turned to the University of Washington and, in 1948, was awarded a master’s in aeronautical engineering. Afterward, he gained valuable research experience working in the 12-foot pressure tunnel at Ames, then a part of NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), predecessor of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), at Moffett Field, California. He gained his initial industry experience in fixed-wing engineering at Convair and Douglas Aircraft in Southern California.
In 1950, Dick joined Hiller Aircraft Corporation, Menlo Park, California, as a structures engineer, and, in just three years, he was manager of the Aerostructures Department. He worked closely with the company founder, Stanley Hiller Jr., a pioneer in helicopters (who died on April 20, 2006); at the same time, Dick attended Stanford University, where he earned a Ph.D. in engineering mechanics in 1960.
Dick’s involvement with rotary-wing aircraft began while he was at Hiller, where he was instrumental in providing technology and design contributions to a generation of helicopters, particularly the early application of composite structures, and in developing unique aircraft configurations (e.g., tilting thrusters). Aircraft he worked on include the UH-12B, Hiller Hornet (HJ-1), Navy One-Man Helicopter (XROE), H-23D, UH-12E, X-18 Tilt Wing, OH-5A, and XC-142 Tilt Wing.
In 1964, when Hiller was sold, Dick joined Lockheed California Company in Burbank, where, as an engineer in the Advanced Design Division, he was responsible for aerodynamics, dynamics, structures, and weights development analyses for the AH-56 Compound Helicopter (Cheyenne). While continuing to encourage the development and use of composites in vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft (for example, for the AH-56 propeller, tail rotor, and structural panels), Dick was assigned to support fixed-wing projects related to C-5A wing problems, L-1011 empennage, and development of the supersonic transport (SST) and to serve as a consultant to the Advanced Development Projects activity, also known as the Skunk Works. He worked with many engineering luminaries, such as Kelly Johnson and Jack Real, and was an advisor to Howard Hughes. He directed