Frank Piasecki (L) receives the National Medal of Technology from President Ronald Reagan
October 24, 1919|
|Died||February 11, 2008
|Alma mater||New York University|
|Known for||tandem rotor helicopters|
|Spouse(s)||Vivian O'Gara Weyerhaeuser|
|Children||Nicole, Frederick, John, Lynn, Frank, Michael, and Gregory|
Frank Piasecki (// pee-ə-SEK-ee; Polish: [pjaˈsɛtski]; October 24, 1919 – February 11, 2008) was an American engineer and helicopter aviation pioneer. Piasecki pioneered tandem rotor helicopter designs and created the compound helicopter concept of vectored thrust using a ducted propeller.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to an immigrant Polish tailor, Piasecki worked for autogyro manufacturers while still attending Overbrook High School, then studied mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania before graduating with a bachelor's degree from New York University. In 1940, he formed PV Engineering Forum with former Pennsylvania classmate Harold Venzie. He built a single-person, single-rotor helicopter designated the PV-2 and flew it on April 11, 1943. This helicopter impressed the United States Navy sufficiently to win Piasecki a development contract.
At Piasecki Aircraft, he participated in the development of the Piasecki 16H-1 the world's first shaft driven compound helicopter, the PA-59K/VZ-8P Flying Geep, the Piasecki PA-97 Helistat heavy vertical airlifter and the Piasecki X-49 experimental compound helicopter.
Marriage and children
Piasecki was married to Vivian O'Gara Weyerhaeuser on December 20, 1958. They had seven children, Nicole, Frederick, John, Lynn, Frank, Michael, and Gregory.
His son John W. Piasecki is now President and CEO of Piasecki Aircraft. His son Fred W. Piasecki is Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer of Piasecki Aircraft. His daughter Nicole Piasecki is vice president of Business Development & Strategic Integration for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Piasecki died at his home on February 11, 2008 after a series of strokes. He was 88.
- Philip H. Ward, Jr. Medal from The Franklin Institute in 1979.
- National Medal of Technology - President Ronald Reagan presented Piasecki with the country's highest technical honor in 1986.
- Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Lifetime Achievement award - awarded in 2005
- Helicopter pioneer Piasecki dies
- "Piasecki Aircraft Corporation >> About >> PiAC". Piasecki Aircraft Corporation. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
- P-V Engineering Forum PV-2 - Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
- Wall Street Journal, February 16–17, 2008, p. A6
- Twining, Charles E. F.K. Weyerhaeuser: A Biography. St. Paul, Minn: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1997. p. 289. ISBN 0-87351-356-8
- Boeing Executive Biography page
- Spenser, Jay P. Whirlybirds, A History of the U.S. Helicopter Pioneers. University of Washington Press, 1998. ISBN 0-295-97699-3.
- Piasecki Aircraft Corporation web site
- The Boy Who Grew Flying Bananas by L.B. White 1951 article on Piasecki at age 31 and his early helicopters. Rare photos.
- Frank Piasecki biography on National Aviation Hall of Fame site
- Summary of Frank's aviation legacy from AIN online
- Frank Piasecki at Find a Grave