Frank Nicholas Piasecki
1919 — 2008 aircraft designer, aeromechanical engineer, pilot, industrialist, and philantropist
Three years later Piasecki presented a single-seat PV-2 helicopter. It was the second successful helicopter design in American aviation history. In 1945, he constructed the world’s first successful tandem rotor helicopter suitable for transporting heavy loads: the Flying Banana. This initiated a series of helicopters (HRP-1, HRP-2 and HRP-3). They were also used outside the military — in transport and rescue roles.
In 1955 he sold his company, the Piasecki Helicopter Corporation, to the Boeing Airplane Co., and then founded Piasecki Aircraft Corporation design office, which developed prototypes of the first quadruple rotor drone, the Sea-Bat, the VTOL Ring-Wing, and the Airgeeps. In 1962, the Pathfinder was tested: the first compound helicopter, combining the advantages of both helicopter and aeroplane. In 1986, Piasecki designed the Heliostat aircraft vehicle, a combination of a blimp with four helicopters attached to a frame.
He registered a total of more than 20 patents, was the author of 40 professional publications, and he received honorary doctorates from three U.S. universities. In 1986 he received the highest award in the field of technology, the National Medal of Technology, from President Ronald Reagan, and the U.S. Army chose him for the U.S. Army Aviation Hall of Fame (as the first Polish-American engineer). In 1993 he was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland by President Lech Walesa.
Piasecki was a member of several technical associations, including: the Helicopter Council of the Aerospace Industrial Association, the Committee on Innovation of the National Foundation, The National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Society for Testing Materials, the Franklin Institute, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Helicopter Society. He was also actively involved in Polish-American organizations such as the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Polish American Congress.