Pitcairn Autogiro Co
Pitcairn-Larsen Autogiro Co Inc
Pitcairn-Cierva Autogiro Company (PCA)
AGA Aviation Corp
G&A Aircraft Inc
The youngest son of John Pitcairn, co-founder of Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, Harold was born in 1897 and took an early interest in aviation. Inspired by the first flight of the Wright brothers in 1903, he began flight training as an air cadet in the last days of WWI, and would eventually earn a pilot's license signed by Orville Wright. Pitcairn was established in the mid-1920s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pitcairn and Agnew Larsen, who he had met in pilot training, produced the Mailwing airmail series biplanes including PA- 5 Mailwing high-performance single-seat mailplane used on U.S. Air Mail routes.
In 1928 Harold Pitcairn ordered a Cierva C.8W (the W was for the American Wright Whirlwind engine), which arrived at Pitcairn Field, Willow Grove, Philadelphia, PA and on December 18, 1928. It made the first rotary-wing flight in America, piloted by Cierva pilot H. C. A. "Dizzy" Rawson, followed the next day by Pitcairn.
In early 1929, Cierva and Pitcairn negotiators agreed that the Pitcairn-Cierva Autogiro Company (PCA) would be formed in America with the rights to license Cierva's patents. Pitcairn threw himself into the development and promotion of the Autogiro - and the results of the next 16 months would earn him and his associates the Collier Trophy for the greatest aviation achievement for 1930.
Pitcairn Aviation Inc turned to autogiro construction with PAA-1 of 1931 and the name changed to Pitcairn Autogiro Company in the early 1930s. They sold a number of PA-18 and -19 autogiros, including a military version of the PA-34 two-seater to the USAAC. Plant and contracts were taken over in 1940 by Pitcairn-Larsen Autogiro Company, in turn succeeded very shortly afterwards by Aga Aviation Corporation.
In 1943 G and A was acquired by the Firestone Aircraft Company of Akron, Ohio, together with almost 200 patents concerned with rotary-wing aircraft. G and A built gliders and experimental autogiros in the Second World War, and carried out subcontract manufacture.
After the company became the G & A Aircraft Division of Firestone, the emergence of Bell and Sikorsky in a depleted post-war market discouraged continuing the helicopter development in the early 1940s.
Firestone was formed in 1946 by name change from G&A Aircraft Inc., a subsidiary of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.