Born: Romania
Primarily active in: Romania


An engineer and designer, Matei Kiraly of Galati, Romania was the driving force behind most of Romania’s hovercraft developments during the 1970s and 1980s. Under his leadership at ICEPRONAV – the Romanian Research and Design Institute of Shipbuilding – more than 25 types of hovercraft of all sizes were designed, built, and tested, up to 4,250 shp.

In addition, he led the research and design of “unorthodox” fast ships: sliders, hydrofoils and wing-in-ground-effect ships (known as “Ekranoplanes”), though none passed beyond mock-up stages. Kiraly was also a devoted helicopter historian, mainly concentrating on the achievements of Romanians, other Eastern European helicopter pioneers, and early vertical flight attempts of the pre-1915 period. He authored numerous articles, including for Vertiflite, and contributed to the book, Romanian Aeronautical Constructions.

Matei passed away on June 6, 2011, aged 75. 

AHS (VFS) Update: Vertiflite Fall 2011