Episode 1005 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will mark the passing of a great American who made tremendous contributions to military mobility in Vietnam. Rens H. Swan was on the developmental team that produced a highly successful class of dual rotor helicopters, the H-46 Sea Knight used by the Marine Corps and the H-47 Chinook used by the US Army in that war. Bonnie L. Cook, staff writer, (firstname.lastname@example.org) for The Philadelphia Daily News submitted his obituary titled: Rens H. Swan, 90, engineer on Boeing team that developed the Chinook helicopter.
Most every Vietnam Veteran is familiar with these iconic helicopters either as being a direct recipient of their tremendous lift and maneuver capabilities or just by their impressive presence. Rens Swan was one of those “behind the scenes” geniuses who created the tremendous H-46 and 47 helicopters.
He lived to the ripe old age of 90 and devoted his life to service to his country and his community. Except for a tour of duty in the Navy during World War II as an electronic technician he spent his entire life in the Philadelphia area.
Armed with a degree in mechanical engineering from the Drexel Institute of Technology after World War II he began his engineering career with the Piasecki Helicopter Corp. in Essington. And then worked for its successor, Vertol Aircraft Corp., which became Boeing Vertol and finally the Boeing Co. in Ridley Township, Delaware County. His career spanned 41 years, ending with his retirement in 1991.
In 1956, Vertol created a select team of engineers to handle the Model 107 helicopter project which produced the Chinooks and Sea Knights. Swan was one of those engineers whose responsibility was manager of weight technology – the technical discipline that balances the heft and moment of every component of a new product to ensure its safe, efficient performance.
CLICK HERE for a Boeing rotorcraft history.
If you would like to make a contribution to the Covenant United Methodist Church building fund in memory of Rens Swan send it to the Covenant United Methodist Church, 212 W. Springfield Rd., Springfield, Pa. 19064
Discover more about this wonderful American in episode 1005.