Army Aviation Hall of Fame 2001 Induction
Dr. Samuel Harry Robertson has made unique contributions to Army aviation and aviation in general. These contributions can be summed up in three words - "They saved lives!" Thousands of Army pilots, crewmen and passengers who might otherwise have died in helicopter accidents are living tribute to Robertson, who pioneered crashworthy fuel systems.
He was commissioned in the USAF and flew trainers, fighters and bombers. He also participated in many aircraft accident investigations. These led to his treatise that provided the fundamentals for self-sealing breakaway valves, frangible fasteners, and puncture and tear resistant fuel bladders. An Army study of survivable helicopter accidents covering the period 1967 to 1990 concluded that since the first installation of a crash resistant fuel system in 1970, these installations saved more than 8,000 lives.
He continued to fly with the Air National Guard and later with the Army National Guard. He joined the engineering faculty to develop an Aviation Safety Center. His Crash Survival Investigators School has trained thousands of investigators for the military, other agencies of government and the aviation industry.
In 1976 he founded Robertson Aviation to develop crashworthy auxiliary fuel systems, initially for U.S. Army and USAF special operations helicopters. These are now available for extending the range of all military helicopters.
Robertson is an experimental test pilot, member of the OX 5 Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame, Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame and the National Guard's Legion de Lafayette.