Learning Center Our Enshrinees

Bertrand “Bert” B. Acosta

  • Became the chief flying instructor for the Royal Flying Corps and Canadian Air Service at age 19 where he trained over 400 pilots in Canada without an accident (unheard of at that time).
  • Responsible for pilot testing, rating other engineers, and approving all planes that saw combat in World War I.
  • He became one of the first civilians to receive an officer’s appointment in the Air Service, with the rank of Captain and was one of the few civilians to hold both Army and Navy commissions and pilot ratings.
  • In November 1921, in the Curtiss CR-1, Bert became the first civilian to win the Pulitzer Race and Trophy, setting a speed record in the process. Three weeks later, in the same airplane, he became the first American to exceed 200 mph.
  • Bert was to be the first pilot to lift into the air a record 15,000 pounds of fully loaded aircraft with cargo and four crew members. It was the first heavy multi-engine transport plane to cross the Atlantic and the first transatlantic airmail delivery.

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