Born: United States of America
Primarily active in: United States of America
Robert A. Wagner's career in the vertical flight community spanned several decades. He was first employed by Kellett Autogyro in Camden, N. J. working on aerodynamic and dynamic analysis of the autogyro. Several years later he moved to United Helicopters in Palo Alto, Ca. as a project engineer for the UH-12 (M-23) and guided the helicopter through its FAA certification, in 1949 he joined Hughes Helicopters where he performed analysis and testing on the XH-17 heavy lift research helicopter which was to become the first helicopter built and flown by Hughes Helicopters.
In 1952 he moved to McCulloch Motors as their Chief Engineer during the FAA certification of the tandem rotor MC-4. He returned to United (which had by then become Hiller Helicopters) and was named Chief Engineer. In early 1960 he rejoined Hughes Helicopters as Chief Engineer. He was later named Director of Engineering. Wagner retired from Hughes In December 1978 as Chief Technical Engineer for the Commercial Division. He had been granted several patents applicable to rotary wing aircraft; his published papers have been on rotary wing vibration and on general configuration of VTOL aircraft.
His retirement from the company did not quell his interest in vertical flight and he remained a consultant to Hughes until the time of his death. Wagner served as President of the American Helicopter Society in 1967-8 and received the Society's coveted Dr. Alexander Klemin Award in 1971 for his notable achievement in the advancement of rotary wing aeronautics. He received an Honorary Fellowship in the Society in 1969.
Robert A. Wagner was a member of AHS since 1952. Mr. Wagner was the Society's 24th President. He made outstanding contributions to the Society and the industry as a whole. He died on Tuesday, November 27, 1979 of a heart attack.
AHS Update: VERTIFLITE January/February 1980