Yesterday, Wednesday, January 26, the sad news of the death of Augusto Cicaré, a businessman specializing in helicopters who, with his own hands, managed to build the first helicopter in Latin America at the age of 21.
Self-taught and a native of Polvaredas, in the Buenos Aires town of Saladillo, life did not allow him to study engineering, but it did not prevent him from building what he always wanted: at the age of four, he first saw a photo in a magazine of a Russian helicopter Sikorsky and told his mother that he would build one.
Only 17 years later, with materials that he had in his uncle’s workshop and furniture scraps from his house, he had achieved it. According to an interview he gave to The nation In 2017, he said that when he was only 10 years old, he took over the workshop of his uncle, who was a lathe operator, and even his clients helped him reach things for him because he was still not his height.
He built his first motor for his mother’s washing machine and thus he practiced until he had, piece by piece, his own helicopter that he didn’t know how to handle either, and he tried out a safe training system that he later patented and sold all over the world. This is not a simulation system, but what made it different was that with this still selling system you can safely test a real helicopter.
At 15, he made engines “for the machines in the workshop and parts for the engines of different vehicles; so it was that after making a motorcycle I decided to build a helicopter”, he assured in an interview he had given to Telam.
“At the age of 16 I started making parts that I kept in a closet, I also made an engine based on the experience in the workshop,” he said, adding that “I did everything by success and error and along the way I learned things that since I had only finished primary school I did not know, like the gyroscopic effect that I ended up studying with bicycle wheels“.
the first helicopter
Augusto recalled that “in 1958, at 21, when I had the first helicopter ready, I tied it with chains to the floor to keep it from lifting too sharply or going sideways, because I had no idea how it was going to react when I turned it on.” The first engine was thirty horsepower and “I realized that I was very short of power”, he recalled.
Cicaré, also known as “Pirincho”, always kept a low profile with his work as a young man, until he showed a pilot his helicopter for a return, which was excellent. At first, he didn’t trust him, and told him to make a plane which was much easier. But he decided to continue with the goal he had promised his mother.
Later, when the military forces found out about his work, the same president of that time, Arthuro Illia, congratulated him and encouraged him to continue with his work. He did not last long in the security forces, since then came the dictatorship of 1966 and his program was discontinued.
But just as he had always done, alone and in his workshop, he continued to have a company that today is run by one of his sons, precisely Cicaré, and that until the last moment had man as the protagonist of all construction and innovation work. who passed away at the age of 84 after battling a long illness.
In dialogue with Telam, his son Fernando, said that Augusto he was “a superhero who wore an apron instead of a cape and a French wrench instead of a sword.” He added that he “taught him everything” about helicopters, “to fly it, to assemble it, to design it” and pointed out that in the factory “more than a director, we went hand in hand”
He also managed to patent a specific part for helicopters, but with its low profile, he said that he was even ashamed to say that it was an invention. With humility, he said that he was a builder rather than an inventor, because he had not invented helicopters.
His company continues to sell its helicopters to the whole world and his work was also praised by the former president Mauricio Macri at an IDEA colloquium, as well as visiting him in 2015 on the presidential campaign. Yesterday, upon learning of his death, Macri fired him from his social networks.
Currently, in that same city of Polvaredas, Cicaré street leads to the helicopter factory.
JD / ds