Ray Prouty, the dean of helicopter aerodynamics and a long-time Rotor & Wing columnist and Vertiflite contributor, passed away peacefully at his home on Sept. 26.
Prouty began his career as an aerodynamicist at Hughes until 1954 when he moved on to work for Sikorsky. He was also a stability and control specialist at Bell Helicopter, then a group engineer for Lockheed Aircraft.
Generations of rotorcraft engineers have cut their teeth on the wealth of aerodynamic knowledge that Ray so freely imparted to anyone who could understand the arcane equations underlying his conclusions, and to many, many more who may not have understood, but knew they could trust the insight of Ray Prouty.
Prouty wrote multiple books throughout his career – spanning from college textbooks to the “Helicopter Aerodynamics” series based on the collection of his columns that ran monthly in Rotor & Wing for more than 20 years.
The helicopter industry will sorely miss the mind of Ray Prouty, but his wisdom lives on.