Learning Center Our Enshrinees

We Inspire By Sharing Their Stories


They dreamed the dreams. They harnessed the technologies. They created a world where the sky was no longer the limit. The National Aviation Hall of Fame honors these men and women for their contributions and achievements. But it also embraces another key role – spotlighting our air and space pioneers as ordinary people who did extraordinary things. The NAHF is committed to sharing our Enshrinees as role models, inspiring future generations toward their own service, achievement and excellence, no matter their field of choice.

Bertrand “Bert” B. Acosta

Enshrined 2014
January 1, 1895 - September 1, 1954

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...

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Buzz Aldrin

Enshrined 2000
Born January 20, 1930

Assigned to the 51st Fighter Wing in Seoul, Korea in December 1951 and flew 66 combat missions in the F-86. Flew on the Gemini 12 flight with Jim Lovell. Second man to walk on the moon with Neil Armstrong July 20th, 1969 on the Apollo 11 mission. Significantly improved operational techniques for astronautical navigation star display. Leading proponent of civilian space travel. In July 1971 returned to the Air Force as commander of the test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base.

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John R. Alison

Enshrined 2005
November 21, 1912 - June 6, 2011

In the spring of 1941, Alison served as Military attaché in helping transition British, and later Russian, pilots to the P-40. Became a 14th Air Force/23rd Fighter Group “Flying Tiger” squadron commander in China. Was selected by General Arnold to co-command with Phil Cochran the newly formed 1st Air Commando Force established to help General Wingate in Burma. Helped lead OPERATION THURSDAY (March 5, 1944) which was the first nighttime, air invasion. It was also the first time rockets and helicopters were used in a combat operation. Was an executive with Northrop Corporation until his retirement in 1979.

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William McPherson Allen

Enshrined 1971
September 1, 1900 - October 29, 1985

Born: September 1, 1900 in Lolo, Montana. Death: October 29, 1985 Enshrined: 1971 Contributed to the development of the B-17, B-29, B-50, and C-97. President of Boeing from 1945 to 1968 where he introduced the B-47, B-52, KC-135, and the Boeing 707 (the first American jet transport). Under his leadership, Boeing developed the first stage booster to the Apollo-Saturn V rocket and the Lunar Orbiter spacecraft. Received the Collier Trophy for the B-52 and Boeing 747.

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William Alison Anders

Enshrined 2004
Born October 17, 1933

Born: October 17, 1933 in the British Hong Kong Enshrined: 2004 Commissioned into the Air Force as a fighter pilot in all-weather interceptor squadrons of the Air Defense Command. There, he took part in early intercepts of the Soviet bombers that were testing America’s air defense capabilities. Technical manager of radiation shielding and space nuclear power projects at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory. Selected to join the third group of astronauts in 1963 and was capcom for Gemini 8 and backup pilot for Gemini 11. Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 8 (even though there was no lunar module) which was...

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Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson

Enshrined 2013
February 9, 1907 - April 13, 1996

In 1932, Anderson became the first African American to receive an air transport license. Completed first transcontinental round trip flight by black pilots from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Los Angeles, California with Dr. Albert E. Forsythe. Served as the as the Chief Civilian Flight Instructor in Tuskegee, Alabama for its new program to train black pilots. He developed a training program, taught the first advanced course, and earned his nickname, “Chief.” Was selected by the Army as Tuskegee’s Ground Commander and Chief Instructor for aviation cadets of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, America’s first all-black fighter squadron which would eventually...

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Clarence E. Bud Anderson

Enshrined 2008
Born January 13, 1922

Anderson served two combat tours in Europe, flying 116 missions in the P-51 Mustang and was a triple ace. From 1948 through 1953, Anderson was a fighter test pilot and later became Chief of the Fighter Flight Test Section at Wright Patterson where he flew many models of the early jet aircraft From 1957 through 1965, Anderson was assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California where he served as Chief, Flight Test Operations and later as the Deputy Director of Flight Test. During Vietnam, he commanded the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, flying...

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Frank Maxwell Andrews

Enshrined 1986
- May 3, 1943

Born: February 3, 1884, in Nashville, Tennessee. Death: May 3, 1943 Enshrined: 1986 As commanding general of “GHQ Air Force” from 1935-39, he prepared the Army air arm for global war, which “Hap” Arnold characterized as “the first real step ever taken toward an independent United States Air Force.” First airman on the War Department General Staff, directing operations and training Army-wide as assistant chief of staff, G-3, 1939-40. Organized and led the Panama Canal Air Force, later Caribbean Air Force, 1940-41, and prototype for overseas numbered air forces. As the U.S. Theater commander in the Middle East, 1942-43, he...

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Harry George Armstrong

Enshrined 1998
February 17, 1899 - February 5, 1983

Born: February 17, 1899 in De Smet, South Dakota. Death: February 5, 1983 Enshrined: 1998 In 1934 assigned to the Air Corps Research and Development Division at Wright Field, Ohio. The Physiological Research Unit was established in 1935 with Armstrong as the director. With co-worker Dr. Heim, they designed the first centrifuge in America allowing scientists to investigate the physiological effects of G-force on humans. Solely responsible for developing the medical criteria used for both the XC-35 pressurized military plane and the pressurized strata cruiser developed by TWA for commercial aviation. Received the Collier Trophy, along with his co-inventor, for...

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Neil Alden Armstrong

Enshrined 1979
August 5, 1930 - August 25, 2012

World famous for being the first man to step foot on the moon and his subsequent coining of the phrase, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” Neil Armstrong had an uncanny ability for maintaining his composure in high-pressure situations. In fact, his historical moonwalk might not have taken place had it not been for his calm demeanor. Just before landing his Apollo 11’s Eagle lunar module on the moon, Armstrong noticed that it was headed straight for a boulder field. He quickly switched off the vessel’s auto pilot feature and assumed its manual controls. After guiding...

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Henry “Hap” Arnold

Enshrined 1967
June 25, 1886 - January 15, 1950

One of the first pilots taught by the Wright brothers. Established numerous flying records and in 1912 was a recipient of the new Mackay Trophy. Arnold became the first military aviator to use radio to report observations. Transformed March Field, California, in 1931 to an operational base for bombers and pursuit units. After World War I, Arnold organized and activated the first Army Aerial Forest Fire Patrol in Washington, Oregon and California. In 1934, Arnold commanded a flight of 10 B-10 bombers from Washington D.C. to Fairbanks, Alaska. In 1941 became chief of the newly established Army Air Forces. Helped...

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John Leland “Lee” Atwood

Enshrined 1984
October 26, 1904 - March 5, 1999

Was Chief of Advanced Design for the Douglas Company and helped design the DC-1 airliner. Helped design Douglas DC-3 commercial transport, a plane vital to the rise of the passenger airline industry. In 1934 became the Vice President and Chief Engineer at North American Aviation, Inc. where his BT-9 Air Corps trainer launched the company into military aviation. He designed the B-47 plane, the improved BT-14 trainer, the AT-6 Texan combat trainer and the B-25 Mitchell bomber. Originated the design of the P-51 Mustang fighter. Led North American Aviation, as the company designed planes such as the T-6, B-25, F-100,...

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Bernt Balchen

Enshrined 1973
October 23, 1899 - October 17, 1973

In 1926 helped the Amundsen-Ellsworth-Nobile Expedition prepare to fly the dirigible Norge over the North Pole. Chief pilot of the Byrd Antarctic Expedition in 1929, he navigated a Ford tri-motor over the South Pole. Served as technical advisor for Amelia Earhart for her successful flight across the Atlantic. From 1933-35 served as chief pilot of the Lincoln-Ellsworth trans-Antarctic expedition. Assisted the U.S. Air Force in building a base in Greenland and served the Air Force as an expert Arctic aviator. Conducted dangerous resupply operations over Norway in 1944 and completed the first daylight resupply missions into Norway in the war...

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Thomas Scott Baldwin

Enshrined 1964
June 30, 1854 - May 17, 1923

Started working with hot air balloons during his career as an acrobat in the circus. His act included performing on a trapeze bar attached to an ascending hot air balloon. Made nearly 3,000 balloon ascents throughout the U.S. Considered the “Father of the Modern Parachute” as he created the parachute to be a part of his circus act. Neither he nor his brother ever patented their parachute design and construction. Baldwin later commented, “We never thought anyone else would care to try it.” Pioneered the construction and operation of the first dirigibles in America. In 1911, Baldwin designed his own...

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Lincoln Beachey

Enshrined 1966
March 3, 1887 - March 14, 1915

Widely regarded as America’s first stunt pilot. He was a member of the Curtiss Exhibition Team and became their ace pilot. In an attempt to promote his exhibition flights, Beachey flew his dirigible around the Washington Monument, then down the Mall to the White House where he landed on the grounds and marched in to see President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. President Roosevelt was not there, but the promotion worked and Beachey’s appearance was booked throughout the country. In 1911 he made a breath-taking flight over Niagara Falls and through its gorge, setting a world altitude record. Discovered how to recover...

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Alan L. Bean

Enshrined 2010
March 15, 1932 - May 26, 2018

Attended Navy Test Pilot School and served as a test pilot for several types of Naval aircraft. Selected by NASA in 1963 as apart of its third group of astronauts. Bean served on the backup crews for Gemini 10 and Apollo 9 and was later selected to be the lunar module pilot for Apollo 12. Shortly after the Apollo 12 liftoff, the Saturn V booster was struck by lightning twice which turned off the spacecraft’s fuel cells. A quick-thinking ground controller asked the crew to throw an obscure switch, and Bean with his legendary attention to detail knew where the...

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Olive Beech

Enshrined 1973
September 25, 1903 - July 6, 1993

In 1929, Olive Ann had played a vital behind-the-scenes-role when the speedy Travel Air “Mystery Ship” won the first Thompson Trophy Race, thus becoming the first civilian plane to defeat the fastest military fighters in open competition. Formed the Beech Aircraft Company with her husband Walter. In 1934 they introduced the Beechcraft Staggerwing biplane to serve corporate and airline needs. Suggested that the entry of a woman in the 1936 transcontinental Bendix Trophy Race to advertise the Staggerwing. Louise Thaden (enshrined in 1999) not only promoted the aircraft, but competed against the nation’s best male pilots and won the coveted...

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Walter Beech

Enshrined 1977
January 30, 1891 - November 29, 1950

Formed the Travel Air Manufacturing Company in 1924 where it’s biplane won the Ford Reliability Tour in 1925 and 1926 . He and navigator Brice Goldsborough demonstrated the practicability of “blind flight” in their instrumented Beech Travel Air “Special” biplane during the 1926 Ford Reliability Tour. In 1927 the Beech cabin planes made the first commercial flight from California to Hawaii and won the Dole Air Derby. Served as Vice President of Travel Air when it merged with the Curtiss-Wright corporation until it’s shutdown as a result of the Great Depression. Formed the Beech Aircraft Company with his wife, Olive,...

