Hydra-Electric History



Our timeline spans the advance of modern aviation, with landmark developments in commercial travel, military/defense and space exploration.

  • 1948

    Company Founded

    – Hydra-Electric is founded, and invents the first negative rate disc spring. Fuel tank valves are Hydra’s first products.

  • 1950


    – Lockheed becomes Hydra-Electric’s first switch customer.

  • 1952


    – Hydra’s hydraulic pressure switches are utilized on the B-52.

  • 1954

    Boeing 707

    – Boeing purchases Hydra’s switches for the fuel and pneumatic systems of its first jet airliner, the Boeing 707.

  • 1955

    Lockheed U2

    – Lockheed selects Hydra-Elecctric for the U2, its reconnaissance aircraft nicknamed “the Dragon Lady”.

  • 1958

    Gulfstream I

    – Hydra-Electric is selected to provide all the pressure switches on the Grumman Gulfstream I, a twin turbo-pop business aircraft.

  • 1961


    – Hydra-Electric develops switches for the Atlas launch vehicle, part of NASA’s Mercury project for human spaceflight in which John Glenn was the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth.

  • 1963

    Dassault, Learjet

    – Hydra-Electric products are selected by two pioneering business jet programs – Dassault Falcon 20 and Learjet 23.

  • 1969

    Saturn V Rocket

    – Switches from Hydra-Electric are utilized on the Saturn V rocket used to transport Neil Armstrong and all the other astronauts to the moon. The Company’s products are used as part of the fuel and pneumatic systems, and also as part of the “chicken switches” (devices that allow an astronaut to eject the capsule in which he or she rides in the event that a rocket malfunctions).

  • 1970

    Boeing 747

    – The first wide body jumbo jet, the Boeing 747 incorporates hydraulic and fuel flow switches from Hydra-Electric.

  • 1974

    F-14 Tomcat

    – Hydra-Electric supplies pressure switches for the Grumman F-14 Tomcat.

  • 1975

    Patriot Missile

    – Company’s switch technology is utilized on the Raytheon Patriot Missile (which derived its name from “Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept On Target”).

  • 1975

    AH-64 Apache

    – Hydra’s switches are selected for the Army’s AH-64 Apache – a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter still in use today.

  • 1981

    F-117A Nighthawk

    – Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk program incorporates Hydra-Electric’s products for its stealth ground-attack aircraft.