Kurt H. Hohenemser
United States of America
1906 - 2001
Kurt Heinrich Hohenemser was a German-born American aerospace engineer and pioneer in the field of helicopter design. Kurt Hohenemser emigrated from Germany to the United States with his family in 1947. Hohenemser and Anton Flettner were among the first German emigrants into the United States after World War II.
Hohenemser and Anton Flettner, who together developed numerous patents in Germany, maintained close contact after both men emigrated to the United States. During 1949, Anton Flettner employed Hohenemser as a consultant to the Flettner Aircraft Corporation.
Hohenemser later accepted a position as chief aerodynamics engineer of the helicopter division of McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis, Missouri. In this role, Hohenemser oversaw work on such designs as the Little Henry, Big Henry, and XV-1, a precursor of the V-22 Osprey. After working for McDonnell for 18 years, he took a position as professor of aerospace engineering at Washington University in St. Louis in 1966. He retired in 1975, but remained as an emeritus professor for two more decades. From 1966 and beyond, Hohenemser shifted his focus from helicopters to wind turbines.
Kurt Heinrich Hohenemser died on April 7, 2001, in St. Louis, Missouri. Up until the age of 91, Hohenemser cross-country skied every winter and he rode a bicycle everywhere into his 80s, out of concern for the pollution produced by automobiles. Hohenemser received many accolades during his career, among them the Grover E. Bell Award (1957) and the Alexander Klemin Award (1964) from the American Helicopter Society.