Harold Frederick Pitcairn
Harold F. Pitcairn was an American aviation inventor and pioneer. He played a key role in the development of the autogyro
An autogyro , also known as gyroplane, gyrocopter, or rotaplane, is a type of rotorcraft which uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller, similar to that of a fixed-wing aircraft, to provide thrust...

 and founded the Autogiro Company of America. He invented many patents relating to rotary wing aircraft.

Pitcairn start in aviation was as an apprentice at Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company was an American aircraft manufacturer that went public in 1916 with Glenn Hammond Curtiss as president. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the company was the largest aircraft manufacturer in the United States...

 He attended the Curtiss Flying School
Curtiss Flying School
left|thumb|A Curtiss Jenny on a training flightThe Curtiss Flying School was started by Glenn Curtiss to compete against the Wright Flying School of the Wright brothers...

 in Newport News in 1916.

Pitcairn founded Pitcairn Aviation (later to become Eastern Airlines), and Pitcairn Aircraft Company
Pitcairn Aircraft Company
The Pitcairn Aircraft Company was an American aircraft manufacturer of light utility aircraft. An early proponent of the autogyro, the company, later known as the Autogyro Company of America among other names, would remain in business until 1948....

 which manufactured efficient airmail biplanes, and autogyros. He bought the right to license Juan de la Cierva
Juan de la Cierva
Juan de la Cierva y Codorníu, 1st Count of De La Cierva was a Spanish civil engineer, pilot and aeronuatical engineer. His most famous accomplishment was the invention in 1920 of the Autogiro, a single-rotor type of aircraft that came to be called autogyro in the English language...

s patents for the United States for $300,000 in 1929.

He was awarded the Collier Trophy
Collier Trophy
The Collier Trophy is an annual aviation award administered by the U.S. National Aeronautics Association , presented to those who have made "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space...

 in 1930 for development of the autogyro. USA President Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

 awarded the trophy on the lawn of the White House in 1931, where a Pitcairn PCA-2
Pitcairn PCA-2
-External links:*...

 landed as the first aircraft ever.

In 1960, he committed suicide at his home in Philadelphia shortly after a party celebrating his 62nd birthday. Pitcairn was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame
National Aviation Hall of Fame
The American National Aviation Hall of Fame is located at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, east Dayton, Ohio...

 in 1995.
In 1977, 17 years after his death, the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

awarded Pitcairn $32 million from the US government for rotorcraft control surfaces patents used by military rotorcraft.

External links

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