World Helicopter Day (Sunday, August 15) aims to raise awareness of the helicopter’s contributions to society and celebrate the diversity of people who design, fly and support them. Every day, thousands of people rely on helicopter for rescue, disaster relief, transport, firefighting, medical transfers, power line maintenance, tourism, agriculture and many other roles.
But how did we get here?
From design to implementation, helicopters have had a long and illustrious history -- from da Vinci to de Launoy, Piasecki and Young to Sikorsky.
We’re proud to say that Parker LORD had a part in developing the modern helicopter.
During World War II and shortly thereafter, Parker LORD's Engineering Research department developed a tremendous amount of dependable performance data on the physical characteristics of elastomers and elastomeric products. These data included -endurance life, drift, permanent set and natural frequency – all determined under various environmental conditions. This information would prove invaluable to any designer of elastomer products…and controlling vibration in helicopters.
Back in 1945, Leon Wallerstein, Parker LORD’s only aeronautical engineer at the time, saw a great future in helicopters. Tom Lord attributed much of the credit for the survival and subsequent postwar prosperity of the company to its Chief of Engineering Research, Leon “Wally” Wallerstein.
“Wally was the father of the helicopter business at LORD, “said Tom Lord. “After [World War II], Wally was the only one in the company who saw a future in helicopters. He literally pleaded for funds to develop mounting systems using his elastomer research. He worked with Bell, Piasecki, Sikorsky, and lesser-known pioneers in the industry. He became a friend to these people. He laid the groundwork for the helicopter business we have today – one of the most technically sophisticated of all LORD enterprises.”
Early helicopter-flight testing had Wallerstein and the pilot strapped to a wooden plank that was clamped to the ship’s frame. Engineering the drive train to eliminate excessive vibration had priority over adding seats, or a canopy, for the crew.
At Wallerstein’s retirement party in September 1976, a telegram was received from Bart Kelly (then chief engineer of Bell’s helicopter division) that said, “In 1943, Wally lay on his back on the snowy ground underneath the first Bell Helicopter and figured out how all future Bell copters would use Lord suspension systems. Wally, thank you for a job well done!”
Our rotary wing capabilities have expanded beyond those first transmission and engine isolators for the Bell Model 47 helicopter
Our post-war work with elastomers eventually led to the development and patent for High Capacity Laminate (HCL) elastomeric tail and main rotor bearings – a fundamental advancement in helicopter rotor design that is still used today.
These bearings provide rotorcraft designers precise control over stiffness and damping and superior motion accommodation in a variety of aerospace applications.
As a rotary wing pioneer, we use our innovative technologies to design the best solutions for your vertical aircraft including elastomeric and non-elastomeric mounts, active vibration control systems, sensing systems, and flight control equipment. Our rotary wing offerings provide the best solutions for your aircraft without compromise, resulting in lower risk and total cost for our customers.
We continue to manage the unique challenges of noise, vibration and weight in flight-critical components and systems.
- Active vibration control systems
- Engine mounts and attachments
- Rotor bearings and dampers
- Rotor hubs
- Tension torsion straps
- Aftermarket/MRO products