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

1905 - 1995

Arthur Young was the inventor behind the design of early Bell helicopter products. He invented the stabilizer bar which significantly enhanced the stability of early helicopters and was used on many subsequent Bell aircraft. A description of his life and work can be found in the article, "Out of the Past — Progress? Arthur Young — Inventor, Developer and Metaphysicist — The Developer of the Bell Teetering Rotor Helicopter", John Schneider in Vertiflite March/April 1995, Pages 36-39.

Arthur Middleton Young was born on November 3, 1905. One of "The Gentlemen" of the industry, he graduated from Princeton in 1927 with a degree in mathematics. Always fascinated by a challenge - especially something deemed impossible - he settled in Radnor (a suburb of Philadelphia) and became an inventor.

Pondering what to invent; he visited the U.S. Patent Office in Washington D.C. While there, he was attracted to the helicopter by a design of a windmill in a book by Anton Flettner. This led Young to study the tip driven helicopter concept where small propellers on the blades would rotate the rotor in a torqueless configuration.  Subsequent research on the helicopter convinced him that this was the challenge he wanted.

After nine years of hard work, he had been able to finally build (and re-build many times) a 12-foot diameter, four-blade model with three-bladed propellers. Curiously, during the time from 1925 to 1935, numerous investigators like Brennan, Hellesen-Kahn, Izacco, and Bleeker, build full-scale helicopters with tip-propeller drive, culminating with the crash of Anton Flettner's tip-propeller machine in 1935. Young was lucky to learn the tip-drive lesson without large expenditures. However, he did gain invaluable experience in the design and stressing of the rotor and systems. As he pointed out, "This model was the wrong type and I had to throw the whole thing out!"

In 1938, Young moved to a farm near Paoli, Pennsylvania and converted the barn into a workshop where he began to study simpler configurations. He attended the First Rotary Wing Meeting at the Franklin Institute in 1938, and was impressed by Igor Sikorsky's argument for correcting the torque by a tail rotor. In November 1941, Young returned to Buffalo with his friend and assistant, Bartram Kelley to begin a new phase: development.

In 1942, the Bell Aircraft Company was completely embroiled in the war effort producing fighter airplanes and the chances of designing and building a new helicopter in that environment were nil. To expedite the development, Young decided to scale up his model six times - and with a minimum of drawings- built most of the parts by hand (drawings later, if ever). In six months, the Model 30-1 was rolled out, and after more phases of development, the familiar Bell 47 quickly followed and became the first commercial helicopter in the world. During the Korean War, the Model 47 (military H-13) was instrumental in saving some 20,000 lives in US Army MASH units.

In 1946, Young was chafing at the bit! His small group had explored a coaxial convertiplane as well as a coaxial helicopter, but company absorption with the Model 47 caused abandonment of the coaxial concept. The first test flight of the prototype Model 30 occurred in July 1943, and on March 8, 1946 the company received Helicopter Type Certificate H-1 for the world's first commercial helicopter, the Bell Model 47. This was the "whirlybird" featured in the M*A*S*H movie and television series and was so successful that it continued to be manufactured through 1974. A design as well as a utilitarian success, it was added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art of New York City in 1984.

Finally, in 1947, Young resigned from Bell and returned to his Paoli workshop. In the 1950s, Young came into what he calls his "Gee-Whiz" period studying philosophy, parapsycology, and metaphysics. In the 1960s, he developed a 25-foot variable diameter prop-rotor for a tilt rotor that was ground-tested at Bell in Fort Worth, Texas. After that, he enjoyed teaching and writing books on metaphysics - that branch of philosophy which embodies the science of being as well as the origins and structure of the Universe.

AHS Source: Vertiflite March/April 1995