received it for the
original Citation's outstanding safety record. He received it again
in 1996 when Sills himself piloted a Citation X (right) to a
speed of Mach 0.92.
"That's what the license plate on his Firebird TransAm says,
'Mach 92,' " said Kaysi Cook, Sills' oldest granddaughter.
an avid University of Kansas sports fan, graduated from KU in 1955
with a degree in mechanical engineering.
His aviation career began with a three-year stint as a Navy
aviator. He worked as a B-52 test pilot for Boeing in Wichita and
as an F-4 test flight engineer for McDonnell Aircraft before coming
to Cessna in 1965 as an engineering test pilot.
He worked his way through a series of engineering and flight
test jobs there, eventually becoming senior vice president for
product engineering. He received numerous awards and honors during
his career and served on the Ozark Christian College board of
trustees in Joplin (MO).
"His hallmark is his tremendous leadership. Milt always had an
excellent balance of compassion for people. He was almost
protective of the people who worked for him," said Charlie Johnson,
president of Cessna, who described Sills as one of the best
engineers he ever met.