Franklin Avery Smith
United States of America
Born August 7, 1925 in Poughkeepsie, New York of German émigré parents, Frank Smith attended the prestigious Brooklyn Technical High School. He lied about his age to join the United States Navy shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His skills in engineering and electronics led him to become the chief electronics officer aboard the U.S.S. Walker, a Navy destroyer serving as a “submarine chaser” in the South and Western Pacific, from 1942 through 1945. Returning home following World War II, he attended Syracuse University, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science in engineering degree with honors in 1950. Following graduation, he joined Sperry Corporation as an engineer in Spokane, Washington. There he designed and tested advanced navigation devices for military aircraft, including the USAF Strategic Air Command B-47 and B- 52 bombers. He returned to the east coast to earn a Master’s of Science in Electronic Engineering degree from the Newark College of Engineering. In subsequent years, he worked as a design engineer for Bell Aerospace in Buffalo, New York, and Norden Corporation, a division of United Technologies Corporation, in Norwalk, Connecticut. During his long career, Frank Smith became the inventor and patent holder of many aerospace innovations. One of the most colorful was a vertical take-off and landing platform to carry military personnel about the battlefield.
Aerospace pioneer Franklin Avery Smith, 79, died July 27 2005 at Wayne Memorial Hospital, in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Smith was a resident of Harborview Towers, an assisted living facility in Morehead City, NC; he had Alzheimer’s disease.
AHS Update: Vertiflite Fall 2005