By Staff Writer | July 21, 2017
At AHS International’s annual Technical Forum in Fort Worth, Texas, last month, I encountered a longtime reader of R&WI. This gentleman, an engineer for Bell Helicopter, kindly offered some compliments on my Editor’s Notebooks. He generally enjoyed reading them, he said, except for one in which I strayed too far into politics. He took me to task for that and cautioned me against repeating the error. Then he added:
“I really loved reading Ray Prouty’s columns. I miss him.”
Don’t we all.
A rotorcraft engineering legend, Ray began his career in 1954 at Hughes Tool Co. He went on to Sikorsky as a helicopter aerodynamicist, to a Bell stability and control specialist and to McDonnell Douglas (later Boeing) Helicopters as a group engineer for helicopters. For 30 years, Ray also wrote a column on rotorcraft aerodynamics for us. I assure you his words were consistently among our most widely read.
“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 they could trust his insight, we wrote upon Ray’s death October 2014.
That insight lives on in the collection of the columns Ray wrote for us. My encounter with that Bell engineer at AHS led me to believe those columns still hold interest and value for you, our readers. So, to further commemorate R&WI’s 50th anniversary this year, we plan to begin republishing those columns on our website. I hope new readers of Ray Prouty will enjoy his works and old fans will share with us their list of favorite Prouty columns. Sadly, we can “Ask Ray Prouty” no longer. But we can go on enjoying his past responses to our questions.
On a separate topic, all of us at R&WI and parent company Access Intelligence extend hearty congratulations to our colleague Woodrow Bellamy III, editor of Avionics. He was honored at the annual Aerospace Media Awards on the eve of the Paris Air Show as 2017’s recipient of the Bill Gunston Technology Writer Of The Year Award.
Sponsored by Boeing, the award is named after the renowned and prodigious aviation historian, author and journalist. Born in England in 1927, Gunston was a de Havilland Mosquito and single-seat Vampire fighter pilot and instructor with the Royal Air Force in the mid-1940s. In 1951, he joined the editorial staff of Flight (now FlightGlobal) and became its technical editor, then went on to become editor of the legendary aviation reference Jane’s Aero-Engines. He authored more than 300 books and countless articles.
Competition for the award was stiff. Other nominees included Stephen Trimble of FlightGlobal, Patrick Veillette of Business & Commercial Aviation, Peter Donaldson of Shephard Media, Bill Read of Aerospace and Suman Sharma of Chindits. Woodrow’s honor was well warranted. Having observed his work over the past two years, I consider him cut from similar cloth as Gunston.