Ernest H. METZGER died January 17, 2015, at age 91.
Bell Geospace’s Full Tensor Gravity Gradient Survey capability is possible directly due to Mr Metzger’s invention. He was employed at Bell Aircraft/Aerospace for 39 years, rising to Executive Director of Engineering with particular expertise in developing inertial instruments and gravity gradiometer systems.
James Brewster, Senior Engineer of Bell Geospace today, paid tribute saying “We all owe a debt to him as the man who conceived the idea of the rotating disk gravity gradiometer and led the program that made it happen. He got a lot of things right when he designed the GGI. Nobody has yet invented a better mobile gravity gradiometer.”
Born in Nurnberg, Germany of parents Paul Arthur and Charlotte Babette (Kahn) Metzger, Earnest emigrated to the U.S. in 1939 and was naturalized in 1943. After serving three years with the U.S. Army in Europe in the combat engineers and in intelligence he received a B.S. degree from CCNY in 1949 and a M.S. from Harvard University in 1950.
Ernest’s work was held in high regard by his peers; he was the recipient of the Aerospace Pioneer Award, Niagara Frontier Section, AIAA 1977 and Thurlow Award for Outstanding Contribution to Scientific Navigation 1987. He was named to the Niagara Frontier Aviation Hall of Fame 1992.
Away from work, Ernest was twice elected Chairman of the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo. He was an enthusiastic tennis player, skier, canoeist and hiker with his wife and family.