Business: Queen Lear

Family fight over a new Jet

Even in death William Powell Lear is still generating turbulence. As the holder of 126 patents, Lear made a fortune and, amid considerable bitterness, bailed out of two of his most ambitious ventures. In 1962 he left Lear, Inc. after the board of directors turned down his demands that the aircraft-instrumentation firm build jets. In 1967, when sales initially failed to take off, he sold Lear Jet Industries Inc. to the Gates Rubber Co. Two years before he died of leukemia in 1978 at age 75, Lear started a new firm, LearAvia, in Reno, to manufacture...

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