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RCP0110_0_Hangar Talk 2/15/10 5:01 PM Page 18
HISTORY-PART II
X-49-The X-49 Speedhawk Vectored Thrust
Ducted Propeller aircraft in flight. (Photo
courtesy of the Piasecki Aircraft Corporation)
Piasekci passed away in 2008 at the age
of 88, but Piasecki Aircraft Corporation
continues today as a leading developer of
vertical takeoff and landing technology.
Two of Frank Piasecki’s children, John W.
Piasecki (President and CEO) and Fred W.
Piasecki (Chairman of the Board and Chief
Technology Officer) are actively involved
in the business which is still located in the
Philadelphia area.
Frank Piasecki’s legacy is one of
tremendous determination, vision, and en-
trepreneurial spirit. His belief in the abil-
ities of the many talented people that he
surrounded himself with enabled him to
achieve some remarkable accomplish-
ments. His extraordinary determination
was a key ingredient in his team designing
and building the second successful North
American helicopter and accelerating the
pace of helicopter development in the
Frank Piasecki sitting in a restored U.S. Navy
HUP helicopter. (Photo courtesy of the
Piasecki Aircraft Corporation)
1940s and 1950s. His incredible vision
allowed him to pursue the heavy lift heli-
copter. The advancements his company
made in the heavy lift arena proved to
many disbelievers that a practical and use-
ful helicopter capable of transporting large
loads of people and cargo was possible.
His entrepreneurial spirit founded two
companies that still exist today. The
heavy lift portion of Boeing Rotorcraft
Systems continues to be a worldwide
leader in heavy lift helicopters and Pi-
asecki Aircraft Corporation continues to
work on the cutting edge of rotary wing
flight in unmanned aerial vehicle and
compound helicopter technology. Over
the course of his lifetime Frank Piasecki
was awarded 24 patents for his revolu-
tionary work (Frank N. Piasecki, n.d.).
For his ground-breaking achievements
and longevity in the rotorcraft industry he
received many honors and awards includ-
ing the Smithsonian Air and Space Mu-
seum’s Lifetime Achievement Award in
2005, the National Medal of Technology
present by President Reagan in 1986 and
the 1954 Mendel Medal for outstanding
18 ROTORCRAFT PROFESSIONAL • February 2010
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