|Richard H. Frost
CAHS Honored in 1989
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Dick Frost was born on November 22, 1916 in Springfield, Ohio. He soloed at Cleveland, Ohio in August 1935 in an OX-5 Travelair 2000, starting an exciting aviation career.
His major secondary education was at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he received a degree in aeronautical engineering. He worked for Pan American Airways for a year, training aircrews, and then for Ahrens Controls as Chief Engineer. In 1943, he went to work for Bell Aircraft as a test pilot, testing production P-39s, P-63s and RP-63 (Pinball) planes. He flew sailplanes, and very-light aircraft, as well as the B-29 mother ship for the X-1, P-80 and the Bell Model 47 helicopter. He also flew the P-59, the country’s first jet fighter) the F7F, and the remote control P-39. It was during this time that he had a very narrow escape from a burning P-39 on a high-altitude test flight resulting in nine months of hospitalization. This experience resulted in a very strong interest in pilot escape devices in his later career. Dick became the project engineer on the first Bell X-1 aircraft during the 1946-47 period. He flew many X-1 chase-fights for General Chuck Yeager, Bob Hoover and others at Edwards Air Force Base.
In 1949, Dick joined Stanley Aircraft in Denver as Senior Vice-President and Project Engineer, where he contributed his expertise in pilot escape systems and escape capsules for high-performance fighters and bombers. In 1960, he organized the Frost Engineering Development Company in Englewood, Colorado, where was responsible for providing skilled employment for over 1000 Coloradans in 35 years. This company engineers and builds many safety products for aviation to protect aircrews for the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Dick is a member of a number of aircraft organizations, including the Caterpillar Club, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. He has received many honors for his part in the supersonic flight test program and his many engineering products and he has been recognized for his contributions to community needs and government. In 1993 he was honored by the Silver Wings Fraternity for his distinguished career.
In 1995 he was inducted into Aviation Week’s Laureates Hall of Fame. At that time he received a lifetime achievement award which recognized his contributions as an experimental test pilot, professional engineer, inventor, and company founder and chairman of Frost Engineering Development Company.
Dick Frost died in the fall of 1996.