Cover image for Whirlybirds : a history of the U.S. helicopter pioneers
Whirlybirds : a history of the U.S. helicopter pioneers
Spenser, Jay P.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Seattle : University of Washington Press in association with Museum of Flight, [1998]

Physical Description:
xii, 497 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library TL716 .S73 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Central Library TL716 .S73 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Study of the lives and work of four Americans--Igor Sikorsky, Frank Piasecki, Arthur Young, and Stanley Hiller, Jr.--who, working independently but concurrently, developed the helicopter in the 1940s. Discusses the confluence of entrepreneurship, corporate practices, and government influence and fi

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Combining the history of technology with business history, Spenser illuminates the development of the American helicopter industry by examining the careers of Igor Sikorsky, Frank Piasecki, Arthur Young, and Stanley Hiller. While emphasizing that the invention of the helicopter was a collaborative effort, the author gives pride of place to Sikorsky as "the father of the helicopter." Piasecki developed the tandem helicopter and became the first volume producer of large rotary wing aircraft. Young, an intriguing mathematician-philosopher, pioneered the world's first commercial helicopter for the Bell Aircraft Company, while Hiller, an adroit businessman, organized the first company devoted exclusively to the manufacture of helicopters. Spenser discusses the technical evolution of the helicopter in clear prose. He also provides complete coverage of the subsequent history of the companies formed by the four pioneers. Early military and civil use of rotary wing aircraft is covered in two lengthy appendixes. This handsomely produced and lavishly illustrated volume can be recommended with enthusiasm. It will become the standard work on the topic. All levels. W. M. Leary University of Georgia

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