smithsonianHonoree: Ladislao Pazmany

Wall of Honor Location: Foil: 17 Panel: 4 Column: 4 Line: 2

Wall of Honor Level: Air and Space Friend

Honored by: All who knew him

Ladislao lived the spirit of aviation. A pioneer in the field, he was born November 25, 1923 and participated in many of the groundbreaking flying eras of the twentieth century, always on or near the edge of innovation. An aeronautical engineer, designer, builder, pilot, teacher, speaker, and author he passed away on August 21, 2006 at his home in San Diego, CA. His work and reputation as an aeronautical engineer stretches across continents and touches people on every level of aviation, from government officials to young amateur pilots. Animated with a visionary’s passion for flight, and an innate ability for engineering, his design work began with early model airplanes made of wood as a child and continued through six decades of work on gliders, small planes, jets, and missiles, both for private purchase and for the largest defense contractors in America, including Convair, General Dynamics and Rohr. Contributions to the unmanned stealth aircraft were utilized in action during the Iraq war. And for Ryan, the Cloudster was his commercial contribution.

But his first love was always small aircraft: Aviation in the hands of the beginner. The novice. The amateur. The cadet. The homebuilder. Always flying at its purest, most elemental, for those who wanted to learn. And fly. Because at any moment, decade or period of time they are the future. They are the spirit of aviation. Pazmany knew this, lived it and cultivated it. His plans, planes and programs are found in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, and throughout Asia including Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, and Indonesia.

He became recognized as a world authority on landing gear, light aircraft, and flight efficiencies through his books, plans and planes: The Pazmany PL-1 and PL-2, used for training, the PL-4A, a single seat VW powered, T-Tail with folding wings; and the PL-9 Stork, a 3/4 adaptation of the Luftwaffe STOL warbird. He was inducted into the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Hall of Fame in 1997 for his work in Homebuilt Aircraft, and his formulation of the performance and safety oriented “Pazmany Efficiency Test” which set a new standard in aeronautics. He is listed in the international directory Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation.

When receiving an award from the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics) for “Outstanding Technical Achievement In Aerospace Engineering” in 1984, Mr. Pazmany was portrayed in Achiever magazine as “ A man who has pursued, for over four decades, aircraft designs of perfection”. It is an ambition Pazmany compared with a classic symphony. “The ultimate flight efficiencies blended with many components into a single machine.”

Hungarian by heritage, raised in Argentina, and enjoying a long life in the United States with his wife and two daughters, Mr. Pazmany, a man of remarkable strength and perseverance was never more himself than in the last years of failing health when he remained active despite the ordeal of Parkinson’s Disease. Shortly before passing, and ignoring his adversity, he remarked “Life has many good things.” And his spirit, and the spirit of aviation he embodied lives on.

Source: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Wall of Honor