United States of America
Jimmy Hayes, Marine Aviator & Piasecki Executive
Hayes served as a Commissioned Officer in the US Marine Corps from 1975 to 1997, retiring as a major. He was a naval aviator with 5,000 mishap-free flight hours and substantial experience in squadron operations, maintenance, and as a weapons and tactics instructor. While serving at OP-504, his efforts were instrumental in laying the foundation, and ultimately approval, of the UH-1Y/AH-1Z modernization strategy.
Following his retirement, Hayes joined Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC) in 1997 as the Director of Military Programs and Requirements. Hayes was instrumental in securing the X-49A compound helicopter technology demonstration program; the successful flight demonstration of the X-49A (beginning in 2007) had a significant impact on the rotorcraft world, bolstering what would become the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative. Hayes also played a significant role in securing funding and service support of the Adaptive Digital Automated Pilotage Technology (ADAPT) program. There were numerous other programs where Hayes played a crucial role, including the KlearPath flight demonstration of the world’s first fully autonomous manned helicopter; and Air Guard, the world’s first autonomous autogyro. He successfully garnered Marine Corps sponsorship of the Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) uncrewed cargo VTOL aircraft program. Hayes’s leadership was critical to many of the vertical lift technology developments and his impact will be felt for years to come.
Hayes was a long-standing member of VFS, the Marine Corps Aviation Association (MCAA) and the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA).
Jimmy Ray Hayes, 71, of Paducah, Kentucky, passed away peacefully on January 12, 2022.
VFS Update: Vertiflite March/April 2022