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Roy LoPresti

Roy LoPresti: “

Maury Markowitz:

”’LeRoy Patrick ‘Roy’ LoPresti”’ (b. June 9, 1929, d. August 7, 2002) was an America [[aeronautical engineer]] best known for his work in the [[general aviation]] field. He designed the [[Grumman Tiger]] and [[Grumman Cheetah|Cheetah]] aircraft, was Chief Engineer and Vice President of Engineering at [[Mooney]] where he designed the [[Mooney 201]] and its larger cousins, and worked ended at both [[Beech Aircraft]] and [[Piper Aircraft]] before starting his own company, ‘LoPresti Speed Merchants’.

Roy LoPresti was born to Agnes LaRusso and Patrick LoPresti in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. He received a degree in aeronautical engineering from [[New York University]] in 1950. After graduating he joined [[Grumman Aerospace]] on [[Long Island, New York]], but was soon called to serve in the [[US Air Force]] during the [[Korean War]].<ref>[ ‘Roy LoPresti’s Obituary’], LoPresti Speed Merchants</ref> After the war he returned to work at [[Wright Field]] on fighter design, a job he stated was ‘made in heaven.'<ref name=bio>[ ‘Biography of LeRoy LoPresti’], LoPresti Speed Merchants</ref>

When he returned to Grumman he worked on missile designs, but was later put in charge of design at their recently acquired American Aviation division in [[Cleveland, Ohio]]. American Aircraft was the current holder of the [[Bede BD-1]] design rights, after Bede had been forced from the company. The BD-1 had promise, but required numerous fixes that American couldn’t afford on their own. LoPresti re-designed the plane and produced the famed [[Grumman Tiger]] and its derivatives. He stayed at Grumman for 16 years, during which time he worked on the [[Apollo Lunar Module]], among other projects.<ref name=bio/>

During the 1970s he moved to [[Mooney Aircraft]] where he worked on newer versions of the [[Mooney 201]]. He came up with the marketing plan to improve the 201 so that it would fly at 200 mph on 200 hp on the 200th birthday of America — July 4, 1976. He also led design of the 201’s larger cousins, the [[Mooney 231|231]], [[Mooney 252|252]] and [[Mooney 301|301]]. He then moved on to become the Vice President of Engineering at [[Beech Aircraft]] in [[Wichita, Kansas]].<ref name=bio/>

When Beech exited the light plane market, LoPresti quit in 1987 and joined [[Piper Aircraft]] in [[Vero Beach, Florida]]. There he worked on the SwiftFire and SwiftFury designs, based on the [[Globe Swift]].<ref>S. Clayton Moore, [ ‘All in the Family: LoPresti Builds the Perfect Airplane’], ”Airport Journals”, August 2006</ref> They showed the prototype at [[EAA AirVenture]] in 1988 and returned with 131 $10,000 deposits.

However, Piper went bankrupt in 1991, leading to a huge legal squabble over the rights to the designs. LoPresti formed LoPresti Speed Merchants as an upgrade firm, making modifications to existing aircraft to make them fly faster. The company finally gained the rights to what is now called the [[LoPresti Fury]].


(Via Wikipedia – New pages [en].)

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