Frank Nicholas Piasecki


Frank Piasecki is one of the original pioneers of the U.S. Helicopter Industry with over 50 years experience as an aeronautical/mechanical engineer, test pilot, entrepreneur and industrialist.

Born in Philadelphia on 24 Oct. 1919, [died on Monday, February 11, 2008] Mr. Piasecki studied mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and in 1940 received a B.S. Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Guggenheim School of Aeronautics of New York University.

In 1940, Mr. Piasecki founded the PV-Engineering Forum and in 1943 flew the second successful helicopter in America, the PV-2. Mr. Piasecki was then awarded a contract for the development of the first U.S. Navy helicopter, the XHRP-1 "Dog Ship". This was the first successful tandem helicopter in the world. Designed, built and flown within thirteen months, the XHRP-1 had a useful load three times greater than any existing helicopter at the time. Mr. Piasecki's tandem helicopter design led to the first practical application of the helicopter to critical Naval missions, such as: search and rescue, anti-submarine warfare, and vertical replenishment, and pioneered the use of the helicopter for aerial minesweeping and vertical assault. In addition to the HRP-1, HRP-2, and HUP production models built for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, Piasecki produced hundreds of H-25 and H-21 tandem rotor helicopters for the U.S. Army and Air Force, as well as the Canadian and French armed forces. Mr. Piasecki also designed the World's largest transport helicopter and first twin turbine helicopter, the 40-passenger H 16, which technology contributed to the development of today's modern tandem transports: the CH-46 Sea Knight and the CH-47 Chinook.

In 1955, the Piasecki Helicopter Corporation, at the time the largest helicopter company in the world, became Vertol, which was later sold to become what is now the Helicopter Division of the Boeing Company. With this transition, Mr. Piasecki left the company to form the Piasecki Aircraft Corporation to continue research on advanced Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) technologies. These efforts resulted in the successful development and flight testing of many innovative experimental aircraft, such as: the "Sea-Bat" VTOL Drone; the "Aerial Geep", flying car; the "RingTail" high speed compound helicopter; and hybrid heavy lift aircraft. Mr. Piasecki has been awarded over 24 patents in the aerospace field.

In recognition of Mr. Piasecki's contributions to the development of the U.S. helicopter industry, President Reagan in 1986 awarded Mr. Piasecki the country's highest technical honor, the National Medal of Technology. Mr. Piasecki is a long standing Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, an honorary Fellow and past President of the American Helicopter Society and former member of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Mr. Piasecki has lectured before leading U.S. and International technical societies, and has given expert testimony before U.S. House and Senate Committees. Many of the aircraft designed by Mr. Piasecki are in the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum helicopter exhibit, now on loan with the American Helicopter Museum.

Presently, Mr. Piasecki is focusing efforts on development and flight demonstration of the Vectored Thrust Ducted Propeller (VTDP) compound helicopter technology, as an affordable means of upgrading existing helicopter performance, survivability, and reducing operational costs.

Mr. Piasecki married in December, 1958 to the former Vivian O'Gara Weyerhaeuser, settling in Haverford, Pennsylvania. They have two daughters, Lynn and Nicole, and five sons Frederick, Frank, John, Michael, and Gregory.

From: Resume supplied by Piasecki Aircraft Corporation


Book: More information may be found in the excellent book "Whirlybirds: A History of the U.S. Helicopter Pioneers" by Jay P. Spenser, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 1998.

Additional information is presented on the following pages:

"Who's Who in Polish America" listing 1997 [Arrow Picture]

Obituary [Arrow Picture]

Who's Who Listing [Arrow Picture]

Article: Early Days [Arrow Picture]

Article: Heli-stat [Arrow Picture]