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Alexander Graham Bell

Enshrined 1965
March 3, 1847 - August 2, 1922

Invented the telephone. He developed the tetrahedral cell with aerodynamic lift and tested a variety of kites formed with these cells. His “Frost King” kite lifted a man, clinging to its rope, off the ground in 1905. Once, he even tied his kite to a galloping horse and hauled it aloft. His “Cygnet” kite flew for seven minutes at a height of 168 feet with a man on board in 1907. Formed the Aerial Experiment Association in 1907 with Lt. Thomas Selfridge, Glenn H. Curtiss, J. A. D. McCurdy, and F. W. Baldwin. His Aerial Experiment Association’s June Bug won...

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Lawrence Dale Bell

Enshrined 1977
April 5, 1894 - October 20, 1956

In 1935 formed the Bell Aircraft Corporation to develop advanced military airplanes, including the B-29 Superfortress and the first U.S. jet airplane the P-59. Developed and produced the first commercially licensed helicopter in 1946. In 1947 received the Collier Trophy for the rocket powered Bell X-1 breaking the sound barrier with Chuck Yeager. Developed guided bombs, missiles, and rocket engines as well as vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

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Giuseppe Mario Bellanca

Enshrined 1973
March 19, 1886 - December 26, 1960

Came to the U.S. in 1910 and built his first successful aircraft in 1913, a parasol monoplane with a propeller in front, wing in the middle and a tail aft. Opened a flying school in 1914 after teaching himself to fly a monoplane. His 1916 design became state-of-the-art for its time and won 13 first place prizes in the four meets in which it completed. Worked for the Wright Aeronautical Corp in 1924 and designed the Wright-Bellanca WB-1 and WB-2. The WB-2 was later renamed the Columbia. Started his own company, the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, where his Miss Veedol aircraft...

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Victor Hugo Bendix

Enshrined 1991
December 12, 1881 - March 27, 1945

1930 invented the pressure carburetor for aircraft engines. During World War II, every Allied aircraft engine used the carburetor. In the 1930s Bendix established the Bendix Transcontinental Air Race to encourage experimental developments by airplane designers and to improve the skills of aviators in cross-country flying. Jimmy Doolittle won the first race in 1931, flying at an average speed of 223 mph from Los Angeles to Cleveland in nine hours and 10 minutes. He formed Bendix Helicopter, Inc. in 1944 to develop a four-passenger helicopter.

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Guion “Guy” S. Bluford Jr.

Enshrined 2019
Born November 22, 1942

Started college at Penn State and holds a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate in aerospace engineering. Joined the United States Air Force where he earned his pilot’s wings, commercial pilot’s license, and went to F4C combat training. During the Vietnam war, he flew in 144 combat missions. He then became a T-38 instructor pilot and taught an Undergraduate Pilot Training program. He was one of 3 African Americans to be selected for the 8th class of NASA Astronauts and the first Africa American in space. In 1983, Guy Bluford flew on STS-8 aboard the Challenger and became the first African American...

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William Edward Boeing

Enshrined 1966
October 1, 1881 - September 28, 1956

1916, Established the Pacific Airplane Company, which became the Boeing Airplane Company a year later and built its first two planes, both float biplanes. 1926 established the Boeing Air Transport service for mail and passenger service. By February 1929, the BAT became the largest aviation company. Boeing shrewdly purchased airmail routes and small aircraft companies, often purchasing failing companies with the assurance that the employees would maintain their jobs. Helped create the United Aircraft and Transport Company (known as “United” today) and served as chairman. Awarded the Daniel Guggenheim Award in 1934.

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Charles F. Bolden

Enshrined 2017
Born August 19, 1946

Earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Science from the U.S. Naval Academy and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps where he became a combat aviator in 1968. From 1972 to 1973, he flew over 100 sorties in the A-6A Intruder in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia In 1977, he graduated with a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California and Naval Test Pilot School graduate from Patuxent River, Maryland As a test pilot, Bolden flew over 6,000 hours assessing projects including the A-6E, EA-6B, and A-7C/E In 1980, he was selected as...

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Richard Ira Bong

Enshrined 1986
September 24, 1920 - August 6, 1945

January, 1943 became an “ace” with five confirmed victories in just over a month. In April 1944 he recorded his 27th victory to pass Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I ace with 26 victories. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor in December 1944. After two years of combat, including over 200 missions, Bong had 40-recorded victories and seven probable victories. On Aug. 6th, 1945, in a test flight of the P-80 his plane exploded and Bong was killed. Coincidently, it happened the very same day the Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

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Frank Borman

Enshrined 1982
Born March 14, 1928

Received a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and became an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy. Upon completing the aerospace pilot school at Edwards A.F.B., he served there as an instructor, project officer and test pilot. Commander of Gemini 7, which made the first rendezvous of spacecraft in orbit. Served on the board investigating the fire onboard the Apollo spacecraft in the Apollo lunar landing program and directed the re-engineering of the Apollo spacecraft as the Apollo program resident manager. Commanded Apollo 8, which became the first manned spacecraft to leave the earth’s...

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Albert Boyd

Enshrined 1984
November 22, 1906 - September 18, 1976

In 1939, he became an engineering officer at the Hawaiian Air Depot. After Pearl Harbor, he directed the Depot’s assembly on new aircraft, rushed supplies to the battle zones, and tested every aircraft for combat readiness. In 1944, he was the Deputy Chief and later Chief of the Maintenance Division at Patterson Field, Ohio, directing eleven air material depots. Commanded the Eighth Air Force Service command in the Pacific after Germany’s surrender in 1945. After World War II, he became Chief of the Flight Test Division at Wright Field, Ohio. Responsible for developing the Test Pilot School and transferring it...

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Gregory “Pappy” Boyington

Enshrined 2019
December 4, 1912 - January 11, 1988

Was a member of ROTC while at the University of Washington. Upon graduating with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1934, he served with the Coast Artillery Reserve in Washington State and also worked as a draftsman in Tacoma, Washington at Boeing Aircraft. Was designated a Naval Aviator flying for the Marine Corp in San Diego in 1937. Joined the American Volunteer Group (which became known as the “Flying Tigers”) in 1941 to defend the China/Burma road from Japanese Aggression.  He became an ace in the Flying Tigers with 6 victories. Rejoined the Marine Corp once the United States entered...

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Walter James Boyne

Enshrined 2007
February 2, 1929 - January 9, 2020

Was a nuclear test pilot with the 4925th Nuclear Test Group flying B-47’s and B-52’s at Kirtland Air Force Base. He became a “nuclear ace” for dropping five nuclear bombs during tests. Accumulated over 5,000 flying hours by the time he retired from the United States Air Force as a colonel in 1974. 120 of these hours were completed while serving in combat during the Vietnam war as a C-47 instructor. In 1983, Boyne was named Director of the National Air and Space Museum. Under his tenure, he established the Air and Space magazine and negotiated an agreement to fly...

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Mark Edward Bradley

Enshrined 1992
December 10, 1907 - May 22, 1999

Project manager for the P-40 in 1940. In 1943, as P-47s were arriving in England, Bradley was assigned to ready the planes for combat. Assigned as Chief of the Flight Test Section at Wright Field. Large bombers proved effective in destroying German military installations; however, they were inadequate to defend themselves against the faster German fighter planes. Bradley recognized the problem and placed an extra 80-100 gallon gas tank behind the pilot’s seat in a P-51, enabling the plane to escort bombers into Germany. He flew this first test plane himself. Became a four-star general in 1962 when he was...

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Patrick Henry Brady

Enshrined 2013
Born October 1, 1936

In 1959, he graduated from Seattle University with a degree in psychology and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps. In January of 1964, Brady volunteered for Vietnam and was assigned to the 57th Medical Detachment Helicopter Ambulance under Major Charles Kelly. The unit’s call-sign was “Dust Off,” a cry for help and was the most famous of all Vietnam call-signs. Brady returned to Vietnam on a second tour in 1967 with the 54th medical detachment whom he trained to use daring techniques never before attempted in combat. On October 9, 1969, Brady was presented with the...

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George Scratchley Brown

Enshrined 1985
August 17, 1918 - December 5, 1978

Member of the 329th Bomb Squadron and flew 25 missions from England before transferring to the Italian Front. Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1943 for assuming command of the Ploesti, Romania oil fields low altitude raid after the group commander and ten others planes were shot down. Appointed assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in May 1966. Took command of the Seventh Air Force in Vietnam in August, 1968. Became commander of the Air Force Systems Command Headquarters at Andrews Air Force Base in September 1970. Became Air Force Chief of Staff in August, 1973....

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Clayton John Brukner

Enshrined 1997
December 18, 1896 - December 26, 1977

Helped form the DBJ Aeroplane Company in 1919. After many name changes, it became known as the Waco Aircraft Company in 1929. Created the Model 9 in 1925 which was the first plane to be manufactured on an assembly line in the U.S. and the first Waco to use blueprints in construction. Produced the Waco Taperwing which was so popular, that Charles Lindbergh personally delivered one to Waco distributor and pilot, Tex La Grone and it became the standard acrobatic plane of the commercial field. Waco produced the UPF-7 trainer first for the Army Air Forces and later was produced...

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Eugene Bullard

Enshrined 2020
October 9, 1895 - October 12, 1961

Joined the French Foreign Legion during WWI and was awarded the Croix-de-Guerre with stars for his heroic acts during the Battle of Verdun. Flew 20 missions in his Spad VII as the first African American combat aviator Honorably discharged from the French Foreign Legion after being wounded three times and downing at least two German aircraft. Offered his services to the US Army Air Service when the United States entered the war in 1917, but was denied since African Americans were prohibited from flying in the Army. Worked for the Nazi Resistance in France at the start of WWII before...

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Richard Evelyn Byrd

Enshrined 1968
October 25, 1888 - March 11, 1957

Graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1912. In 1925, he led the Naval Aviation Unit accompanying the MacMillan expeditions to Greenland. Received the Medal of Honor for his epic flight over the North Pole in May of 1926. Led an expedition to Antarctica in 1928 and established the “Little America” base. Participated in a flight in November 1929 over the South Pole making him the first man to fly over both poles. Returned to Antarctica with his second expedition in 1934 and spent many months alone making detailed weather observations. His 1940 expedition colonized a portion of Antarctica...

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Robert L. Cardenas

Enshrined 2015
March 10, 1920 - March 10, 2022

Was a member of the 44th Bomb Group in England as a B-24 Liberator pilot. On his 20th mission, March 18, 1944, his plane was heavily damaged by flak, and the injured crew bailed out near Switzerland. Narrowly avoiding capture by the Germans, Cardenas was interned by the Swiss. In May, he escaped to France and returned to England in October. Major Cardenas’ roles included Chief of the Bomber Operations Section of the Flight Test Division upon graduating from the Experimental Flight Test School in November of 1944 where he tested, evaluated, and gathered data on U.S. and captured German...

