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Frank Piasecki exhibition — home


1903 — 1997      mechanic, aircraft designer

He was born into a middle-class technical family in Warsaw. He studied at Warsaw University of Technology, where in 1928 he graduated in mechanical engineering. Later he was assistant professor in the Faculty of Airframe Construction and Flight Mechanics.

During this period he worked in the construction office at PZL. He participated in the design of the PZL P.l fighter aircraft, and then the triple-engine PZL.4 airliner. In 1931 he designed the five-seater passenger aircraft PZL.16. Then he joined the team working on the PZL.23 Karas aircraft (250 were produced in two versions). Prauss also worked on the design of the PZL.46 Sum reconnaissance-bomber, the Karas’ successor.

He was evacuated to Romania, from where, via Yugoslavia and Italy, he reached the West. In 1940 he joined the Westland Aircraft factory in Yeovil. He designed new undercarriage fairings, aerodynamic brakes and section fittings for the Lysander observation aircraft (1652 built). For the Welkin high-altitude fighter aircraft (tested 1942, 67 built), he designed the central section of the wing with the cooling inlet in the leading edge and the cockpit pressure cover. In 1945 he became a lecturer on airframe construction at the Polish University College, London.

From 1946, at the De Havilland aircraft factory in Hatfield, he was involved in the development of the world’s first jet passenger plane, the DH.106 Comet (tested 1949, 112 built). In 1949, he joined the design team for the DH.112 Venom jet fighter (test flight 1949, 1,435 built), and then the DH.110 (test flight 1951). From 1952 he worked on the Comet III aircraft and the marine version of the DH.110, known as the Sea Vixen (test flight 1955, 148 built). Between 1956-1961, he participated in the design of the DH.121 Trident airliner (test flight 1962, 117 built).

In 1963, the factory was taken over by Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd., which from 1966 created the design for the Airbus A.300 airliner. In 1969-1970, Prauss focused on the preliminary design for the HS-135 and HS-144 aircraft. The extension of the HS-135 was the BAe 146 airliner (test flight 1981, 270 built).

The aircraft: De Havilland DH.106 Come