A Legendary Engineer and Aviation Pioneer Took His Last Flight

January 31, 1992

A memorial service was held at Morgan Hill, California, for Ole Fahlin, the world-renowned aviator and propellers manufacturer. He had passed away five days earlier in the Golden State at the age of 90. Fahlin, who was born in the locality of Bollnäs in Sweden in 1901, began pursuing a strong interest in aviation he accompanied his father on a business trip to Germany just after World War I. During their visit there, Ole took flying lessons from a seasoned army pilot in Berlin.

After returning home, Fahlin became a pilot for the Swedish Royal Air Service. He obtained his international pilot’s license from Fédération Aéonautique Internationale in 1921. Fahlin subsequently made his way to the United States and became an American citizen.

Not long after arriving in what became his adopted homeland, Fahlin bought a used Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” biplane for both business and pleasure. He experimented with various propeller designs for that aircraft to improve its performance. These efforts earned Fahlin a reputation for innovation and quality, and he was soon creating propellers for private pilots as well as formula air racers.

Fahlin SF-2 Plymocoupe

Fahlin’s career in manufacturing propellers took off in the ensuing decades. A key example of his work was the Fahlin SF-2 Plymocoupe airplane that he helped develop in 1935. This aircraft had a distinctively multi-modal pedigree since it was built with the engine of a Plymouth automobile and also utilized such components of those vehicles as their dashboards and indicators. Fahlin manufactured propellers for the U.S. government during World War II. After that global conflict ended, he went to California to serve as a consultant for the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.

During the memorial service for Fahlin in 1992, a “missing man flyby” was performed by 10 vintage airplanes piloted by friends as one of the tributes to his life and legacy.

For more information on Ole Fahlin, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ole_Fahlin.

Additional information on the Fahlin SF-2 Plymocoupe is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahlin_SF-2_Plymocoupe.

Information on a U.S. patent issued to Fahlin for one of his propeller designs can be accessed at https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/52/26/9b/8fec2c4fb86384/US1808888.pdf.

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