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Marion Eugene Carl

Enshrined 2001
November 1, 1915 - June 28, 1998

Scored 15.5 aerial victories by the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II becoming the Marine Corps’ first ace. He ended his World War II combat in 1944 with 18.5 victories. Flew as a test pilot after World War II and became the first Marine Corps aviator to operate a jet aircraft from a carrier. Set a world speed record of 651 mph on August 25th, 1947, flying a Douglas Skystreak at Muroc Field, now Edwards Air Force Base in California. Commanded the first Marine jet squadron, led the first Marine jet aerobatic team, was the first Marine helicopter pilot,...

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M. Scott Carpenter

Enshrined 2017
May 1, 1925 - October 10, 2013

Flew P2V’s in anti-submarine patrols and shipping surveillance missions during the Korean War. Attended the Navy General Line School and then the Navy Air Intelligence School in 195l. In 1958 he was assigned to the USS Hornet aircraft carrier as the air intelligence officer. Before he had the opportunity to head out to sea, he was selected to be one of NASA’s original seven Mercury Astronauts on April 9th, 1959. Served as John Glenn’s backup pilot, during preparation for the United States’ first manned orbital space flight in February of 1962. In May of 1962, Carpenter became the fourth American...

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Eugene Andrew Cernan

Enshrined 2000
March 14, 1934 - January 16, 2017

Pilot & Astronaut Born: March 14, 1934 in Chicago, Illinois. Death: January 16, 2017 Enshrined: 2000 Logged more than 5,000 hours of flying time as a Naval Aviator, 4,800 of these in jets, and made more than 200 carrier landings. In October 1963, NASA selected him for the astronaut program. First ventured into space as pilot of Gemini 9. His then record two hours, ten minute spacewalk took place while his spacecraft completed one full orbit of the Earth. Served as the lunar module pilot for Apollo 10 in May of 1969 and flew the module, Snoopy, within ten miles...

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Clyde Vernon Cessna

Enshrined 1978
December 5, 1879 - November 20, 1954

Entrepreneur Born: December 5, 1879 in Hawthorne, Iowa. Death: November 20, 1954 Enshrined: 1978 Built his own monoplane and taught himself how to fly in 1911. His second plane, named The Comet, featured a partially enclosed cockpit and he made thirty breath-taking exhibitions in it, thrilling thousands with his twisting dives and steep banks and setting an unbelievable speed record of 125 miles per hour. Helped form Travel Air Manufacturing Company and developed advanced monoplane models as well as biplanes. In 1927, two monoplane models the City of Oakland and the Wollaroc set transpacific records. Cessna then formed Cessna Aircraft...

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Clarence Duncan Chamberlin

Enshrined 1976
November 11, 1893 - October 31, 1976

Joined the aviation section of the Signal Corps in 1917 and earned his wings. He resigned from his commission in 1919 and went into business. Flew as a barnstormer before engaging in commercial aerial photography and advertising. In 1924, his Chamberlin-Rowe Aircraft Company converted war planes into commercial aircraft. Joined the Wright Aeronautical Corporation, that built the Wright-Bellanca WB-2 monoplane. He and Bertram Acosta used the WB-2 to set a world’s endurance record of over 51 hours in 1927 Took off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York on June 4, 1927 with Charles A. Levine with the goal to...

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Octave Chanute

Enshrined 1963
February 18, 1832 - November 23, 1910

Published his classic book Progress in Flying Machines in 1894. Began to search for automatic flight control in 1896 by designing and building a series of gliders which flew successfully. Visited the Wright Brothers in 1901 and encouraged them in their gliding experiments, typifying his role as a collector and disseminator of aeronautical information and demonstrating his faith in the ultimate success of man to achieve powered flight. Made Europe aware of the success of the Wright Brothers.

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Claire Lee Chennault

Enshrined 1972
September 6, 1893 - July 27, 1958

Taught public school before receiving a commission as a first lieutenant in the Infantry Reserve in 1917. Served in the aviation section of the Signal Reserve Corps during World War I. Took command of the 19th Pursuit Squadron in Hawaii in 1923 and began a study of pursuit plane tactics. Became director of flying at Brooks Field, Texas in 1928 continuing his study of pursuit tactics. At the 1934 and 1935 National Air Races, his newly formed “Three Men On a Flying Trapeze” acrobatic team demonstrated pursuit concepts he developed. After retiring from the Air Corps in 1937, he became...

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Geraldyn “Jerrie” M. Cobb

Enshrined 2012
March 5, 1931 - March 18, 2019

Not only earned her commercial pilot’s license by age 18, but was a certified ground instructor with ratings in civil air regulations, navigation, meteorology, airframe, and engines. Over the next several years Jerrie set several aviation records for speed, distance, and altitude in a twin-engine Aero Commander, earning her a job with the type’s manufacturer as both a pilot and a manager. Selected in September of 1959 to be among thirteen women subjected to the Mercury astronaut selection process and completed all three phases of the rigorous program.Three years into the program, it was shut down by NASA. Become a...

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Jacqueline Cochran

Enshrined 1971
May 11, 1906 - August 9, 1980

Flew in the London, England to Melbourne, Australia race in 1934. In 1935, she became the first woman to fly in the Bendix Trophy Race, which she later won in 1938. Became the first woman to make a blind instrument landing in 1937. Set new women’s records during 1939-40, in altitude, and open class speed. Was the first woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic Ocean, leading to the formation of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) program for which she received the Distinguished Service Medal. Received the Harmon Trophy in 1950 as the Aviatrix of the Decade....

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Bessie Coleman

Enshrined 2006
January 26, 1892 - April 30, 1926

Could not find a flight instructor willing to teach her in the United States due to prejudice, so she learned French and saved up the money to go to flight school in France. On June 15, 1921, she was the first woman of African-American descent, and also the first of Native-American descent, to hold a pilot license. Toured the country barnstorming and giving lectures to raise money for an African-American flying school. Only performed if the crowds were desegregated and entered through the same gates. Following her death, William J. Powell established the Bessie Coleman Aero Club in Los Angeles...

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Eileen Marie Collins

Enshrined 2009
Born November 19, 1956

In the first class at Vance Air Force Base to include women, and remained at Vance as a T-38 instructor pilot. Assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado 1986 to 1989, where she was an assistant professor in mathematics and a T-41 instructor pilot. In July 1991, Collins became an astronaut. She went on to serve as Pilot aboard STS-63 and STS-84, and Commander aboard STS-93 and STS-114, logging over 872 hours in space. The deployment of the Chandra X-Ray on the STS-93 mission was, in Collins opinion, the most rewarding stating,”the thousands of people involved in the...

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Michael Collins

Enshrined 1985
October 31, 1930 - April 28, 2021

In 1963, was among the third group of 14 astronauts selected for training. Piloted the Gemini 10 in 1966 which became the second spacecraft in history to dock with another. Seventeenth American to fly in space. Served as CAPCOM for the Apollo 8 mission which was the first flight to leave low Earth orbit, reach the moon, orbit it and return. Compiled a 117 page book for the Apollo 11 mission with numerous scenarios to have at hand if needed. Collins also created the now iconic Apollo 11 mission patch. Command Module Pilot of the Apollo 11 mission. Though Collins...

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Harry Benjamin Combs

Enshrined 1996
January 27, 1913 - December 23, 2003

Built and flight-tested a sport biplane named Vamp Bat in 1929 at the age of 16. Formed Mountain States Aviation with a partner in 1938, a fixed base operation and flying school that later became Combs Aircraft. In 1939, he designed, built and tested the Combscraft. During World War II, Combs Aircraft Company trained 9,000 military pilots. Joined the Army Air Forces during World War II, flying C-54 transports across the North Atlantic, Africa and India. President Kennedy appointed Combs to “Project Beacon” the project that helped form our present air traffic control system. NASA consultant during the formative days...

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Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr.

Enshrined 1980
June 2, 1930 - July 8, 1999

Among the selectees of “Project Gemini” in 1962. Pilot of Gemini 5 in 1965, which made 120 orbits around the earth and set an endurance record of 191 hours in space, ultimately proving humans could stay in space long enough to make it to the moon. Commanded Gemini 11 in 1966 which caught and linked up with an Agena satellite, using the Agena engine to rocket to a then-record altitude of 850 miles. Commanded Apollo 12 in November 1969 where he was the third person to walk on the moon and also received the dubious honor of being the first...

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Laurence Carbee Craigie

Enshrined 2000
January 26, 1902 - February 27, 1994

Graduated from West Point in 1923 and soon thereafter earned his wings. Became the 44th member of the “Caterpillar Club”, a select group of airmen who have parachuted from a disabled aircraft. Flew more than 100 hours per month from 1929 to 1931 while stationed at France Field, Panama Canal Zone, with the 7th Observation Squadron. Became America’s first military jet pilot on October 2, 1942 in the XP-59A. Named Allied Air Commander of Corsica in 1944 and participated in the invasion of southern France. The 63rd Fighter Wing, commanded by Craigie, played an important role, providing air cover for...

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Frederick Coolidge Crawford

Enshrined 1993
March 19, 1891 - December 9, 1994

Earned his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Harvard in 1913, then pursued his graduate degree in the Harvard School of Applied Sciences. Enlisted in the U.S. Navy Aviation Corps and was studying at the ground school in aviation when the armistice that ended the war was signed. In 1933, Crawford became president of Thompson Products which developed a valve that could run 300 hours in an aircraft engine without overheating and was used on the famous Spirit of St. Louis. Crawford helped organize the National Air Race Corporation in 1929 and convinced Thompson Products to sponsor the Thompson Trophy,...

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Robert L. Crippen

Enshrined 2016
Born September 11, 1937

Served as an attack pilot with the fleet Squadron VA-72, flying the A-4 Skyhawk on the aircraft carrier USS Independence from June 1962 to November 1964. Assigned to Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California, from 1964 to 1966, first as a student then as an instructor. Assigned as an Air Force astronaut to the second group of aerospace research pilots for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program in 1966. When the project was canceled in June of 1969, Crippen became an astronaut with NASA. Participated in the Skylab Medical Experiment Altitude Test and served as...

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Albert Scott Crossfield

Enshrined 1983
October 2, 1921 - April 19, 2006

Joined Navy Air Group 51 as its Engineering Officer. The group was training with the Hellcat fighters in preparation for the invasion of Japan. Became a research test pilot at National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics’s High Speed Flight Research Station at Edwards Air Force Base. Flew the X-1, X-4, and X-5 aircraft and also made the first flights to produce zero gravity effects. Played a major role in the design and development of the X-15 and was the first person to make its test flight. Became Director of Space and Missile System Testing in 1961 at North American’s space and...

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Alfred Austell Cunningham

Enshrined 1965
March 8, 1881 - May 27, 1939

Became the Marine Corps’ first Aviator on August 20, 1912. Participated in the first Naval Aviation exercises in Cuba in 1913, demonstrating the first use of air-planes in scouting missions. Served on a Board to plan and organize the Naval Aeronautical Service and recommended establishment of a Navy Air Department, a Naval Air Station at Pensacola, and placing an airplane aboard every battleship. Became the first Marine or Navy officer to take instructions and learn to fly landplanes. On July 16, 1916 he made the first airplane catapult from a warship. Placed in command of the First Marine Aviation Force...

