Robert B. C. Noorduyn had joined the Pitcairn company as executive engineer in February 1932 at the commencement of the PA-19 project, the largest Autogiro ever produced – it was equaled only by the C.34 prototype constructed in France by SNCASE in March 1939, which never advanced beyond the testing phase.
The stated goals of the cabin Autogiro were strength, reliability, ease of maintenance, comfort, appearance and luxury. The prototype PA-19 (X13149, later NC13149) was first flown by Jim Ray in September 1932 and was awarded ATC No. 509 on June 23, 1933. When introduced to the public on October 19, 1932, the “cabin” Autogiro was received with acclaim. It “rivaled the luxurious comfort of fine automobiles” suitable for women in skirts and older passengers. And even though the PA-19 rivaled the passenger airplanes in terms of comfort, a far cry from the basic open cockpit models, only five were built and it was not to be an economic success.
By Bruce H. Charnov