Born: United States of America
Primarily active in: United States of America
Josep Mashman, 78, a test pilot and retired Bell Helicopter executive who helped popularize the helicopter, died of a heart attack August 13, 1994 at his Dallas ome. "Mr. Helicopter," as he was known, had a talent for demonstrating helicopters. During the 1948 Senate campaign he piloted Lyndon Johnson 7,000 miles across Texas. In his book, "To Fly Like a Bird," Mashman reported he even made a few speeches for Johnson along the way.
Born in Chicago to parents who emigrated from Russia and Rumania, he studied engineering at the Armour Institute of Technology, using his lunch money to take flying lessons. He joined Bell in 1943 as an engineer test pilot, where he participated in flight tests leading to the certification of the world's first civilian helicopter. "Man wants to fly like a bird, not like a bat out of hell," Mashman recalled Bell founder Lawrence Bell saying.
During his long career, he flew helicopters on five continents in the course of demonstrating flight characteristics of the aircraft. On one early demonstration in South America, Mashman became the first person to fly a helicopter over the Andes. Mashman was a former president of the American Helicopter Society, a founding member of the Twirly Birds anda founding member and past president of the Helicopter club of America. He held numerous awards including an Honorary Fellowship of the American Helicopter Society and the Peruvian Gold Award of Valor.
AHS Update: Vertiflite July/August 1994