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R. Walter “Walt” Cunningham

Enshrined 2018
Born March 16, 1932

Was one of the first second lieutenants assigned to the All-Weather Jet Night Fighters (F3D). Flew 54 missions in Korea with VMF-513, over 60 percent of which were at night and in bad weather. Selected by NASA in 1963 to be apart of the third group of astronauts. Flew the first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 7, where he became the second Marine Corps Pilot to fly in space. Made Chief of the Skylab Branch of the Astronaut Office; working on the design and development of five manned space modules, two different launch vehicles, and 65 major onboard scientific experiments. Appointed...

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Glenn Hammond Curtiss

Enshrined 1964
May 21, 1878 - July 23, 1930

Formed the G.H. Curtiss Manufacturing Company, whose lightweight air cooled engines were masterpieces, and then, the best available in the United States. Met with Captain Thomas Scott Baldwin (enshrined 1964) and sold him a two-cylinder air-cooled motor of 5 horsepower for his airship, the California Arrow. The California Arrow’s first flight is considered the first successful dirigible flight in America. Credited with the development of ailerons, which resulted in a lawsuit by the Wright Brothers who claimed ailerons infringed on their wing warping concept. Joined the Aerial Experiment Association (AEA) headed by Alexander Graham Bell in 1907. Won the first...

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John R. “Jack” Dailey

Enshrined 2018
Born February 17, 1934

Served two tours in Vietnam where he completed 450 combat missions and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Navy Commendation Medal, and 24 Air Medals. First General Officer to complete helo transition at Whiting Field. This course has now become a standard for non-help qualified General Officers. Commander of the 1st Marine Amphibious Brigade, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii where he flew the F-4S, CH-46E, CH-53D, and UH-1N aircraft. Appointed to General and assumed the post as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on August 1, 1990. His operational experience includes over 7,500 flying hours in fighters, light attack, reconnaissance and...

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William G. “Bill” Dana

Enshrined 2018
November 3, 1930 - May 6, 2014

Graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned in the United States Air Force in 1952. Named project pilot of NASA’s  F-100C in 1957 and the L-19 aircraft in 1963. Appointed a NASA project pilot of the X-15 rocket research airplane in 1965. He flew the X-15 sixteen times, attaining a speed of Mach 5.5 (3897 miles per hour) and an altitude of 307,000 feet. In October, 1968, Dana flew the 199th and final flight of the program. Served as research pilot on several lifting body aircraft including the HL-10, flying it multiple times and...

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Herbert Arthur Dargue

Enshrined 1997
November 17, 1886 - December 12, 1941

Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1911. Along with Lt. J.O. Mauborgne, he became the first Army airmen to transmit and receive radio messages while in flight. Transferred to the 1st Aero Squadron at San Antonio where he flew surveillance of the U.S.-Mexico border to pursue Pancho Villa. Made the first planned Army night flight and landing with another pilot in 1917. Established and later commanded the School for Aerial Observation in Oklahoma. Chosen as Commanding Officer of the record-making Pan-American Good Will Flight, the first aerial circumnavigation of South America, in 1926. Assigned as commanding officer of the...

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Benjamin O. Davis Jr.

Enshrined 1994
December 18, 1912 - July 4, 2002

The first black cadet in the 20th century to graduate from West Point. Ordered to attend pilot training at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama in 1941 and then take command of the first all-black flying unit . In March of 1942, he became the first black pilot to earn his wings. Personally stopped a recommendation, which called for the removal of black squadrons from combat duty. Led the 332nd Fighter Group into battle in Italy and inspired them in the same manner as the 99th whom he led in North Africa. His men continued to prove that performance in...

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George Everette “Bud” Day

Enshrined 2016
February 24, 1925 - July 27, 2013

Flew two Korean War tours in the Republic F-84 Thunderjet with the 559th Strategic Fighter Squadron. Commanded the ROTC unit at St. Louis University and served as assistant professor of aerospace science from June, 1959 to August, 1963. Served for two and a half years as an Air Force Advisor to the New York Air National Guard at Niagara Falls Air Force Base. Volunteered for a tour in Vietnam in 1967 where his first assignment was in South Vietnam as an F-100 Assistant Operations Officer at Tuy Hoa Air Base. After 72 missions, in June 1967 he was reassigned to...

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Alexander Procofieff DeSeversky

Enshrined 1970
June 7, 1894 - August 24, 1974

Came to the United States and offered his services to the U.S. War Department, making outstanding contributions to the production of the SE-5 fighter. Became special consultant in 1921 and an advisor in the famous “Airplanes Versus Warships” bombing test. Invented the in-flight refueling method and developed the first gyroscopically stabilized bombsight. Founded the Seversky Aircraft Corporation and developed an advanced design amphibian in which he set world speed records in 1933-35. Developed an all metal monoplane which set speed records in the 1933-39 National Air Races and a transcontinental record in 1938. Developed the P-35 fighter and its design...

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James “Jimmy” Doolittle

Enshrined 1967
December 14, 1896 - September 27, 1993

Directed experimental flying at McCook Field. Made the first air crossing of the U.S. in under 24 hours in 1922. Won the Schneider Cup Seaplane Race in 1925 and made the first outside loop in 1927. Made the world’s first totally blind flight on September 24, 1929. Won the Thompson Trophy in 1932 flying the Gee Bee R-1 at a speed of 296 mph saying it was the most dangerous airplane he ever flew. Flew in the National Air Races, winning the Transport, the Bendix, and the Thompson Trophy races. Lead the famous B-25 Tokyo raid in April 1942 from...

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Donald Willis Douglas

Enshrined 1969
April 6, 1892 - February 1, 1981

Inovator Born: April 6, 1892 in Brooklyn, New York Death: February 1, 1981 Enshrined: 1969 Became Chief Engineer of the Glenn L. Martin Company in 1915, then appointed Chief Civilian Aeronautical Engineer of the Aviation section in 1916. He rejoined Martin in 1917 and designed the famous Martin Bomber during World War I. Created the Cloudster which was the first airplane to lift a payload equal to its own weight. Built the Douglas World Cruisers that made the first flight around the world in 1924. Received the Collier Trophy in 1935 for his DC-2 airliner. Introduced the DC-3 in 1935...

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Charles Stark Draper

Enshrined 1981
October 2, 1901 - July 25, 1987

Developed the gyroscopic fire control systems and inertial guidance and navigation systems for aircraft. Enabled the United States to produce reliable ballistic missiles through his development of precision computer-controlled and programmable inertial guidance and navigation systems. Created innovative educational processes that effectively interfaced academic education with aeronautical and astronautical engineering and science.

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Charles “Charlie” Duke

Enshrined 2019
Born October 3, 1935

After graduating from Test Pilot School and the Aerospace Research Pilots School, he was assigned as an instructor teaching control systems to future astronauts and flying the F-101, F-104, F-106, T-38, and T-33 aircraft. Became a member of the support crew for Apollo 10, was CAPCOM for the Apollo 11 mission, and served on the backup crew for Apollo 13. Served as Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 16 becoming the 10th (and youngest) man to set foot on the moon. In total, Duke was involved with 5 of the 9 missions to the moon. Aided in the early design of...

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Ira Clarence Eaker

Enshrined 1970
April 13, 1896 - August 6, 1987

Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1926 for his participation in a Pan-American goodwill flight to South America. Chief pilot of the Question Mark in 1929 which set an in-flight refueling record of 150 hours. Made the first blind transcontinental flight in 1936. Organized the VIII bomber command and led the first heavy bomber raids over Europe during World War II. Commanded the Eighth Air Force, which then consisted of all U.S. Army Air Forces in the United Kingdom. Led the Mediterranean Allied Air forces during the invasion of Italy and southern France in 1944. Became deputy commander of the...

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Amelia Putnam Earhart

Enshrined 1968
July 24, 1897 - January 5, 1939

“Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace with yourself.” These are the words of Amelia Earhart, one of the world’s most celebrated aviators, a woman who broke records and charted new waters. Her insistence of being her own person, while fighting for causes larger than herself, continues to command our respect and fuel our dreams. In1932, she was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Amelia paved the way for the thousands of women in aviation who followed her, from Air Force pilots, to captains on commercial planes, to women astronauts traveling in space....

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Carl Benjamin Eielson

Enshrined 1985
1897 - 1929

Born in the small rural community of Hatton, North Dakota, Eielson went on to bring aviation to the most remote areas of the globe. After earning his wings at March Field in 1919, he received an honorable discharge from the service and returned to the University of North Dakota to complete a law degree. Eielson first traveled to Alaska in 1923 to teach high school. However when area businessmen learned of his pilot skills, they bought him a war-surplus “Jenny” and jointly formed the Fairbanks Airplane Corporation. In these first commercial flights in Alaska, Eielson took passengers for joyrides, flew...

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Theodore “Spuds” Ellyson

Enshrined 1965
- February 27, 1928

Pioneer & Test Pilot Born: February 27, 1885, in Richmond, Virginia Death: February 27, 1928 Enshrined: 1965 The first naval officer assigned to aviation duty in January of 1911. Assisted in the search for a shipboard launching device for airplanes and on September 7th, 1911 made a successful take-off from an inclined wire cable device. First to land on water in the dark. First to advocate for special flight clothing. His list included: a light helmet with detachable goggles or visor, a leather coat, leather trousers, high rubber galoshes, and a life preserver. He also prepared the first check-off lists...

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Eugene Burton Ely

Enshrined 1965
October 21, 1886 - October 19, 1911

Joined the Curtiss Exhibition Team and performed successful exhibition flights at numerous events. He was one of the team’s star performers and was awarded the Aero Club of America’s Pilots Certificate No. 17. Became well known for attempting to fly 1,000 miles from Chicago to New York In 1910, made the first successful unassisted airplane takeoff from the wooden deck of the USS Birmingham. Made the first successful airplane landing on the USS Pennsylvania in 1911, the first ship to be equipped with a landing deck and arresting system.

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Joe Henry Engle

Enshrined 2001
Born August 26, 1932

Became one of the test pilots for the X-15 program in 1963. Earned astronaut wings as an X-15 pilot which he flew it 16 times. On three flights, he reached altitudes of more that 50 miles and qualified for astronaut wings therefore becoming the nation’s youngest astronaut at age 32. Formally selected by NASA for the fifth group of astronaut candidates in 1966 where he was the first and only astronaut recruit to have previously flown into space. Served on the support crew for Apollo 10 and then became the backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 14. Commanded the second...

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Frank “Pete” Everest Jr.

Enshrined 1989
August 9, 1920 - October 1, 2004

Test Pilot & Record-Setter Born: August 9, 1920 in Fairmont, West Virginia Death: October 1, 2004 Enshrined: 1989 Flew 94 combat missions during World War II in Africa, Sicily and Italy. Commanded the 17th Fighter Squadron of the 5th Fighter Group in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II where he completed 67 combat missions and destroyed four Japanese aircraft before his plane was shot down by ground fire in May 1945. Interned as a Japanese POW from May 1945 to the end of World War II. In 1951, he became chief Air Force test pilot at Edwards Air Force...

