Skip to main content

Mr. Frank M. Piasecki - 1954

Mr. Frank M. Piasecki - 1954

Mr. Frank N. Piasecki was born in Philadelphia on October 24, 1919. He studied mechanical engineering at the Towne School at the University of Pennsylvania, then transferred to the Guggenheim School of Aeronautics at New York University, where he graduated with the degree of B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering in 1940.

Following college he was an aircraft designer at Platt-LePage Aircraft Corporation, and later an aerodynamicist for Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Company, Aircraft Division.

In 1940 Mr. Piasecki founded and headed an engineering research group which was incorporated early in 1943 as the P-V Engineering Forum. In this year the group completed the PV-2, the second successful helicopter to fly in America. It was a single-seat, single-rotored helicopter.

This achievement attracted the attention of the U.S. Navy to Mr. Piasecki's proposals for a large, tandem rotored helicopter suitable for transport use, and he was awarded a contract for engineering and construction of an aircraft of this type. This helicopter, the XHRP, known popularly as the Flying Banana today is entrusted to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, as one of America's historic aircraft.

In the years since, Mr. Piasecki has sparked further design and production of transport helicopters. The largest now in production is a 20-passenger transport and rescue aircraft designed for service in Arctic regions. His company, now the Piasecki Helicopter Corporation, has more than 4500 employees and occupies over 600,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Mr. Piasecki is presently Chairman of the Board and head of the company's research and development activity.

Mr. Piasecki is a Fellow of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the American Helicopter Society. In 1951 he received the Lawrence Sperry Award of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences "for outstanding contribution to the design and development of Helicopters."

He has been president of the American Helicopter Society and Chairman of the Helicopter Council of the Aircraft Industries Association. He is a member of the advisory committee of the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aeronautics of New York University. He is the donor of the Dr. Alexander Klemin Award, given annually by the American Helicopter Society for outstanding work in the field of rotary-wing aeronautics.

Mendel Medal Presentation Program, May 4, 1954. Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania.