United States of America
1929 - 2016
Dr. Edward Roberts (Bob) had a long career with Sikorsky, Lockheed, Hughes and McDonnell Douglas, and taught courses in helicopter technology at Georgia Tech, UCLA, California Institute of Technology, University of Southern California, Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, the Naval Test Pilot School, Air Force Institute of Technology and the Naval Postgraduate School.
Wood graduated from Cornell in 1951 with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, and then served with the US Air Force in the Korean War (1951-53). He received a Master’s degree in Engineering Mechanics in 1955 from Yale University.
In 1957, Wood joined Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut as a Dynamics Engineer. There, he was active in flight test and dynamic analysis, as well as acoustics, and contributed to the design and development of the H-34, H-37, H-3 and CH-53A helicopters. He was promoted to Assistant Head, Dynamics Section in 1960.
In Fall 1964, Wood left to pursue advanced studies in dynamics at Yale University, receiving a Doctor of Engineering Degree in 1967. From there he took a joint appointment at Georgia Tech as an Associate Professor in Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics.
In 1972, Dr. Wood joined Lockheed-California Company as Director of Lockheed’s Rotary Wing Technology Division on the AH-56A Cheyenne program. Following its cancellation in 1973, Wood became responsible for all of Lockheed’s rotary wing activities as Manager of the Rotary Wing Department. Here, the division designed and built the 62.5 ft (19 m) blades successfully installed on America’s first horizontal axis wind turbine — NASA Mod 0 at Plum Brook, Ohio.
From 1975 to 1985, Dr. Wood was Manager of the Aeromechanics Section for Hughes Helicopters, Inc. (later McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company), and played a major role in the successful design and development of the AH-64A Apache. While there, Dr. Wood wrote the proposal and for ten years served as program manager of the company’s successful Higher Harmonic Control (HHC) research program. A modified OH-6A helicopter demonstrated vibration reductions over 80% throughout the flight envelope.
Dr. Wood returned to academia and teaching in 1985 when he was named Professor and Department Head of Aerospace Engineering at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. There, he was personally involved in the school’s efforts in the AHS Human Powered Helicopter Competition.
In 1988, Wood came to the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, as Professor and Department Chair. Wood was the author of over 90 papers and technical reports, and the thesis supervisor to six doctoral and about 70 master’s students. At NPS, he led teams participating in the AHS Student Design Competition with a total of six first or second place wins.
Wood joined AHS in 1957, and was named an Honorary Fellow in 2007. He had been Chair of the AHS Dynamics, Education and Advanced Vertical Flight Technical Committees, and a member of the History and Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) Scholarship Committees. He was an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), member of the AIAA V/STOL Aircraft Systems Technical Committee, and past officer of several AIAA Sections.
Notably, Wood served as the technical director of the AHS 42nd Annual Forum in Washington, DC, in June 1986, and was the General Chair of a joint AIAA/AHS/Georgia Tech VTOL Aircraft Research, Design and Operations Meeting in Feb.1969, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Wood served as VP/President of the AHS Los Angeles Chapter (1974-1975 and 1981-1982), a member of the AHS Technical Council (1974-1977), and Western Region VP/Director-at-Large on the AHS Board of Directors (1977-1981). He was a member of the AHS Board again from 2003-2014.
Dr. Bob Wood died on Jan. 22, 2016, in Monterey, California, after a long illness; he was 87.
Read more AHS Update Vertiflite March/April 2016