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Maxime “Max” Faget

Enshrined 2020
August 26, 1921 - October 10, 2004

Served aboard submarines during WWII. Joined NACA at Langley Research Center in Virginia where he worked with Dr. Robert Gilruth on research for designing high-speed and high-altitude aircraft, concentrating on high-speed aerodynamic heating. Set unofficial speed and altitude records after designing a ramjet engine and also aided in the design of X-15 airplane, Scout and Little Joe research rockets, and the Polaris missile. Transferred to NASA to help manage Project Mercury. Dr. Faget’s spacecraft design was the only one that would be light enough to enter Earth’s orbit and later put the first American in space in 1961. Appointed the...

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Sheman Mills Fairchild

Enshrined 1979
April 7, 1896 - March 28, 1971

Pioneer & Inventor Born: April 7, 1896 in Oneonta, New York Death: March 28, 1971 Enshrined: 1979 Vastly improved upon aerial cameras making them electric rather than hand wound with better resolution and capable of taking photos in set intervals. Showed the importance of aerial photography in peacetime through aerial mapmaking. Created an aircraft specifically for aerial photography. Revolutionized aerial cameras, film was developed, and the production of cameras. Founded Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation, Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Fairchild Airplane Manufacturing Corporation, Fairchild Aviation Corporation,  Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation, and Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation.

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Keith Ferris

Enshrined 2012
Born May 14, 1929

After finding out he was unable to follow in his father’s footsteps as a military pilot, he decided that he would live his dream through art. Worked with Universal Printing Company, and then with the Cassell Watkins Paul Art Studio where he produced artwork for training and nuclear weapons manuals and also acted as a liaison between the studios and the military. Joined the Society of Illustrators’ Air Force Art Program which offered him the opportunity to fly jets and contribute to the Air Force’s mission. He was apart of the program for over 50 years and flew combat missions...

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Reuben Hollis Fleet

Enshrined 1975
March 6, 1887 - October 29, 1975

Organized the first air mail service in May, 1918 from Washington DC to New York City. Formed Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in 1923, producing primarily trainers and observation planes. Built the XPY-1 for the Navy and the Commodore for passenger service to South America. Created the famous PBY Catalina series in 1935, the most successful flying boat, and the PB2Y Coronado series flying boats.

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Ronald R. Fogleman

Enshrined 2018
Born January, 1942

Joined the 510th Tactical Fighter Squadron in June, 1968 as a fighter pilot stationed at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam. Fogleman was shot down in 1968 and escaped by clinging to the outside of a AH-1 Cobra helicopter. Taught as an associate professor of history at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Served as an F-4 pilot, instructor pilot and commander of the Laredo forward air controller flight while stationed in Thailand. Assigned to the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing at Bitburg Air Base, West Germany, in 1976 as assistant deputy commander for operations where his unit became...

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Anthony Fokker

Enshrined 1980
April 6, 1890 - December 23, 1939

Built his open monoplane and earned his pilot certificate in 1910. Established Fokker Aeroplane in 1912 in Germany where he trained pilots and built planes for individuals and the German army. Perfected a synchronized machine gun firing between propeller blades during World War I Designed monoplanes, biplanes and triplanes during the First World War. After the war, he formed an airplane company in Holland and his first airliner was used on KLM’s route to England in 1920. His T-2 monoplane made the first nonstop flight across the U.S. Formed the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation in the U.S. and introduced the Fokker...

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Henry Ford

Enshrined 1984
July 30, 1863 - April 7, 1947

Industrialist Born: July 30, 1863 in Springwells Township, Michigan Death: April 7, 1947 Enshrined: 1984 Mass produced Liberty aircraft engines, as well as engines for Kettering’s Bug aerial torpedo during World War I. Invested in the Stout Model Airplane Company in 1923 which perfected an all-metal air transport. In 1925 he purchased the company, renamed it the Ford Airplane Manufacturing Division and initiated the development of a three-motor airliner to increase passenger safety and operating revenue. Ford purchased several of the air transports in 1925 to establish the world’s first regularly-scheduled airline devoted to the business needs of a single...

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Joseph Jacob Foss

Enshrined 1984
April 17, 1915 - January 1, 2003

Pilot, Politician, & Businessman Born: April 17, 1915 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota Death: January 1, 2003 Enshrined: 1984 Served as a flight instructor at Pensacola, then, after the United States entered World War II, he was sent to an aerial photography school. Assigned as executive officer of Marine Fighter Squadron VMF-121 where he shot down 26 enemy planes in 44 days therefore tying him with Captain Eddie Rickenbacker’s record during World War I and making him the Marine Corps’ leading Ace. Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Roosevelt in May of 1943 for his heroic actions while...

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Steve Fossett

Enshrined 2007
April 22, 1944 - September 3, 2007

Made the first solo balloon flight across the Pacific ocean, starting in Seoul, Korea, and landing in Saskatchewan, Canada, setting an absolute world distance record of almost 5,500 miles. Became the first (and only) person to complete a solo balloon flight around the world in 2002. Became one of 17 Zeppelin captains in the world and, in October, 2004, he set an absolute world speed record for airships of 71.5 miles per hour. Achieved the first solo non-stop round-the-world speed record, making the journey in 67 hours, one minute and ten seconds. Broke the airplane nonstop global flight distance record...

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Benjamin Delahauf Foulois

Enshrined 1963
December 9, 1879 - April 25, 1967

Appointed to an Aeronautical Board of Signal Corps Officers for conducting airship and airplane performance trails, where he was one of three officers taught to fly Dirigible No. 1 in August, 1908 following its acceptance. Participated in the trials of the Wright 1909 Flyer and the Army Airplane #1. Selected along with Lt. Frank P. Lahm to become one of the two Army officers to be taught to fly the Army’s first airplane, but before training could be initiated, he was sent to France as the official delegate from the United States to the International Congress of Aeronautics. Commanded the...

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Betty Skelton Frankman

Enshrined 2005
June 28, 1926 - August 31, 2011

Began her professional aerobatic career in 1946 where she toured with the southeastern air show circuit and became part of the legendary group of performers of the postwar era. Established more combined aviation and automotive records than any other in history. Won the Feminine International Aerobatic Championship three times: 1948, 1949 and 1950. Became the first woman to perform an inverted ribbon cut only ten feet above the ground. In 1949 and 1951, she set the world light plane altitude record in a Piper Cub at  25,763 ft. and 29,050 ft. (respectively). Set a world speed record for piston-engine aircraft...

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John “Jack” Frye

Enshrined 1992
March 18, 1904 - February 3, 1959

Founded the Aero Corporation of California and Standard Airlines, which was later consolidated with Western Air Express to form Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA) in 1930. Became president of TWA after his famous letter to aircraft manufacturers calling for the development of a safer, more efficient aircraft. Set a commercial aircraft altitude record in 1929 of 22,680 feet. Kept airmail contracts from being cancelled by making a record transcontinental flight of 13 hours, 4 minutes in the DC-1 in 1934, therefore proving that airlines were a proficient mode of transporting mail. Took the lead in exploring high-speed, high-altitude, all-weather flying. ...

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Fitzhugh “Fitz” Fulton

Enshrined 1999
June 6, 1925 - February 4, 2015

Flew support for the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests and subsequently completed 225 humanitarian missions during the Berlin Airlift. Piloted 55 combat missions during the Korean Conflict in the Douglas B-26 Invader. Completed the Air Force Experimental Test Pilot School in 1952 and flew the B-29 and B-50 which launched the X-1 and X-2 rocket plane. Was the only Air Force pilot to fly a Boeing NB-36H with an atomic reactor on board and one of two pilots to fly XB-60 test aircraft. Project pilot on the B-58 supersonic bomber program and set an international altitude record of 85,360 feet...

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Francis “Gabby” Gabreski

Enshrined 1978
January 28, 1919 - January 31, 2002

Pilot, Military Leader, & Innovator Born: January 28, 1919 in Oil City, Pennsylvania Death: January 31, 2002 Enshrined: 1978 Stationed in Hawaii in 1941 where he was one of the few Americans to get airborne during the Pearl Harbor attack. Assigned to the Royal Air Force’s 315th Fighter Squadron comprised of Polish pilots to learn its combat tactics and teach them to American pilots arriving in Europe. Joined Hubert Zemke’s Wolfpack, the 56th Fighter Group, where he commanded the 61st Fighter Squadron and became the leading American ace in Europe with 28 victories in 17 months. Earned a leave back...

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Dominic Salvatore Gentile

Enshrined 1995
December 6, 1920 - January 28, 1951

Awarded the British Distinguished Flying Cross for destroying two German aircraft within ten minutes of each other. Made a place for himself in the record books at age 23 by breaking the record of twenty-six kills by World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacke. Destroyed more enemy planes than any other partnership of American fighter pilots with his wingman, Captain John T. Godfrey. Flew as a test pilot after World War II.

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Robert Lee Gibson

Enshrined 2013
Born October 30, 1946

Astronaut, Engineer, Air Racer, & Pilot Born: October 30, 1946 in Cooperstown, New York Enshrined: 2013 Flew combat missions in F-4 Phantoms and F-14 Tomcats in Southeast Asia. Over three tours, Gibson made over 300 carrier landings while deployed. Graduated from Navy Fighter Weapons School, also known as TOP GUN, in 1972. Returned from his third tour and became an F-14A instructor, then attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in 1976. Selected for the astronaut program in 1978, joining NASA’s eighth astronaut group. Piloted the STS-41B which launched February 3, 1984.  It was the first time rendezvous sensors and...

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Robert J. Gilliland

Enshrined 2017
May 1, 1926 - July 4, 2019

Assigned to the 86th Fighter Wing at Neubiberg Air Base, West Germany where he flew the F-84 Thunderjet and was among the first generation of Air Force pilots to successfully make the transition from propeller-driven craft to jets. Served in the Korean War with the 69th Fighter Squadron and flew 20 combat missions in the Republic F-84. Was a test pilot and instructor for the F-104 Starfighter at Lockheed Corporation. Joined Lockheed’s Advanced Development Program in 1962, a top-secret program known as the “Skunk Works.” Gilliland became their Chief Test Pilot and was the first to fly the SR-71 Blackbird...

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Robert Rowe Gilruth

Enshrined 1994
October 8, 1913 - August 17, 2000

Joined the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which would later become the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), upon graduating college. Selected to manage a free-flight guided missile range at Wallops Island, Virginia at the meer age of 31. Directed Project Mercury which was responsible for the first American astronaut to orbit the earth and was accomplished only three years after NASA was created. Named the Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center and assigned the responsibility of designing and developing spacecraft and associated equipment, planning and controlling missions, and training flight crews. Greatly...

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John Herschel Glenn Jr.

