• June



Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame Spotlight: Fred E. Weick

Fred E. Weick

Fred E. Weick

Fred E. Weick *
Inducted: 2002
Hampton, Virginia

Inducted in 2002, Fred E. Weick started his aeronautical engineering career with the U.S. Mail Service in 1922. In the late 20s and early 30s he was a NACA engineer, where he led the development of the first propeller wind tunnels and the famous NACA low drag cowling, which earned NACA its first Collier Trophy.

In the late 30s he built the experimental W-1 which led to the famous Ercoupe which was a safe and easy to fly airplane. In 1946 he began work on the Ag-1, which led to the far safer, more efficient crop dusters of today.

He worked for Piper Aircraft from 1957 to 1969 and was responsible for the development of the Cherokee 140 and 180 and the Piper Pawnee. Weick’s aeronautical engineering efforts had a profound effect on the development of the modern airplane. He authored 70 technical papers and reports, and the classic textbook on the designing of propellers. He holds five patents for aeronautical inventions and introduced the steerable tricycle landing gear.

Virginia Aviation History Project By: Norm Crabill
Fred Weick’s autobiography “From the Ground Up”

This article is based on Norman Crabill’s notes from Fred Weick’s autobiography “From the Ground Up”, with contributions from Raymond Gill, Vice President, VAHS.

Mr. Crabill’s notes were shared with Ray Gill and Hall of Fame member (1998) Ray Tyson at a recent meeting in the Robin’s Nest Café on Fredericksburg’s Shannon Airport campus.  Norm Crabill is a Life Member of the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society and a member of the VAHS Hall of Fame (2008). He generously agreed to allow us to share his notes with our membership.

Fred Weick came to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in the 1920s and contributed to significant changes in aircraft design worldwide, including: (click here to download pdf and read the whole article)

Fred Weick Obituary:

Fred Weick, 93, Dies in Florida; Was Pioneer in Airplane Design

By Bruce Lambert
July 11, 1993

Fred E. Weick, who was inspired by the boyhood sight of an early airplane to become a pioneering aviation engineer and designer, died on Thursday at a hospital in Vero Beach, Fla., where he lived. He was 93.

The cause was heart disease, his family said.

Mr. Weick’s “genius touched virtually every aeronautical discipline” for half a century, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said. He “arguably outstripped any of his peers” in American aviation development, said the agency, whose predecessor employed Mr. Weick.

His career was devoted to making planes more aerodynamically efficient, safer and easier to fly, thus fostering wider use. Although he focused on small private planes, his advances were adapted to larger aircraft.

A major innovation was his stable, tricycle-like landing gear, with one set of landing wheels under the airplane’s nose and two sets spread out farther back. That became standard for virtually all aircraft, including the space shuttle.

Click here, to read full obituary: https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/11/obituaries/fred-weick-93-dies-in-florida-was-pioneer-in-airplane-design.html

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