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new model of Bell Helicopter until the AH-1 Huey Cobra in the mid 1960s and continued to work for Bell Helicopter until retiring in 1982.


His career with Bell


spanned 40 years and he held such positions as chief pilot, special projects engineer, director of flight and technical advisor to the technology staff. During his career, Carlson accumulated over 20,000 flight hours in both helicopters and airplanes. Floyd Carlson passed away on April 9, 1984, at the age of 66. On his weekly radio show, Paul Harvey paid tribute to Carlson’s invaluable contributions to the helicopter when he announced, “We’ve lost one of our irreplaceables – Pappy Carlson is dead…If anybody wrote the book on helicopters, he did.” In recognition of his pioneering efforts in helicopter development, Floyd Carlson received numerous honors and awards. For his gallant use of the experimental and unproven helicopter to rescue two fishermen from an ice floe drifting offshore in Lake Erie in 1945, Carlson received the U.S. Treasury Department’s Silver Life Saving Medal. The American Helicopter Society named Carlson an Honorary Fellow in 1954.


In 1973, the Helicopter


Association of America honored Carlson as a Pioneer in the helicopter industry, and in 1977 he was made an Honorary Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test


Above: Floyd Carlson demonstrates the Model 47’s stability by flying hands-off in March or 1946. This flight was part of the certification process for the Model 47’s historic first CAA helicopter certification. Photo: Courtesy of the collection of Todd Carlson


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