Whirlybirds: A History of the U. S. Helicopter Pioneers

Overview

No one person or group invented the helicopter. Basically unstable, filled with unreliable parts, and assailed by countless forces and vibrations, the helicopter presented its inventors with problems that were more complex than those faced by the Wright brothers four decades earlier. In the United States, four men became the pioneers who, working independently along parallel lines during the 1940s, solved the problems of technology and created the conditions for America to succeed in bringing this new machine to ...
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Overview

No one person or group invented the helicopter. Basically unstable, filled with unreliable parts, and assailed by countless forces and vibrations, the helicopter presented its inventors with problems that were more complex than those faced by the Wright brothers four decades earlier. In the United States, four men became the pioneers who, working independently along parallel lines during the 1940s, solved the problems of technology and created the conditions for America to succeed in bringing this new machine to volume production. Russian-born Igor Sikorsky was a visionary whose pathbreaking experience spanned fixed-wing and rotary-wing aviation, thus linking the "earlybirds" to the "whirlybirds." Frank Piasecki's ideas and showmanship propelled his company (later to become Vertol and today Boeing Helicopter) to the forefront as the world's supplier of big helicopters. Arthur Young's invention of the Bell helicopter was part of his lifelong quest to reconcile mathematics, science, and fundamental philosophy in an integrated theory of how the universe operates. Stanley Hiller, Jr.'s company was the first to define and manufacture a civil helicopter to truly meet the needs of the marketplace, and he was the only pioneer to succeed in the absence of either military or corporate support.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Study of the lives and work of four Americans--Igor Sikorsky, Frank Piasecki, Arthur Young, and Stanley Hiller, Jr.--who, working independently but concurrently, developed the helicopter in the 1940s. Discusses the confluence of entrepreneurship, corporate practices, and government influence and financing in the development of helicopter technology, and the applications of the technology for purposes of military, rescue, and commercial transportation. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295976990
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1998
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 7.38 (w) x 10.29 (h) x 1.51 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 The Beginnings of Vertical Flight 3
2 Sikorsky 14
3 Piasecki, Vertol, and Boeing Helicopters 94
4 Bell Helicopter 183
5 Hiller Aircraft 283
6 Summary: The First Fifty Years 373
App. A Early Military Helicopter Use 376
App. B Early Commercial Helicopter Use 426
Notes 465
Bibliography 475
Index 479
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