Learning Center Our Enshrinees

Elmer Ambrose Sperry Sr.

  • Designed and built the first gyrostabilizer to help the pilot control the airplane’s yaw, pitch and roll.
  • Built a high-powered anti-aircraft searchlight and a sensing device to put a plane into a glide when flying too slowly.
  • Received the Collier Trophy in 1914 for his gyrostabilizer achievement.
  • Developed other aircraft safety devices including the GyroTurn Indicator (later known as the turn and bank indicator) and an optical drift indicator which won him the 1916 Collier Trophy.
  • Built the first aerial torpedo in 1917 which later became the first successful guided missile.
  • Developed the automatic pilot, now standard equipment on all commercial, business and military aircraft worldwide.
  • Invented a gyroscopically stabilized bombsight, and combined his aerial gyrocompass, artificial horizon, and radio beacons to achieve the first blind flight in 1929.
  • The U.S. Navy named the USS Sperry in his honor.
  • Sperry’s devices were used in the steamship Queen Mary and in the warships of World War II.
  • Remembered as the father of modern navigational technology.

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