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


Alan Myers, Bell / Sikorsky / AVX Engineer

Alan Wayne Myers was born on Feb. 13, 1942, in Corsicana, Texas, to Herbert and Ora (Hargrave) Myers. 

Myers graduated with honors from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 1964. He began his career in Tullahoma, Tennessee, working as a wind tunnel test engineer for three years. During this time, he also completed a master’s degree in aerospace engineering in 1967 from the University of Tennessee Space Institute. He then moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and worked at General Dynamics for two years.

In 1969, he joined Bell Helicopter, where he served for 31 years. Myers led the development of Bell’s first soft-in-plane fourbladed rotor, followed by the Bell 412 rotor upgrade from the two-bladed Model 212, and served as the Technical Director of the H-1 Upgrade Team. He was also the main designer and developer of the Bell 430 helicopter (shown), which broke the round-the-world helicopter record in 1996, completing it in just over 17 days.

Beginning in the early 1980s, Myers was the Director of Engineering for the Light Helicopter Experimental (LHX) program to replace the Bell AH-1 Cobra and OH-58 Kiowa helicopters. The Bell-McDonnell Douglas LHX Superteam design featured a bearingless rotor, which was flown on a Bell 222 as an LHX demonstrator. (The LHX competition was ultimately won by the Boeing-Sikorsky Comanche.)

Myers retired in 2000 as Bell’s H-1 Upgrade Technical Director. He then worked at the Sikorsky Fort Worth facility and in 2013 started working for AVX Aircraft Company in nearby Benbrook, Texas, where he served as the chief engineer for the FARA team. He served at AVX until his untimely death in December 2023.

Myers joined VFS in 1971 when he was a design engineer. He became a member of the Society’s Gold Circle, having been a member of the Society for more than 25 years, in 1996. He co-authored two articles published in the Society’s Journal of the AHS, and at least four VFS conference technical papers on rotor systems and the Bell 412 and 430 model developments.

Myers served as an officer of the Society’s Southwest Chapter, beginning in 1979 as the Treasurer, moving up through the ranks to serve as the Chapter President in 1985. From 1986 to 1989, he served on the Board of Directors for the American Helicopter Society (AHS) — now VFS — representing the US Southwest Region.

Myers was a member of North Side Baptist Church for 25 years, where he also served as a deacon. One colleague remembered him as “an incredible engineer and teacher to all of us, and his calm and steady nature made him an excellent manager and coworker.”

Alan Myers, 81, passed away on December 3, 2023.

Society Update: Vertiflite, March/April 2024