Fred E. Weick Autobiographical Transcripts, 1899-1984 (bulk 1949-1957)


Collection Item Summary:

This collection consists of transcripts of Weick's dictation for his autobiography, published as From the Ground Up: Autobiography of an Aeronautical Engineer (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1988).

Collection Item Long Description:


  • Aeronautics
  • Aeronautics, Commercial
  • Piper PA-25 Pawnee Family
  • Beech Aircraft Family

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions on access


Weick, Fred E 1899-1993


  • Weick, Fred E 1899-1993
  • United States National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
  • Erco (Engineering and Research Corporation)
  • Beech Aircraft Corp

Physical description

  • 0.45 cubic feet (1 legal document box)
  • 0.45 linear feet


  • 1899
  • 1899-1984
  • bulk 1949-1957


United States


Fred E. Weick (1899-1993) was an aeronautical engineer who 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). At the same time he coined the concept of "50 foot obstacle clearance" as a measure of aircraft takeoff performance, which has remained a standard measure ever since. In 1936 he joined Henry Berliner al 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-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 private projects in aircraft trim and control.

Repository Loc.

National Air and Space Museum, Archives Division, MRC 322, Washington, DC, 20560


  • Diaries
  • Collection descriptions
  • Manuscripts
  • Correspondence

Local number


Finding Aids

Online Finding Aid

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