Gerald Corning, 66, a retired professor in the aerospace engineering department of the University of Maryland, died Wednesday at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda after a heart attack. He was stricken while playing tennis.

Prof. Corning, who was born in Brooklyn, earned a bachelor's degree in science at New York University. During World War II, he worked in the aircraft industry in New York. He later moved to Seattle, where he worked for the Boeing company and was one of those assigned to preliminary designs of what became the Boeing 707 jet transport.

In 1948, he moved to the Washington area and joined the faculty at Maryland, earned a master's degree at Catholic University, and continued to teach at Maryland until his retirement in 1980. Since then, he had been a consultant to the Naval Ship Research and Development Center.

Prof. Corning, who lived in Silver Spring, was the author of two noted books in his field. "Supersonic and Subsonic Airplane Design," published in 1960, and "Aerospace Vehicle Design," which appeared four years later.

He was a Fulbright Fellow at Todai University in Tokyo in 1968, and taught at the Technion in Haifa, Israel, the following year. He was invited to China in 1974 and lectured at the Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics in Peking.

Survivors include his wife, Helen, and two daughters, Jane Coming and Beth Corning-Faulconer, all of Silver Spring.