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Ellis R. Spaulding, 86, of Clarence, an aeronautical engineer who helped develop a fighter airplane used in World War II and Korea, died of heart failure March 15, 1998, in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst.

Spaulding, a native of New Hampshire, worked in the Flight Research Department of Calspan Corp. and its predecessor, Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, from 1950 to 1973 in the areas of flight testing, aircraft stability and control, and variable stability aircraft. He participated in the development of a low-speed airspeed indicator for use in helicopters. He retired in 1974.

Spaulding also worked for Reeve Corp. in 1948-49 and was an engineer aerodynamist with Chance-Vought Aircraft Co. from 1937 to 1948. There he was a member of the engineering team that designed the F4U Corsair fighter airplane, which was used in World War II and the Korean War. He later supervised flight test planning and worked to advance the field of flight test instrumentation.

Spaulding also was on the teaching staff at Worcester Polytechnic Institute from 1932 to 1936, after graduating with distinction from the institute in 1932 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.

He was chairman of the School Sites Committee during the 1950s and 1960s for the Clarence Board of Education. He also was a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for 64 years.

Other memberships included the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, Sigma Phi scientific research society and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He was a sustaining member of the Republican National Committee.

Spaulding enjoyed woodworking, mechanics, model railroading, inventing, and spending summers in New Hampshire.

Surviving are two sons, Col. David E., presently stationed with the Army in Korea, and Thomas R. of Temple Hills, Md.; two daughters, Deborah Smith of Homer, Ark., and Miriam Drew of Lockport; and six grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Friday in St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Clarence. Burial will be in Keene, N.H.

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