Born: United Kingdom
Primarily active in: United States of America
Euan Hooper, Bristol and Boeing Engineer
Born on March 26, 1931, in the small seaside town of Newquay, in Cornwall, England, Hooper was the youngest of three children whose parents ran a general store and restaurant in the town. His childhood coincided with World War II, where he became enthralled by the aircraft that landed in Newquay from the US on their way to help the war effort.
A diligent student, Hooper gained an apprenticeship with Bristol Aeroplane Company in 1950 while at Cambridge University’s Magdalene College, graduating in 1957 with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He started at Bristol as a dynamics engineer but soon rose to be the Technical Assistant to the Chief Engineer, Raoul Hafner, and then the Chief Dynamics Engineer. He worked on the Bristol Sycamore (the first successful British-designed helicopter) and the Belvedere tandem-rotor helicopter, then Europe’s largest military helicopter.
Hooper was recruited by Boeing Vertol in Morton, Pennsylvania, and in January 1962, he and his family began a new life in the US. He began as a senior dynamicist for Boeing’s tandem-rotor helicopters. In 1969, he became the technology manager for the winged Model 347 Advanced Technology Helicopter. From 1972–73, he directed the CH-47 Tactical Air Guidance System (TAGS) joint program with the Canadian Forces, which was the first full-authority digital control system to be flown in a helicopter. Beginning in July 1973 until his retirement 20 years later, Hooper was Director of Vehicle Technology, responsible for the aerodynamics, dynamics, flying qualities, noise and wind tunnel test support for all Boeing rotorcraft programs.
One of Hooper’s proudest professional achievements was delivering the 1992 Cierva Memorial Lecture, “Fifty Years of Tandem Rotor Helicopter Engineering” at the Royal Aeronautical Society, in London. He was also a founding member of the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
His family called him an “English gentleman who loved his adoptive country, and was a kindly helper to friends and relatives far and near.” Hooper and his wife Maureen traveled extensively, and he continued his active life in his retirement community, becoming the de facto computer help desk, helping residents used Facebook and Skype to stay connected with their families.
Hooper joined VFS (then the American Helicopter Society) upon arriving at Boeing in 1962. During his time, he sponsored 223 others to become members, the sixth most in the Society’s history. He published numerous technical papers and articles. He was the Philadelphia Chapter President (1969–70), served on the VFS Board of Directors as the Regional Vice President (1974–75), and as the VFS Membership Chair (1982–83). He was also the Forum 43 Technical Chair (1986–87) and then continued serving on the VFS Technical Council as a Deputy Technical Director for several more years. In 1990, he was elected as a VFS Honorary Fellow for his contributions.
VFS Emeritus Member William Euan Hooper passed away in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, on March 3, 2023 at the age of 91.
VFS Update: Vertiflite May/June 2023