Born: United States of America
Primarily active in: United States of America

1916 - 1983

D.K. (Gish) Jovanovich, one of the pioneers of the helicopter industry, died November 12, 1983.  "Gish" as he was known to his friends, came from Yugoslavia in the late 1930s.  He entered New York University and completed his Master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering under the instruction of Dr. Alexander Klemin in 1940.  This was the first formal graduating class in rotorcraft design.

After completion of his studies, Gish began work on Frank Piasecki's XHRP-1, later to become the H-21.  Leaving Piasecki, he formed his own company and created the JOV-3, the first tandem with intermeshing rotors to be successfully flown.  He joined McCulloch Motors in 1949 and formed the Aircraft Division completing the MC-4, MC-9 and J-2 Autogyro.  The MC-4 was the first tandem helicopter to be FAA certified.

In 1956, he went to work for Hughes Helicopters on the Hughes 269.  In all, Gish was the chief engineer on no less than eight rotary wing aircraft.  He held 16 patents on rotary wing aircraft and, his designs for main rotor blades, hubs and drive systems are still in use on the Hughes 500 and 300 series.  He is accredited with the development of the Tension Torsion Strap Blade Retention system, and his fail-safe design philosophy has set industry standards.

His last project was the design and construction of a cold jet helicopter for Vopar Aviation.

In Memoriam (page 52): Vertiflite September/October 1984