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Frank Piasecki exhibition — home


1893 — 1977      engineer, aircraft designer

Born in Odessa into a middle-class family. He created his first aircraft designs before the First World War. He served as a pilot in the army of the Tsar, and later in the Polish Air Force. He graduated with an engineering degree at the Ecole Superieure d’Aéronautique in Paris. In 1925-1926 he worked at IBTL in Warsaw as head of the experimental and laboratory department.

Between 1926-1936 , he was the chief designer at the E. Plage and T. Laskiewicz Mechanical Aircraft Plant in Lublin. Many of his designs arose there of which the most popular was the R-XIII Lublin liaison and observation aircraft (270 produced), together with its training version the R-XIV (15 manufactured). During this period, Rudlicki also invented the „butterfly tail”.

After the September defeat, he evacuated to the West via Romania, Yugoslavia and Italy. He worked at the Société Nationale de Construction Aéronautique in Casablanca, where under his direction Polish engineers mounted and repaired 200 US aircraft. After the capitulation of France, the whole group evacuated to the UK and were employed at the Burtonwood Repair Depot. There Rudlicki developed a number of his own inventions, including a sound transmitter for bombs, a design for a flying wing with a jet engine and streaming ailerons and flight controls (1941), an electric bomb ejector (1942), and an ejector for flares (illuminating bombs) used before night bombing (1943).

In 1943 he moved to the workshop of the subsidiary of the American Lockheed aviation company in Belfast, Northern Ireland. There he developed a release mechanism for surface bombardment from the four-engine Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers.

From 1945-1961 he worked at the US Republic aircraft factory, where he improved aviation and aerospace designs and developed numerous inventions, including exhaust nozzles for the General Electric J-85 jet engine, which enabled the direction of the jet stream to be altered, and which were designed for VTOL jet aircraft. In 1961 Rudlicki retired and moved to Florida. There he continued to work on the concept of vertical take-off rotors and jets.

The aircraft: Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk