Born: United States of America
Primarily active in: United States of America
Richard Gabel served as the Chief of Dynamics Technology in the Boeing Defense & Space Group, Helicopters Division. After graduating from Drexel University with an MS in Aeronautical Engineering in 1952, he started in the Stress Dept. with the Piasecki Helicopter Co. He soon moved to dynamics work on the H-21 and began a 43 career in that field with Vertol which later became Boeing Vertol. In 1967 he was appointed Chief Dynamics Engineer, a position that he held through his retirement in 1995. He was intimately involved in every vibration program on the H-16, H-21, HUP, 107, CH-46, CH-113, CH-47 Chinook, Model 347, Bo-105, YUH-61A, Model 234, Model 360, RAH-66 Comanche, and the V-22 Osprey Tilt Rotor.
His experience in helicopter vibration was recognized throughout the industry and particularly by the US Government. The respect for his expertise was such that he would be called upon to review and recommend corrective actions for other production helicopters operated by both the US Navy and US Army. Richard was an active member of AHS since 1953. He served as President of the local Philadelphia Chapter, Chairman and Honorary member of the Dynamics Technical Committee, and Technical Chairman of the AHS International Annual Forum & Technology Display. In 1981, he was amongst the earliest US helicopter engineers to visit the helicopter centers in China and in 1985 he co-chaired the first Joint AHS/Chinese Helicopter Forum which was held in Nanjing, China. He authored numerous technical papers on helicopter dynamics appearing in the Journal of the AHS and other technical publications.
For those fortunate enough to attend the 1981 AHS Vibration Conference in Hartford on ”Technology for the Jet Smooth Ride” he will be remembered for delivering the keynote address in which he summarized every device known to mankind that had ever been flown on helicopters in the name of vibration reduction. He then challenged the industry to match the vibration levels achieved on commercial airliners, which remains a work in progress.
AHS Update: Vertiflite January/February 2014