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A. Francis Arcier, (1890-1969) was an aviator, scientist, designer and engineer whose pioneering work in aviation design spanned six decades and earned him many honors. Born in London, he studied aeronautics in Passey, France under Sir Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower. He served as draftsman for such notable aircraft designers as Gabriel Voisin, Henri Coanda, Frank Barnivell and Gordon England. At the age of 21, he learned to fly and received his international aviator's certificate. He served as a flight instructor at the Hall School of Flying in Hendon, England and during World War I, with Handley Page, Ltd. He designed the first twin engine and the first four engine bombers used by the United States and its Allies. Arcier emigrated to the United States in 1919 and was employed as Chief Engineer at the Witteman Aircraft Corporation, makers of the Barling Bomber designed by Arcier. It was the largest heavier-than-air aircraft of its time. During his years with Witteman, Arcier won the Army Air Service Engineering Divisions' design competition for a bomber aircraft design. That same year, Arcier became Chief Engineer for the Fokker Aircraft Corporation, where among other notable accomplishments, he designed the Fokker Trimotor Transport which was used by Amelia Earhart and by Richard Byrd in his flight over the North Pole and also across the North Atlantic. After Arcier attained his United States citizenship in 1929, he became Vice President of Operations and Director of the General Airplanes Corporation in Buffalo, New York. In 1930 under his leadership, the "Mailplane", one of the first all-metal airplanes, was built. Later in 1930, Arcier became Chief Engineer of the Weaver Aircraft Company, WACO. He worked for WACO for 17 years in various capacities. Arcier and the Waco Aircraft Company made many contributions to the National Defense Program during World War II such as the Model UPF-7. The Waco Company was entrusted with the entire combat and cargo glider Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces. This was initiated in an Army Design Competition which the Company won and resulted in a program involving the design, prototype construction and, in some cases, production construction of some twelve models ranging from Model CG-3A to the CG-15A. These gliders were built by the thousands under Arcier's technical direction by sixteen prime contractors and many hundreds of sub-contractors throughout the nation. In 1948, Arcier became Chief Scientist for U.S. Air Force Intelligence at Wright- Patterson AFB until he retired in 1963. After his retirement, he served as consultant to the Commander, Foreign Technology Division and Special Advisor to the Division's Advisory Group on scientific and technical intelligence matters. Among his honors were the USAF Meritorious Civilian Service Award (1953), and the USAF Distinguished Civilian Service Award (1961.) A. Francis Arcier died on November 21, 1969.



Processing Information

Arranged and described by Hank Brown, 1999. Updated and encoded by Jessamyn Lloyd, 2019.


Arcier, A. Francis, 1890-1969


Circa 1890-1981


Elizabeth Arcier, gift, 1972, additional material received from Francis Arnoult, 2019, NASM.XXXX.0072.


2.97 Cubic feet (7 boxes)


A. Francis Arcier, (1890-1969) was an aviator, scientist, designer and engineer whose pioneering work in aviation design spanned six decades and earned him many honors.


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Collection descriptions

Archival materials






Financial records


Arrangement note

Every effort was made to provide dates when possible and each series is arranged in chronological order. The collection is arranged as follows: Series 1: Biographical and professional material Series 2: Technical material Series 3: Publications Series 4: Photographs Series 5: Scrapbooks

Scope and Contents

The A. Francis Arcier Collection contains approximately 3 cubic feet of material relating to his extraordinary career in aviation. This collection has biographical and professional documents, technical information on aircraft designs, patents, correspondence, newspaper clippings, publications, certificates, photographs, negatives and three scrapbooks. Note: The digital images shown for this collection were repurposed from scans made by an outside contractor for a commercial product which did not reproduce all materials found in this collection; some items have not been scanned.







Financial records



Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.


Air Force Museum (U.S.)

Fokker Aircraft Corp

GAC (General Airplanes Corp)

Waco Aircraft Company

Wittemann Aircraft Corp

Arcier, A. Francis, 1890-1969

Topics Aeronautics
Aeronautical engineers


A. Francis Arcier Collection, NASM.XXXX.0072, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

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