Arthur Middleton Young (November 3, 1905 – May 30, 1995) was an American inventor, helicopter pioneer, cosmologist, philosopher and author. Young was the designer of Bell Helicopter’s first helicopter, the Model 30, and inventor of the stabilizer bar used on many of Bell’s early helicopter designs. He founded the “Institute for the Study of Consciousness” in Berkeley in 1972.
Arthur was the son of Eliza Coxe (1875-1950) and Philadelphia landscape painter Charles Morris Young (1869-1964). He was interested in developing a comprehensive theory of reality from an early age. He felt that to acquire the intellectual tools needed for such rigorous study, he should first develop an understanding of mathematics and engineering. After graduation from Princeton University in 1927 Young searched for a suitable invention to develop. In 1928 he returned to his father’s farm in Radnor, Pennsylvania to begin twelve solitary years of efforts to develop the helicopter into a useful device.
Young’s private experiments with helicopter design had mostly involved small scale models. After twelve years on his own using the models, he took his results and models to the Bell Aircraft Company (Buffalo, New York) in 1941, and the company agreed to build full-scale prototypes. While war was looming for the USA in late 1941 he was issued the key rotor stabilizer bar (also known as a flybar) patent, assigned it to Bell and moved to Buffalo to work with them. In June 1942 he moved his five-person team to Gardenville, New York, where they could work in relative secrecy. 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” popularized in the M*A*S*H movie and television series and was so successful that it continued to be manufactured through 1974.
On 30 May 1995, Arthur Young died of cancer at age 89, at his home in Berkeley, California.
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