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controllability were not well defined. Floyd Carlson flew Ship 2 to the shore of Lake Erie near where the men were stranded. With the help of Harry Finagan, a Bell mechanic, Carlson test- ed the controllability of the helicopter with only one person in the cabin and no ballast. Finagan held onto the land- ing gear to simulate the trapped fisher- men. Once Carlson was satisfied that he could transport Finagan from one spot on the beach to another with enough control authority to safely fly the helicopter, he proceeded out to res- cue the two men one at a time (Carlson, T., n.d.).

Bart Kelley, Bell’s chief

engineer, recorded in a report on the rescue that the fishermen were extreme- ly thankful; however they were very upset that Carlson wouldn’t allow them to bring their catch of fish with them. Although he remained very active in helicopter development and testing of design and engineering improvements, Carlson’s duties grew to include demonstrating the helicopter’s unique capabilities to the public. In 1945,

Carlson gave demonstrations to such important political figures as Vice- President Harry Truman and helicopter rides to the likes of New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and New York Governor Thomas Dewey.


1946, Floyd Carlson played a key role in helicopter history. Bell Aircraft devel- oped its fourth helicopter after learning from all its experimental models. This aircraft, the Bell Model 47, was submit- ted to the Civil Aeronautics Authority (or CAA, the precursor to today’s FAA) for certification. The problem was that no helicopter had ever been certified by the CAA, so new standards had to be developed. Floyd Carlson, along with several other Bell Aircraft engineers and pilots, helped to adapt the fixed-wing certification standards to helicopters and to determine the training and cer- tification standards that would be need- ed for helicopter pilots (Padfield, R., 1992). Carlson did the majority of the certification flights, which included teaching the CAA certification pilot how to fly a helicopter. On March 8,

1946, the Bell Model 47 received the first commercial certification ever given to a helicopter, followed by Approved Type Certificate Number One (NC- 1H) two months later (Spenser, 1998). Following the historic certification of the Model 47, Floyd Carlson contin- ued to develop and promote the heli- copter. On March 31, 1946, he made the first international helicopter flight when he flew a Bell helicopter from New York to Toronto, Canada. The flight was part of a long distance fuel con- sumption test. He also began commut- ing to and from work by helicopter, to the excitement and support of almost all his neighbors in Williamsville, a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y.

However, it became

obvious that not all the neighbors were pleased when the mechanics found a bullet hole in the Plexiglas bubble of the helicopter. This event ended the easy commute for Carlson, who had to resume driving through the snow-cov- ered streets again. In 1951, Bell decided to move its new and rapidly-expanding helicopter division to Texas, and

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