The “Flying Eggbeater”

 

Submitted by Kyron “KV” Hall, Historian, USAFHPA

 

If you were born in the 1930’s or 40’s, you probably know what an “eggbeater” is.  If not, you may not. You may use a spoon or fork to stir/mix your eggs for that breakfast omelet. Back in the ‘early days’, some wise guy, (literally), invented a mechanical device that would mix any number of eggs very efficiently and quickly.  You could also use it to mix your pancakes or cake mix.  This magic device was called an “eggbeater”. Today they are electric and commonly known as just “mixer” or if mounted with the big motor, “Mixmaster”.

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When helicopters came on the scene in the early 1940's, they were a great novelty. To just imagine how they flew was mind boggling, thrashing about the sky with its “wings” flying in a circle and making lots of noise. Someone made the comment that they looked like a “flying eggbeater”. For a time they were referred to as "eggbeaters". The eggbeater moniker stuck.  Just like later they were called “choppers”, another nickname that stuck.  (Now it’s “helos” which is a Navy term. Yuck).

 During the early part of World War II (that’s WW “2” to the latest generation, not eleven) Walt Disney Studios created many designs for unit insignia and airplane nose art for the boys in the war.  It seems that “Joe” Kusy and his assistant, George Nicks, came up with some sketches of a flying eggbeater. (www.usafhpa.org/outstanding/joekusy.htm)  (Joe also wrote the “Ten Commandments of Helicopter Flying”).  Apparently from this idea someone asked Disney to come up with a cartoon type design to represent the helicopter. Thence emerged the emblem of the "Flying Eggbeater" piloted by a Disney gremlin (not a bee, Walt was big on Gremlins).  The design floated around for awhile and in the 1950's began to show up in the USAF Helicopter School, I think it might have showed up in a training manual at San Marcos in 1955.??  Anyway, it became prevalent at the School at Stead 1958 - 1965. A patch was made with ‘USAF Helicopter School’ attached and also one with the ‘Flight Instructor’ identifier.  I don’t know if it survived as the School moved around over the later years.

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Former instructor pilots, mostly retired, that at one time were assigned to the USAF Helicopter School at Stead AFB, NV, held a Reunion at Wichita Falls, Texas in 1985. These men were the founders of USAF Helicopter Pilot Association and the "Flying Eggbeater" was adopted as their official logo.

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