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Entries for March 2010

By Brad McNally - Frank Nicolas Piasecki was born in Philadelphia on October 24, 1919. From a young age he was fascinated with aviation and spent his spare time building models and reading aviation magazines. When he was seven years old his father paid for him to go flying with a barnstormer and he got his first ride in an airplane. In high school he was president of his school’s aero club and was able to gain an introduction into the Philadelphia aviation industry that few people his age could acquire.

By Ron Whitney - Have you ever witnessed something so extraordinary, so surprising, and so incredible that you just had to sit back and ask yourself, “Did I really just see that?” Have you ever been around when a normal, routine flight operation went bad, nearly tragically bad? Have you ever had the opportunity to see a side of a coworker that you really did not expect to? Well, I have. The subject of this Pilot Profile piece, somewhat reluctantly, is a man I met many, many years ago while we were Instructor Pilots at Ft. Rucker, Paul Richtmyer.

By Brad McNally - Contributing Editor - In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s few people could see the helicopter as much more than an overly complex novelty incapable of being of any real value. It took a small group of enthusiastic and determined men to make helicopter flight possible and another small group of men with an equal amount of determination and enthusiasm to make helicopter flight practical. Leading this second group was a Coast Guard officer named Frank Erickson. His vision and resolve were born out of one of the darkest days in American history; after which he made developing the helicopter into a practical tool for search and rescue his lifelong goal. His foresight and perseverance in the face of many seemingly insurmountable obstacles and persistent naysayers left an indelible mark on the history of the helicopter.

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