Enshrined 1976
- December 8, 2016

Astronaut, Businessman, & Politician Born: July 18th, 1921 in Cambridge, Ohio Death: December 8, 2016 Enshrined: 1976 Served in the Marine Corps during World War II and the Korean Conflict, flying a total of 149 missions. The first American to orbit the Earth in Friendship 7 in 1962. Completed the first nonstop supersonic transcontinental flight in a record three hours 23 minutes. Selected as one of America’s first seven astronauts in 1959. Elected Senator from Ohio in 1974 and served through 1998. Returned to space at the age of 77 on Discovery 7, October 29th, 1998, as the oldest astronaut.

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George William Goddard

Enshrined 1976
June 15, 1889 - September 20, 1987

Innovator & Pilot Born: June 15, 1889 in London, United Kingdom Death: September 20, 1987 Enshrined: 1976 Created the first aerial mapping units, directed photo coverage of the 1921 warship bombings, and made mosaic maps of many cities and land area. In 1925, he made the first-night aerial photographs. Mapped unexplored areas in the Philippines and, in 1934, directed aerial mapping of Alaska. Pioneered in stereoscopic, high altitude, and color photography, and also developed the continuous film strip camera. Promoted aerial reconnaissance and introduced the moving film magazine during World War II. Served as an Air Force consultant in detecting...

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Robert Hutchings Goddard

Enshrined 1966
October 5, 1882 - August 10, 1945

Regarded as the “father of modern rocketry.” Though much of his work was ignored by the US government until after World War II, it was used in Germany by Wernher von Braun. Was the first to develop a rocket motor using liquid fuels which he tested in 1926. Patented the first practical automatic steering apparatus for rockets, developed step rockets designed to gain great altitudes and other components for an engine designed for space exploration. Developed parachute recovery systems. Developed a jet-assisted take-off system for airplanes.

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Arthur Godfrey

Enshrined 1987
August 31, 1903 - March 16, 1983

Held an Airline Transport Rating and logged more than 17,000 hours in the air as a solo and command pilot. Ardently promoted aviation on his radio show, “Arthur Godfrey and His Friends” which resulted in him collaborating with Captain Eddie Rickenbacker (enshrined 2004) to make a promotional film for Eastern Air Lines. Used his hit television show, the “Arthur Godfrey Show,” to advertise aviation. At its prime, the program had 82 million viewers, and his combined broadcasts were reported to have accounted for 12 percent of the total advertising revenues of CBS television. Participated in a record-setting flight around the...

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Barry Morris Goldwater

Enshrined 1982
January 2, 1909 - May 29, 1998

Oversaw the construction of a flying school at Yuma, Arizona, during World War II where he earned his wings and helped to develop the vastly superior “curve of pursuit” training method, which revolutionized gunnery results. Participated in ferrying fighter planes to Europe and as the chief pilot flying supply routes to the China-Burma-India Theater. Elected to the senate in 1952 and co-sponsored legislation creating the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Was a U.S. Presidential candidate in 1964. Supported NASA research programs, all-volunteer military, the National Air and Space Museum, recognizing WASP pilots as World War II veterans, and building a Vietnam...

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Richard “Dick” Gordon

Enshrined 2020
October 5, 1929 - November 6, 2017

Flew as a test pilot from 1957 to 1960 where he worked in the F-8U Crusader, F-11F Tiger, North American FJ Fury, and A-4D Skyhawk. Set a transcontinental speed record of 869.74 mph in 2 hours, 47 minutes in the F4H- 1 Phantom II. Selected to be apart of NASA’s third class of astronauts. Set an altitude record of 851 miles on his first space flight as pilot of Gemini 11 with Pete Conrad which is still the highest-apogee earth orbit. Flew on Apollo 12 as Command Module Pilot. However, the mission quickly faced catastrophe as the spacecraft suffered a...

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Warren G. Grimes

Enshrined 2010
1898 - December 21, 1975

Produced lights for the Ford Tri-Motor “Tin Goose.” Patented the electric-powered retractable landing light in 1936, created wing-tip navigation lights, and designed countless other interior and exterior aircraft lighting. Earned the coveted Army-Navy “E” Award for production excellence – an award given to less than 5 percent of plants involved in war work during WWII. Served two terms as mayor of Urbana, Ohio and chairman of the State Aviation Board. His legacy persists and lighting he invented can be found in aircraft such as the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the Boeing 777 airliner Named the “Father of Aircraft Lighting.”

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Virgil Ivan Grissom

Enshrined 1987
April 3, 1926 - January 27, 1967

Astronaut, Pilot, & Engineer Born: April 3, 1926 in Mitchell, Indiana Death: January 27, 1967 Enshrined: 1987 Served in Korea with the 334th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing of the Fifth Air Force and flew 100 combat missions. One of seven men selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1959 to be trained as astronauts for its Project Mercury manned spacecraft program. Made the second suborbital flight in his Mercury-Redstone 4 (MR-4) spacecraft, “Liberty Bell 7.” Made the first manned orbital flight of the Gemini series on March 23, 1965, with John Young (Enshrined 1988)....

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Robert Ellsworth Gross

Enshrined 1970
May 11, 1897 - September 5, 1961

Businessman Born: May 11, 1897 in West Newton, Massachusetts Death: September 5, 1961 Enshrined: 1970 Purchased the bankrupt Lockheed Company for $40,000 in 1932. Lifted Lockheed out of the red and pushed the Lockheed’s yearly sales to nearly $150 million. Served as the chairman and treasurer and received international recognition for the Lockheed Module 10, 12, and 14 Electra monoplanes. Negotiated a vital contract with the British for Hudson bombers in 1938. Under his leadership, Lockheed built P-38 Lightings and the C-69 Constellation, and the P-80 Shooting Star jet fighter. Became CEO and Chairman of Lockheed and developed into a...

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Leroy Randle Grumman

Enshrined 1972
January 4, 1895 - October 4, 1982

Entrepreneur & Engineer Born: January 4, 1895 in Huntington, New York Death: October 4, 1982 Enshrined: 1972 Started Grumman Aeronautical Engineering Corporation in 1929. Developed the FF-1, F2F single-seat fighter, F3F biplane fighter, and a variety of amphibians for sportsmen, executives, and small airlines operating in remote regions. Invented the “Sto-Wing,” a wing that folds, so that more planes can be stored on aircraft carriers. Credited by the Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, with securing Allied success in the Pacific for his contributions to the war effort. Presented with the Navy’s first “E” award for production Excellence. Created the...

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Harry Frank Guggenheim

Enshrined 1971
August 23, 1890 - January 22, 1971

United States ambassador to Cuba from 1929 until his resignation in 1933. Director and president of the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation which sponsored much of the research of Dr. Robert J. Goddard, upon which all modern developments of rockets and jet propulsion was based. Served as president of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics. This fund included an equipment loan for operating the first regularly scheduled commercial airline in the United States, provided for the establishment of the first weather reporting exclusively for passenger airplanes, and helped establish schools of aeronautical engineering. Organized a Safe Aircraft...

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Robert N. Hartzell

Enshrined 2015
June 3, 1886 - December 11, 1968

Formed Hartzell Propellor in 1917 and produced the first propellers for the Liberty Engine, used on a variety of aircraft. Built the company’s first airplane, the FC-1, which plane took First Place in the Flying Club of St. Louis Trophy Race at the 1923 International Air Meet. However, he quit making airplanes to avoid conflict by competing against his own propeller customers. Produced metal propeller blades as a subcontractor to Curtiss Wright and Hamilton-Standard during World War II. These metal propellers were also used on the early models of the Navion, Cessna, Piper Apache, and Beech King Air Series, among...

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Daniel J. Haughton

Enshrined 1987
September 7, 1911 - July 5, 1987

Assistant to the Vice President of the Vega Aircraft Corporation which would later merge with its parent company, Lockheed, in 1943. President of two Lockheed subsidiaries, Airequipment Company and Aerol Company, Inc., from 1949 to 1951. Elected Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed’s Georgia Division in Marietta, Georgia. Under Haughton’s leadership, the Georgia Division began the development of the C-130 Hercules. Elected Executive Vice President of the corporation in 1956, a director in 1958, then President of Lockheed in 1961. Named “Management Man of the Year” in 1966 by the National Management Association for his “dedication to the concept...

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Albert Francis Hegenberger

Enshrined 1976
September 30, 1895 - August 31, 1983

Went to McCook Field, Ohio in 1919 where he developed and tested flight instruments and taught the first course in navigation. Received the Mackay Trophy in 1927 for his Lester Maitland “Bird of Paradise” flight from San Francisco, California to Hawaii. Made the first complete solo blind flight from take-off to landing for which he received the Collier Trophy. Created the first fully automatic flight system. Led the 2nd Bomber Command, 21st Bomb Wing during World War II. Was Chief of Staff of the 2nd and 14th Air Forces and commanded the 10th Air Force. Helped develop an atomic explosion...

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Edward Henry Heinemann

Enshrined 1981
March 14, 1908 - November 26, 1991

While working at International Aircraft Corporation in 1927 he designed the landing gear for its biplane. Designed his first airplane, a trainer, at the Northrop Corporation as well as the dive brakes for the BT-1 dive bomber. Created many groundbreaking aircraft throughout his career at Douglas Aircraft company including: The A-20 Havoc World War II bomber. The SBD Dauntless World War II dive bomber. The Skystreak jet explored transonic flight following World War II. The Skyrocket, the first plane to exceed Mach 2. The F-3D Skynight, the first jet to down another in night combat. Received the Collier Trophy in...

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Edward “Ed” Higgens White II

Enshrined 2009
November 14, 1930 - January 27, 1967

Appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he graduated in 1952. Assigned to the 22nd Fighter Day Squadron at Bitburg Air Base, Germany where he spent three and a half years flying the F-86 and F-100 fighter aircraft. Attended the Air Force Test Pilot Program at Edwards Air Force Base for advanced aviation training. He was then transferred to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as a weightlessness and extended flight training captain. Was one of nine astronauts selected by NASA for Project Gemini. Served as Pilot for the Gemini 4 flight, a four-day mission from June 3 to...

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David Lee “Tex” Hill

Enshrined 2006
July 13, 1915 - October 11, 2007

Pilot & Military Leader Born: July 13, 1915 in Kwangju, Korea Death: October 11, 2007 Enshrined: 2006 Commissioned a Naval ensign in 1939 and ordered to report to the USS Saratoga aircraft carrier at San Diego where he was assigned to a torpedo squadron and flew the massive Douglas TBD-1 Resigned from the Navy and joined General Clair Chennault’s (enshrined 1972) Flying Tigers in 1941 to defend China from Japan. They were chased from one location to another by Japanese air and ground forces, but Hill and the Flying Tigers took to the air again and again to devastate the...

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Robert “Bob” Hoover

Enshrined 1988
January 24, 1922 - October 25, 2016

Test Pilot, Military Leader & Record Setter Born: January 24, 1922 in Nashville, Tennessee Death: October 25, 2016 Enshrined: 1988 Learned to fly at Nashville’s Berry Field and taught himself aerobatics. Assigned to Casablanca, Morocco where he tested planes before they were sent into combat. Assigned to the 52nd Fighter Group in Corsica and flew 58 missions before he was shot down off the coast of southern France and spent sixteen months in a German prisoner of war camp. Was in the Flight Evaluation Group at Wright Field, Ohio after the war where he flew captured planes and the latest...

