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ROTORCRAFT PIONEERS

ARTHUR M.

YOUNG

THE GENIUS BEHIND BELL HELICOPTERS

BY BRAD MCNALLY

Arthur Young grew up outside of Philadelphia, PA. His father was a land- scape painter and his mother was also an artist. As a child he was very interested in science and understanding how things worked but had no specific interest in aviation. After graduating with a mathe- matics degree from Princeton in 1927, his curiosity led him in search of a com- plex problem that he could apply science and math to in the hope of developing a better understanding of the world around him. He traveled to several large cities and visited their libraries looking for problems that he could use for his endeavor. On one such visit to Washington, D.C. he found his chal-

lenge. While doing research in the Library of Congress, he came across a book by Anton Flettner called, “The Story of the Rotor.” Flettner had invented a boat which crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1927 propelled by rotating cylinders, and in the book he detailed a large windmill design with small propellers at the tips of the wind- mill blades (Spenser, 1998). Arthur Young began to think about how he could use this blade tip powered wind- mill concept to propel an aircraft and decided that it might work on a helicop- ter. With his problem in hand he returned home determined to devote the next ten to fifteen years to designing a

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