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Pitcairn, Harold Frederick (Harold F. Pitcairn)



  • Existence: 1897 - 1960


Harold Frederick Pitcairn (1897–1960) was an American aviation inventor and pioneer. He played a key role in the development of the autogyro and founded the Autogiro Company of America. He patented a number of innovations relating to rotary wing aircraft. He was born on June 20, 1897 in Hawthorne, Iowa.[1]

Pitcairn's start in aviation was as an apprentice at Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company[2] He attended the Curtiss Flying School in Newport News in 1916.[3]

Pitcairn founded Pitcairn Aviation (later to become Eastern Airlines), and Pitcairn Aircraft Company which manufactured efficient airmail biplanes, and autogyros. He bought the right to license Juan de la Ciervas patents for the United States for $300,000 in 1929.[4]

He was awarded the Collier Trophy in 1930 for development of the autogyro.[5] USA President Hoover awarded the trophy on the lawn of the White House in 1931, where a Pitcairn PCA-2 landed as the first aircraft ever. Citation: Wikipedia contributors, "Harold Frederick Pitcairn," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 9, 2015).

On April 24, 1960 he was found dead at his home in Philadelphia. A New York times article reported that he committed suicide after a party for his brother, Raymond. No reason was ever uncovered.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

John Pitcairn with Children, 1900

Identifier: JGP0028
Scope and Contents From the c04: Photographs or photographs of drawings/paintings of John Pitcairn and his family and friends. The images are divided into two boxes, each containing large envelopes (folders). They are arranged as follows: Box 1: File 1 - John Pitcairn Images at various ages. Includes, engravings, photographs and prints. File 2 - Pictures of two Pitcairn children (Vera & Harold). File 3 - Pictures of John and/or Gertrude (or other friends/relatives) with the children (Raymond, Vera, Theodore,...
Dates: 1900