Leonard Michael Greene is the inventor of a number of devices that are of integral importance in modern aviation. Born in New York City in 1918, he received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the City University of New York.
Greene's most significant invention is the aircraft stall warning device. Inaviation, a stall means something very different than it does in an automobile, where it refers to an engine shutdown. In an aircraft, a stall indicates that the airflow over the wings is no longer sufficient to provide lift -- essentially, a stalled wing ceases to function. This happens a low airspeeds, such as may occur during an excessively steep climb, and the consequences can be disastrous. In the early part of the twentieth century, stalls were a leading cause of aviation deaths, and Greene himself saw a stall fatality and realized the pilot had no way of knowing what was happening. Forming a corporation in White Plains for production of aircraft equipment, he invented a devicein 1946 that warns pilots of an impending stall, and no modern airplane can legally be without one. Greene's company, the Safe Flight Instrument Corporation, now produces numerous other aircraft safety equipment in addition to thestall warning device.
In recognition of his singular contributions to aviation safety, the NationalBusiness Aircraft Association awarded Greene their 1996 Award for Meritorious Service to Aviation. Some of Greene's other major contributions to modern aviation are the development of wind shear warning devices, as well as theoretical work on supersonic travel and aircraft. He remains the president of thecompany he founded in 1946.