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Aeronautical engineer Fred E. Weick (1899-1993) had a profound effect on light aircraft development. While working for the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) he developed the NACA low-drag cowling for radial engines (1928) and built a low landing speed aircraft as an independent project sparked by a series of light aircraft design seminars at NACA's Langley Research Center (1931). He introduced the concept of "fifty foot obstacle clearance" as a measure of aircraft take-off performance, which remains a standard measure today. In 1936 he joined Henry Berliner at the Engineering and Research Corporation (ERCO) to develop and market a commercial version of Weick's aircraft. Although the resulting Ercoupe faded in the general aviation slump following World War II, Weick moved to Texas A&M (1948-56) where he developed a series of agricultural aircraft which evolved into the Piper Pawnee series. He remained at Piper until he retired (1956 to c. 1970) and developed the Piper Cherokee with John Thorpe and Karl Bergey. After retirement, Weick remained active in aeronautics, assisting in design studies for Beech Aircraft as well as undertaking private projects in aircraft trim and control.

Identifier

NASM.XXXX.0425

Processing Information

Arranged and described by Kate Igoe, 1997. Encoded by Amanda Buel, 2014.

Creator

Weick, Fred E., 1899-1993

Date

1899-1984

bulk 1949-1957

Provenance

Fred E. Weick, gift, 1984, XXXX-0425

Extent

0.3 Cubic feet (1 legal document box)

Summary

Aeronautical engineer Fred E. Weick (1899-1993) had a profound effect on light aircraft development. He was responsible for the development of NACA's low-drag cowling for radial engines, introduced the concept of "fifty foot obstacle clearance" as a measure of aircraft take-off performance, and was instrumental in the development of several aircraft, including the Piper Pawnee and Piper Cherokee.

Restrictions

No restrictions on access

Type

Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Diaries

Correspondence

Manuscripts

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of transcripts of Weick's dictation for this autobiography, published as From the Ground Up: Autobiography of an Aeronautical Engineer (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1988). A copy of this book can be found in the Smithsonian Library at the National Air and Space Museum.

Genre/Form

Diaries

Correspondence

Manuscripts

Rights

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.

Names

Beech Aircraft Corp

Erco (Engineering and Research Corporation)

National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)

Weick, Fred E., 1899-1993

Topics Aeronautics
Piper PA-25 Pawnee Family
Aeronautics, Commercial -- United States
Beech Aircraft Family

Citation

Fred E. Weick Autobiographical Transcripts, Acc. XXXX-0425, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Finding Aid Online Finding Aid