AHS mourns the loss of Bob Lynn

Robert R. Lynn, 1926–2017

Bell Helicopter and AHS Leader

Robert R. Lynn (color jpg)Robert Reid Lynn passed away Saturday, May 27, 2017. He was 90.

Bob Lynn was born Oct. 26, 1926, to Leon Lynn and Beatrice Moore in Charleston, West Virginia. He received his BS in mechanical engineering and his MS in aeronautical engineering from Princeton. He later attended MIT’s Senior Executive Program.

Lynn began his career in 1950 as a draftsman with the Bell Aircraft Corporation, in Buffalo, New York. The following year, he was transferred to Bell’s new division in Fort Worth, Texas. He served as a project engineer and then later as Bell Helicopter’s chief of research and development, director of test and evaluation, and director of design (1974-1977). He retired in May 1991 as Senior Vice President for Research and Engineering. Lynn was instrumental in the design of the Huey Cobra and the Osprey; he began design work on the Bell XV-3 tiltrotor in 1951.

Lynn joined AHS in 1952; he earned status as part of AHS Gold Circle Club (1977) and, eventually, as an AHS Emeritus Member (2002). He was the recipient of the prestigious 1983 AHS Alexander Klemin Award and was the 1992 AHS Alexander A. Nikolsky Lecturer, with the title “The Rebirth of the Tiltrotor.” He served AHS in many capacities, including — incredibly — as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the AHS (1970), Technical Director, President (1978 – 1979), Chair of the Board (1979-1980), and Chair of the AHS Vertical Flight Foundation (1980-1981 and 1982-1983). Lynn was also the recipient (with Robert J. Tapscott) of the 1973 AHS Paul E. Haueter Award for “outstanding technical contribution to the field of vertical take-off and landing aircraft development other than a helicopter,” as well as the 1983 AHS Harry T. Jensen Award for “outstanding contribution to the improvement of vertical flight aircraft reliability, maintainability, and/or safety through improved design.”

Lynn was a Fellow of the American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics (AIAA) and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), and an AHS Honorary Fellow. He authored over 40 publications and held multiple patents. In 1996, he presented the Cierva Lecture to the RAeS. Lynn was a registered professional engineer in Texas, and a chartered engineer in Great Britain.

Lynn served many organizations such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US Army, the NATO Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), AHS, the Aircraft Industries Association’s Technical Council, the White House’s Office of Science & Technology Policy’s Aeronautical Policy Review Committee, North Texas Association of Higher Educations Council of Business and Industrial Executives, Engineering Advisory Boards for Georgia Tech and University of Texas in Arlington, the National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, and the FAA Technical Oversight Group on Aging Aircraft (TOGAA); he later received the FAA Award for Extraordinary Service for his participation with TOGAA. Lynn was also a board member of Tarrant County MHMR (originally “Mental Health and Mental Retardation”).

According to Lynn's obituary in the Star-Telegram newspaper, “He was a serial inventor who believed he could find God’s order in science and that learning from failure was the key to success."

AHS is initiating a VFF scholarship in his name. To make a tax-deductible contribution, please note that your donation is in memory of "Bob Lynn."


Posted May 31, 2017