16-Sep-2016 Source: AHS
Santino Pancotti, former technical lead for Agusta and AgustaWestland, passed away on Sunday, August 28, 2016. He was 75.
Pancotti was born in Dec. 1940 and joined Agusta in 1958. Initially he worked on Bell 47s licensed from the Fort Worth manufacturer. As a junior designer, he worked on the development of the A102, A103, and A101G which, at that time, was one of the largest rotary wing aircraft in the world.
Pancotti then joined the design group of the then Agusta A109, assuming responsibility for the flight controls and undercarriage. From 1978 to 1983, he worked as a Chief Designer on the A129 Mangusta, the then new light attack helicopter for the Italian Army, which has now evolved into the joint T129 with Turkish Aerospace Industries. The A129 at the time was a unique design, with a fully elastomeric hub without a mechanical hinge, a fly-by-wire backup for the tail rotor and composite blades. It was the first helicopter developed in Europe with a fully integrated avionics and mission system.
In 1982, he was involved in a Joint Agusta/Westland Design Team for the definition of the helicopter EH101 (now Leonardo Helicopters’ AgustaWestland AW101), and, in 1986, he was appointed as a Coordinator of the Vehicle Team in the new European Helicopter Collaboration Program, the NHIndustries NH90.
While Chief Designer in the early 1990s, he was appointed director of the Agusta engineering group whose mission was to modernize the A109. These activities produced the A109 Power as well as the single engine A119 Koala.
In 1997, he was tasked to design a new medium twin helicopter. Pancotti and his team managed to conceive, design, and develop a completely new helicopter — the now AW139 — in less than 42 months, which subsequently was expanded into the AW149, AW169 and AW189 family.
In 2001, Santino Pancotti began his final role with AgustaWestland, as vice president for new products and research activities.
Pancotti held many patents in the design of hubs, rotors and controls for AgustaWestland. In 2000, he conceived of a new tiltrotor/tiltwing design, ERICA. At the time, Agusta had already partnered with Bell Helicopter on its BA609 civil tiltrotor, which Leonardo Helicopters now owns. The ERICA design has now been extrapolated to the 20 passenger Next-Generation Civil Tiltrotor (NGCTR), which is expected to fly in 2021.
In 2002, Santino Pancotti was selected as the 23rd Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lecturer, and presented his prestigious lecture at the 59th Annual AHS International Forum, Phoenix, Arizona in May 2003. His lecture was published in the Journal of the AHS in July 2004: After 50 Years of Helicopter Design, Are Rotorcraft Mature Enough for the Commuter Role?
AHS International is now accepting donations for its Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) to initiate a Santino Pancotti VFF Scholarship. All donations are 100% tax-deductible from US income taxes.