I met Ed Fleury at an East Hartford Chamber of Commerce event at Hoffman Ford. I was introduced to Ed by
“You have to meet Ed,” Anne told me. “He is a very interesting guy.” Ed and I chatted for a while and when Ed told me about his work on the NASA Mercury program in the 1960s, and that he was still working as a consultant for Pratt and Whitney, I asked him if he would share his story with Manchester Patch.
Timothy Becker: How did you get the opportunity to work on the Mercury space program in the 1960s?
Edward Fleury: I was born and raised on a farm and at age 18, I joined the Air Force. I scored very high in mathematics and electronics on the military assessment test and I was assigned to take a 42 week school in Denver, Colorado to become an instrumentation airman. Upon graduation I was assigned to the Air Force Missile Development Center (AFMDC). My duties included training chimps for use in space flights. We taught them to play tic-tac-toe. They are very smart. The chimps named Ham and Enos both made sub-orbital flights. Enos was the more difficult chimp to deal with. One on the chimps wound up in the Washington D.C. Zoo. The chimp colony was eventually disbanded in the mid 1960s.
Timothy Becker: What else did you do in the Air Force?
Edward Fleury: I worked with the facet eye camera which had twenty-five television cameras mounted together to track the Soviet satellite Sputnik as well as the Echo 1A which was a U.S. metallic space balloon, communications satellite.
Timothy Becker: How did you start working for Pratt and Whitney?
Edward Fleury: After I completed my service with the Air Force, I saw a sign in Moores, New York advertising jobs at Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford, Connecticut. I contacted them and I was invited to an interview. They hired me as a turret lathe operator. After two weeks I gave my notice because I didn't like the job. They told me not to quit and assigned me to the experimental hanger as an instrumental technician. The first flying test bed was a B-17. We then used a B-45 as a test airplane and lowered the test engine from the bomb bays to test it. I worked testing engines on a B-52 for 13 years. We worked at Bradley Airport until 1979 when the hurricane struck. In 1980 flight testing was eliminated due to the overhead cost. That is when I went into instrument engineering.
Timothy Becker: What happened next?
Edward Fleury: In 1981 I got a call “Ed we need you in France tomorrow.” I was sent to Airbus to solve instrument problems on the A300. I am still working with Airbus as a consultant for Pratt and Whitney.
Timothy Becker: What other counties have you been sent to?
Edward Fleury: I have been in Yagutz, Siberia for cold weather testing at minus 52 degrees and to Santiago, Chili for high altitude testing. I also have worked in Moscow, Russia, Berlin, Germany, LaPaz, Bolivia, and Quebec, Canada.
Timothy Becker: What do you look for during a test flight?
Edward Fleury: My primary role is to see to it that the instrumentation is working properly during the test flight. Now I am working as the program coordinator on-site for each specific test flight.
Timothy Becker: I understand that you also are a realtor for Anne Miller. How did you get started in real estate.
Edward Fleury: I buy a lot of real estate with my sister and brother-in-law. We currently own 27 apartment units in New York state. I was always interested in real estate as an investor. You can make an eight to ten percent return in real estate. I was laid off for a period of time in 2008, so I took the real estate course at Manchester Community College and passed the state exam to become a realtor.
Timothy Becker: Do you have a special interest area that you work in as a realtor?
Edward Fleury: I primarily work with first time home buyers. They need to see more houses than other buyers, so I work with one person at a time. I apply my full real estate energy to help them find a home that meets their requirements
Timothy Becker: Do you have any plans for retirement?
Edward Fleury: No I don't. I do not see myself ever not doing real estate. I am now getting my real estate license in New York. Eventually I would like to get my broker's license here in Connecticut.