Peter Sandretto


Peter Sandretto
Pont Canavese, Italy
Associated organizations
Bell Labs, United States Air Force
Fields of study
Air traffic control


Peter C. Sandretto (IRE Associate, 1930; Member 1940; Senior Member, 1943; and Fellow, 1954) was born in Pont Canavese, Italy on 14 April 1907. He received the B.S. and E.E. degrees from Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, in 1930 and 1938, respectively. He also graduated from the Army's Command and Staff School, and performed graduate work at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

In 1930, Sandretto began his career in aeronautical electronics as a member of the technical staff of Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he was engaged in the design of some of the first radio equipment for commercial transports. While Head of the Communications Laboratory of United Air Lines Transport Corp., from 1932 to 1942, he participated in the early air traffic control efforts.

During World War II, he served with the United States Air Force as Assistant Chief of the Radar Division, Headquarters, Army Air Force; as U.S. Signal Liaison Officer in the Air Ministry, London, England; as Chief of the Electronics Test Section, Air Proving Ground Command, Elgin, Florida; and as Chief of the Electronics Division, Army Air Force's Pacific Ocean Areas, where his staff section was responsible for the establishment of the Air Force's traffic control system for the Twentieth Air Force. In 1962, he held the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

In 1946, Sandretto joined the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation's Aviation Department and attended many meetings of the International Civil Aviation Organizations, which were concerned with air navigation and traffic control facilities. He served on committees of the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics since its inception and was a member of Special Committee 31, which established the common system for air navigation and traffic control. He became Technical Director and Vice President of IT&T Laboratories, in 1954 and 1956, respectively. In 1962, he was Deputy Executive of IT&T's U.S. Defense Group, Nutley, New Jersey.

During his career, Sandretto wrote and lectured extensively in many parts of the world on the subject of air navigation and traffic control, and consequently was internationally recognized for his work in this field. In 1958, he was Honorary (Keynote) speaker at the Ausschuss fur Funkortung in Berlin, Germany. He wrote Principles of Aeronautical Radio Engineering, first published in 1942, and Electronic Navigation Engineering.

In 1962, Sandretto was a Fellow of the IRE; a member of Eta Kappa Nu and the Institute of Navigation; and an Associate Member of the IEE.

Further Reading

Peter Sandretto Oral History