Learning Center Our Enshrinees

Lawrence Burst Sperry Sr.

  • Demonstrated his father’s gyrostabilizer in front of a large crowd at the international airplane safety competition in Paris, France on June 18th, 1914 which earned the Sperrys a 50,000 franc prize.
  • Conceived of a three-way gyrostabilizer to steer bombing planes in 1915.
  • Developed the first amphibious flying boat in 1915 and added lights to it to make night flights.
  • Became one of the first civilians commissioned in the Navy Flying Corps Reserve before the U.S. entered World War I.
  • Formed the Sperry Aircraft Company in 1917 to perfect the gyrostabilizer and other flight instruments.
  • Helped develop the aerial torpedo during World War I.
  • Developed a triplane amphibian in 1918 for the Navy and an improved self-contained parachute.
  • Built the Sperry Messenger biplane for the Army Air Service, followed by the Verville-Sperry Racer which featured a retractable landing gear, clean wing design, and won the 1924 Pulitzer Trophy Race.
  • Converted the Messenger into a private sport plane that can be kept in an ordinary garage in 1922. He later added a releasable landing gear, fuselage skids, and a top wing hook to permit in-flight refueling.

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