W. Laurence LePage

United States of America


Dr. W. Laurence LePage received the Society's Honorary Fellowship in 1980 in recognition of his over thirty-five years of contributions to the helicopter field. A true pioneer, Dr. LePage aggressively campaigned with the U. S. Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and the Postal Service for support of the Dorsey Bill (HR-8143) to provide funding for helicopter development.

In his early career, LePage helped form Kellett Autogiro Corporation where he was Vice President and Chief Engineer until 1933. At Keflett, LePage became acquainted with Haviland Platt during development of his Cyclogiro.

LePage formed Platt-LePage Aircraft Company in 1939, combining the talents and abilities of LePage, Platt, Laurence Rockefeller, and Grover Loaning. He formed the company specifically to design and build the PL-3 twin-rotored helicopter, later designated by the Army as the XR-1.

Under his leadership as President and Chief Engineer, the company was awarded the U. S. Army contract for the XR-1 in July 1940, with the first flight taking place in April, 1941, and the first delivery to the U. S. Army in 1944.

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Milestones associated with W. Laurence LePage
June 23, 1941 First flight of the Platt-LePage XR-1
October 27, 1943 First flight of the Platt-LePage XR-1A
October 7, 1944 First Annual Dinner of the AHS