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The Extraordinary Legacy Of Roy LoPresti

He helped send men to the moon, then became one of America’s great plane designers. Now, his sons are working to fulfill the dream he left unfinished.

Roy LoPresti poses alongside one of the many aircraft he designed over the years. He moved to Vero Beach in 1987 but died five years later, just as he was about to realize his greatest dream.

Roy LoPresti poses alongside one of the many aircraft he designed over the years. He moved to Vero Beach in 1987 but died five years later, just as he was about to realize his greatest dream.

The astronaut’s voice came through with surprising clarity, considering that he was more than 238,000 miles from Earth: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind …”

Among the 500 million people who watched Neil Armstrong take that first tentative step on the moon on June 20, 1969, was a tall, 40-year-old Italian-American named LeRoy (Roy) LoPresti. Roy’s interest was a good deal more personal than most of the viewers for it was he, along with a few dedicated colleagues, who had designed the Eagle, the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) that had carried Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin from the command ship Columbia to the moon’s surface.

Read the entire article in the April 2011 issue