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Howard Robard Hughes

Enshrined 1973
December 24, 1905 - April 5, 1976

Produced “Hell’s Angels,” a 1930 film starring Jean Harlow and Ben Lyons with a focus to detail on elaborate dogfight scenes which Hughes personally directed from a camera plane. Despite the frequent re-shooting of scenes and the high costs, the film was a success and sparked international interest in aviation. Disappeared from Hollywood and worked for American Airway as a co-pilot under the alias “Charles Howard” in 1932 to learn about all the different aspect of commercial flying. Set a straightaway record of 212 miles per hour in 1933 at Los Angeles Municipal Airport. Entered the All-American Air meet and,...

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David Sinton Ingalls

Enshrined 1983
January 28, 1899 - April 26, 1985

Pilot, Military Leader, Politician, Promotor, & Businessman Born: January 28, 1899 in Cleveland, Ohio Death: April 26, 1985 Enshrined: 1983 Flew 63 combat missions during and scored five official victories- making him the Navy’s only World War I Ace. Elected to the Ohio legislature in 1926 where he co-sponsored the Ohio Aviation Code, which became the model for many other states. Appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Aeronautics by President Hoover in 1929. Ingalls tripled the number of naval aircraft and the hours flown by Navy pilots all without recording a single fatality. He also pushed for a fully...

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Daniel “Chappie” James Jr.

Enshrined 1993
February 11, 1920 - February 25, 1978

Pilot, Military Leader, & Advocate Born: February 11, 1920 in Pensacola, Florida Death: February 25, 1978 Enshrined: 1993 Earned his commission in 1943 as a Second Lieutenant and became one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. Aided in the desegregation of military facilities after 100 black officers, including Lt. James, went into custody for refusing to sign a directive that legitimized separate facilities for black and white officers. Lt. James acted as a courier between the arrested airmen and the outside world during this incident. The resulting negotiations prompted Secretary of War Henry Stimson to declare that military personnel could not...

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Elrey Borge Jeppesen

Enshrined 1990
January 28, 1907 - November 26, 1996

Pilot & Innovator Born: January 28, 1907 in Lake Charles, Louisiana Death: November 26, 1996 Enshrined: 1990 Began flying as a barnstormer with Tex Rankin’s Flying Circus. Obtained a job flying for Fairchild Aerial Surveys, photographing the entire Mississippi Delta area around New Orleans. Compiled information from city and county engineers, surveyors, farmers, road maps and from his own mountain and smokestack climbing to create maps and charts for flying. At the time, pilots used Rand-McNally road maps to help guide them as no adequate navigational guides for pilots existed. Jeppesen decided to print copies of the material and allow...

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Clarence “Kelly” Leroy Johnson

Enshrined 1974
February 27, 1910 - December 21, 1990

Joined the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in 1933. Appointed Chief Research Engineer in 1938. Helped develop the P-38 “lightning” interceptor, the model 18 “Lodestar, the B-37, “Ventura, and PV-1 Bombers, and the “constellation” airliners. Created the P-80 “Shooting Star”, the first U. S. jet fighter in service. Developed the XFV-1, vertical takeoff plane and the T2V “Seastar” jet trainer after being named Chief Engineer in 1952. Received the Collier Trophy in 1958 for his Mach 2 F-104 “Starfighter” which was created to combat Soviet MiGs. As Vice President of Research and Development, he created the C-130 “Hercules” turbojet transport, the high...

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Evelyn “Mama Bird” Bryan Johnson

Enshrined 2007
November 4, 1909 - May 10, 2012

Pilot & Recordbreaker Born: November 4, 1909 in Corbin, Kentucky Death: May 10, 2012 Enshrined: 2007 Earned her private pilot certificate in 1945, added a commercial certificate in 1946, became a flight instructor in 1947, and was later named a designated FAA examiner in 1952. Became one of the first female helicopter pilots and was involved in the Civil Air Patrol. Owned a fixed-base operation, Morristown Flying Service, for 33 years. Served on the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission for 18 years and was chairman for four of those years. She also helped allocate state and FAA block grant funds for airport...

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Alvin “Tex” Johnston

Enshrined 1993
August 18, 1914 - October 29, 1998

Earned his aircraft, Engine Mechanic’s, and Limited Commercial Pilot’s license all by the age of twenty. He would later earn his Transport Pilot’s license and Flight Instructor rating Purchased a biplane to establish his own successful barnstorming operation. Served as a Civilian Pilot Training flight instructor. Joined the Army Air Corps Ferry Command following Pearl Harbor and began ferrying new military aircraft from the factory to their destinations. Began his career at Bell Aircraft in 1942 as a production and experimental test pilot where he flew the P-39 Airacobra, the V-tailed YP-63, the P-47, the P-51 Mustang, and the captured...

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Thomas Victor Jones

Enshrined 1992
July 21, 1920 - January 7, 2014

Went to work for the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1942 after receiving his engineering degree. Established the Aeronautical Institute of Technology of Brazil from 1947 – 1951. Went to work for the Rand Corporation where he led the design of the hi-bypass engine, enabling the development of a wide body heavy-lift cargo aircraft. Joined the Northrop Corporation in 1953 where he served as President, Chief Executive and Chairman, and retired as Chairman in 1990. Involved in the development of the F-5 tactical fighter most widely used American built fighter, the F/A-18 Hornet most versatile tactical trainer, the F-20 Tigershark, and...

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Paul Kaminski

Enshrined 2020
Born September 16, 1942

Engineer & Military Leader Born: September 16, 1942 in Cleveland Ohio Enshrined: 2020 Dubbed the “father” of all stealth programs Served as Director for Low Observables Technology where he oversaw the F-117 Nighthawk and B-2 Spirit programs. Contributed greatly to the U.S. national strategy called “Offset-2” which is credited with ending the Cold War. Offset-2 focused on designing stealth planes that could infiltrate air defenses, advanced sensors to search for and designate targets, and precision-guided munitions to attack targets and decrease collateral damage. Retired from the Air Force as a Full Colonel in 1984. Served as Undersecretary of Defense for...

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Herbert “Herb” David Kelleher

Enshrined 2008
March 12, 1931 - January 3, 2019

Entrepreneur & Innovator Born: March 12, 1931 in Haddon Heights, New Jersey Death: January 3, 2019 Enshrined: 2008 Formed Southwest Airlines with Rollin King in 1967. Eliminated unnecessary costs to allow cheaper air fares by taking meals out of flights and only using Boeing 737s. This meant that pilots and mechanics only needed to know how to fly and maintain one aircraft. Created a vibrant corporate culture where flight attendants would sing in-flight announcements to popular songs and pilots told jokes. Kelleher “rapped” in training videos and was often involved with employee motivational activities. Once challenged another company president to...

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George Churchill Kenney

Enshrined 1971
August 6, 1889 - August 9, 1977

Innovator, Pilot, & Military Leader Born: August 6, 1889 in Yarmouth, Canada Death: August 9, 1977 Enshrined: 1971 Attended engineering school at McCook Field, Ohio after World War I and pioneered the mounting of machine guns on warplane wings to increase firepower. Developed low altitude attack tactics and the parachute fragmentation bomb as an instructor at the Tactical School. Had an outstanding grasp of what today is called “operational art” and how airpower could be used to complement the operations of land and sea forces. Many considered Kenney to be the most accomplished combat air strategist of World War II....

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Charles Franklin Kettering

Enshrined 1979
August 29, 1876 - November 25, 1958

Joined NCR in 1904 and perfected the first electric cash register. Invented and improved the ignition system and the first electric starter for automobiles, formed DELCO. Became interested in flying after flying in a Wright brothers biplane in 1912. Designed the ignition systems for the “Liberty” aircraft engine and made the first synthetic aviation fuel during World War I. Helped form the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company that produced the DeHavilland, DH-4 warplane and led its development of an unmanned guided missile. In 1923 his study of engine “knock” led to the development of tetraethyl lead in gasoline. Pioneered developing high compression...

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Iven Carl, Kincheloe Jr.

Enshrined 2011
July 2, 1928 - July 26, 1958

Was an accomplished pilot and proficient at acrobatics by the time he received his pilots license at age 16. Participated in the Air Force ROTC program at Purdue University and formed a flying club with the World War II veterans on campus. Arrived in Korea in September 1951 where he was assigned to the 325th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. In January 1952, he was transferred to the 25th Fighter Squadron, equipped with the F-86E. Flew 30 sorties in the F-80, 101 in the F-86, and was credited with knocking 10 enemy planes from the sky and damaging 11 more by the...

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James “Dutch” Kindelberger

Enshrined 1972
May 8, 1895 - July 27, 1962

Joined the Glenn L. Martin Company as a designer following World War I. Worked alongside Glenn Martin (enshrined 1966), Donald Douglas (enshrined 1969), and Lawrence Bell (enshrined 1977) who would all go on to form their own successful organizations. Aided in the development of the Martin bombers used by Billy Mitchell during the famed Battleship Bombing Tests. Joined the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1925 and became Vice President of Engineering by 1928. Turned out 71 separate models for the Air Corps, Navy and civilian use in addition to the legendary DC series. The DC-3 was the most popular, and more...

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John & Martha King

Enshrined 2019
Born

Started by flying their own airplane to Western and Midwestern cities to provide weekend ground schools. Taught their two-day seminars 50 weekends a year for ten years before technology enabled them to video their course, therefore making it accessible to learning pilots everywhere. Formed King Schools Inc, the world’s leading producer of aviation training multimedia programs which has enabled them to teach more pilots than any other instructor in aviation history. Offer programs such as Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot, International Operations, and many other areas of professional and leisure aviation. Delivered 10,000 video segments a day to learning pilots through...

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Joseph “Joe” William Kittinger, Jr.

Enshrined 1997
Born July 27, 1928

Assigned to Germany where he served as a fighter pilot until 1953. Became a test pilot for Project Man High where a high altitude balloon was used with a pressurized gondola and partial pressure suit.  In 1957, Joe piloted the balloon, Man High One, to an altitude of 96,000 feet. Moved to Project Excelsior in 1958. The goal of the project was to put a man into space and test a person’s ability to survive extremely high altitude bailouts. In 1959, Joe made a parachute jump from Excelsior I from an altitude of 76,000 feet. Set a world record for...

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Alan L. & Dale E. Klapmeier

Enshrined 2014
Born

Founded Cirrus Design Corporation in 1984.  Designed the VK-30 which became the first kit aircraft featured on the cover of Aviation Week and Space Technology in January 1990. Built a team and moved the business to Duluth, Minnesota in 1994 where they focused on getting FAA certification for their SR20. They succeeded in October of 1998 and when the first production SR20 rolled out of the factory in 1999, Cirrus was now competing with the likes of Cessna. Created the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) which has gone on to save over 90 lives. Introduced the first full glass cockpit...

