Robert B. Hotz, longtime editor and then publisher of the influential magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology, died Thursday of complications from Parkinson's disease at a hospital in Frederick, Md. He was 91.
An expert on arms-control and disarmament issues, Hotz was appointed by President Reagan to the General Advisory Committee of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He served in that capacity throughout both of Reagan's terms in office and during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.
After the 1986 Challenger accident, Reagan named Hotz to the presidential commission investigating NASA's space shuttle program.
A native of Milwaukee, Hotz graduated from Northwestern University in 1936 and, upon graduation, went to work as a reporter for the Paris Herald Tribune.
In 1938, he became New York bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal, a post he held until the U.S. entered World War II.
Commissioned as a captain in the Army Air Forces in 1942, Hotz served in China in a B-25 bomber combat command and on the staff of Gen. Claire Chennault, who organized and commanded the legendary Flying Tigers.
After the war, he worked for Aviation News and with Pratt & Whitney Corp. before becoming editor of Aviation Week & Space Technology in 1955.
Despite the limitations of reporting from the Soviet bloc during the Cold War, the magazine became known over the next several decades for its consistently well-informed coverage of Soviet, European and American aerospace developments.
As an editorial writer, Hotz was both a booster and an outspoken critic of the American space program, from the creation of NASA and the Apollo-era race to the moon, to the design and launch of the space shuttle fleet.
After leaving the magazine in 1980, he retired to Rams Horn Farm in Myersville, Md., where he raised Angus cattle and peacocks.
Hotz was the author of four books, including "With General Chennault: The Story of the Flying Tigers." He also edited Chennault's memoirs
He is survived by his wife, Joan Willison Hotz; four sons, George, Michael, Robert Lee -- a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times -- and Harry; a sister, Peggy Diehl of Philadelphia; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Instead of flowers the family suggests contributions to the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, Center for Space Education, Mail Code AMF, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899.