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A. Roy Knabenshue

Enshrined 1965
July 15, 1876 - March 6, 1960

Flew the California Arrow, the first first successful dirigible in America powered by an engine, at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of St. Louis, competing against all domestic and European dirigibles, and won the Grand Prize for his performance. Raced an automobile  from Los Angeles to Pasadena, California in the California Arrow and won. Started to build his own dirigibles which he flew at state fairs and also engaged in promoting public exhibitions. In August 1905 he flew his 69 foot long Toledo II airship at Central Park in New York City, stopping all business and street traffic. Knabenshue’s third dirigible...

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William “Pete” Knight

Enshrined 1988
- May 7, 2004

Test Pilot, Astronaut, & Trail Blazer Born:  November 18, 1929 in Noblesville, Indiana Death: May 7, 2004 Enshrined: 1988 Flew an F-89 Scorpion as a second lieutenant and won the Allison Jet Trophy during the 1954 National Air Show in Dayton, Ohio. Graduated from the Experimental Flight Test Pilot School in 1958 and the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in 1964. Flight tested a variety of aircraft including the F-100, F-101, F-104 and F-5 and was selected for the X-20 Dyna-Soar project, forerunner for the space shuttle. Was one of the 12 pilots selected for the...

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Christopher C. Kraft Jr.

Enshrined 2016
February 28, 1924 - July 22, 2019

Accepted a job with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics at Langley, Virginia where his work in the Flight Research Division included measuring flying qualities of service aircraft and developing an early gust alleviation system for aircraft flying in turbulence. Asked by Robert Gilruth (enshrined 1994) to join the new Space Task Group following the launch of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik. This small team of thirty-five engineers’ goal was to safely put the first American man into space Assigned to the flight operations division and was given the responsibility of developing a mission plan for manned space flight. He would...

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Eugene Kranz

Enshrined 2015
Born August 17, 1933

Assigned to Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, flying the F-100 Super Sabre, later received orders to the 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing, Osan, Korea, flying F-86 Sabres. Responded to a magazine ad indicating that NASA was seeking engineers for Project Mercury. Assigned as the Procedures Officer for all early Mercury missions. Named the Chief of the Flight Control Division, but supporting only the odd-numbered Apollo missions- including the Apollo 11 mission. After the oxygen tank explosion on the Apollo 13 module, Kranz and his mission control team led the urgent and complex planning and procedures effort that led to...

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Clay Lacy

Enshrined 2010
Born August 14, 1932

Entrepreneur, Pilot, & Innovator Born: August 14, 1932 in Wichita, Kansas Enshrined: 2010 Started working with United Airlines at age 19 having already logged 1,500 hours. Earned his Learjet rating in 1964 and became a dealer demo pilot and salesman. Started the first executive jet charter service west of the Mississippi in 1968 after he leased a Learjet. In 1970, he purchased his first Learjet for Clay Lacy Aviation, establishing operations at Van Nuys Airport. Clay Lacy Aviation soon became known as “Hollywood’s private airline,” carrying celebrities and executives quickly and safely around the world. Adding other aircraft types and...

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Frank Purdy Lahm

Enshrined 1963
- July 8, 1963

Military Strategist & Test Pilot Born:  November 17, 1877 in Mansfield, Ohio Death: July 8, 1963 Enshrined: 1963 Won the Gordon Bennett balloon race from Paris, France to Yorkshire, England in 1906. Flew with Orville Wright in 1908, becoming the first American Army officer to fly in an airplane. Spent most of his career establishing air training stations across the United States and in the Philippines. Organized the lighter-than-air service of the AEF (American Expedition Forces) during World War I and was the first Army Chief of Aviation. Held the unofficial title “Father of the West Point of the Air.”...

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Samuel Pierpont Langley

Enshrined 1963
August 22, 1834 - February 27, 1906

Inventor Born: August 22, 1834 in Boston, Massachusetts Death: February 27, 1906 Enshrined: 1963 Published his findings on the study of moving air surfaces in 1891. Built, and successfully flew, a steam driven model 3,000 feet in 1896. Congress appropriated a grant of $50,000 to build a full-scale aircraft which he named the Aerodrome. Made two attempts to launch the Aerodrome in 1903 off the top of a houseboat in the Potomac River, but both times it failed, almost drowning the pilot. It was dubbed “Langley’s Folly” by the press. Advanced man’s knowledge of space through his development of instruments...

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William Powell Lear Sr.

Enshrined
June 22, 1902 - May 14, 1978

Inventor & Industrialist Born: June 22, 1902 in Hannibal, Missouri Death: May 14, 1978 Enshrined:  1978 Developed a “B” battery eliminator that enabled radios to operate on household electricity and invented a radio speaker and amplifier system that produced unbelievably fine sounds. Before long, he began work on a revolutionary new idea: a radio for automobiles. It proved to be another success and he christened it “Motorola.” Established Lear Radio at Chicago’s airport and began to manufacture aircraft radio receivers to aid navigation by picking up radio beacon signals. Developed a radio direction finder for airplanes. When it was perfected,...

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Curtis Emerson LeMay

Enshrined
November 15, 1906 - October 1, 1990

Military Strategist & Pilot Born: November 15, 1906 in Columbus, Ohio Death: October 1, 1990 Enshrined:  1972 Participated in the B-17 mass flight to South America in 1938. Won the 2nd Bomb Group the Mackay Trophy for outstanding aerial achievement. Pioneered air routes over the South Atlantic to Africa, and the North Atlantic to England. Organized and trained the 305th Bombardment Group, developing formation procedures and bombing tactics. Led the Regensburg raid, a B-17 shuttle striking Germany and Africa during World War II. Planned the B-29 air raids over Japan during World War II. Piloted a B-29 in a record...

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Anthony “Tony” LeVier

Enshrined 1978
February 14, 1913 - February 6, 1998

Won the junior pilot aerobatic meet, barnstormed the country, operated two flying schools and competed in air races in the 1930s. Entered in the Pacific International Air Races and captured the Championship Pilot Trophy 1938. Following that success, he took part in the grueling National Air Races where he won the coveted Greve Trophy Race. Joined the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in 1941 and Assigned to Lockheed’s Flight Test Department in 1942. Worked as a test pilot for the P-38 Lightning where he perfected its hydraulic boosted control system, tested dive flaps that enable a pilot to maintain control in full...

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Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Enshrined 1979
June 22, 1906 - February 7, 2001

Graduated from Smith College in 1928 with awards for her literary works. Demonstrated the value of aircraft in archaeological work when she and Charles Lindbergh discovered Pueblo tribe ruins which they later photographed with staff members of the Carnegie Institute. In 1928, she and her husband Charles Lindbergh (enshrined 1967) traced the first transcontinental air-mail passenger service route and participated in the Pan American expansion in the Caribbean. Joined other members of the Lindbergh-Carnegie Maya expedition after pioneering new routes for Pan American Airways, and took the first comprehensive aerial photographs of the old empire ruins of the Maya civilization...

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Charles Augustus Lindbergh

Enshrined 1967
February 4, 1902 - August 26, 1974

Learned to fly in Nebraska in 1922 and joined the flying circus performing primarily as a wing-walker and parachutist. Joined the Air Corps in 1924 and became an airmail pilot. On May 20th, 1927, in a Ryan monoplane named the Spirit of St. Louis he took off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York and flew to Paris, France, therefore becoming the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. For this feat, he won the Orteig prize and the Congressional Medal of Honor. Promoted aviation flying the Spirit of St. Louis in a nationwide tour where he touched...

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Edwin Albert Link

Enshrined 1976
July 26, 1904 - September 7, 1981

Started his aviation career by barnstorming, charter flying and as a flight instructor. Built his first airplane simulator in 1929 and taught his brother to fly in it. Formed the Link Aeronautical Corporation and built his “Pilot Maker” trainer to make flight training affordable for everyone. He then began his own school using the trainer. Formed Link Aviation, Incorporated in 1934 to manufacture flight training equipment. Became swamped with orders of his basic trainer, called the “Blue Box,” during World War II. The armed forces would eventually use this trainer to teach wartime instrument flying, aerial gunnery, bombing, navigation, automatic...

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Allan Haines Lockheed

Enshrined 1986
January 20, 1889 - May 26, 1969

Made the first dual-pilot controlled flight in 1910 with George Gates. Built his first plane in 1913 with his brother, Malcolm. It was called the Model G and the brothers used it to start an aerial sightseeing business. The Lougheads (Allen later legally changed his name to Lockheed in 1934) organized the Loughhead Aircraft Manufacturing Company in 1916. Formed the Lockheed Aircraft Company in 1926 with John Northrop (enshrined 1974), Kenneth Kay, and Fred Keeler. The corporation became famous by selling its “Vega” airplane to San Francisco Examiner publisher, George Hearst. The Vega was later used in Hubert Wilkins’ expeditions...

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Grover Loening

Enshrined 1969
September 12, 1888 - February 29, 1976

Graduated from Columbia University with the first-ever degree in aeronautical science. Joined the Wright Company in 1913 and designed the first short-hulled flying boat. Became Chief Aeronautical Engineer of the U.S. Army’s Aviation Section in San Diego in 1914. Formed the Loening Aeronautical Engineering Company in 1917 and built airplanes during World War I. Awarded the Collier Trophy in 1921 his Flying Yacht- a five-seat monoplane boat, with Liberty engine, which established world records and opened up the first significant market for private aircraft. Created the Loening Amphibian, with the first practical retractable undercarriage, and was utilized by the U.S....

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Nancy Harkness Love

Enshrined 2005
February 14, 1914 - October 22, 1976

Trail Blazer, Pilot, & Advocate Born: February 14, 1914 in Houghton, Michigan Death: October 22, 1976 Enshrined: 2005 Started at Beechcraft and then Waco selling aircraft before she took a job with Inter-City Air Lines, a Fixed based operation owned by Robert Love. Won an appointment with the Bureau of Air Commerce as a pilot for the national air marking program. Helped develop the tricycle landing gear while working as a test pilot for Gwinn Aircar in Buffalo. Proposed the Air Corps Planes Division in 1940, headed by Lt. Col. Robert Olds, in which experienced women pilots could be used...

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James Lovell Jr.

Enshrined 1998
Born March 25, 1928

Astronaut & Test Pilot Born: March 25, 1928 in Cleveland, Ohio Enshrined: 1998 Graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a bachelor of science degree in 1952. Served as program manager for the F4H Phantom Fighter. Logged over 5,000 hours flying time as a Naval test pilot. Selected by NASA in 1962 to serve in the second group of astronauts for the Gemini program. Launched on his first space mission with Frank Borman (enshrined 1982) on Gemini 7 in 1965. One of the achievements of this mission was the first rendezvous in space when Gemini met up with Tom...

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Gervais Raoul Lufbery

Enshrined 1998
March 14, 1885 - May 19, 1918

Pilot & Military Strategist Born: March 14, 1885 in France Death: May 19, 1918 Enshrined: 1998 Went to France with accomplished pilot, Marc Pourpe in 1914 to join the war effort. Pourpe pulled some strings to make Lufbery his personal mechanic. Joined the Lafayette Escadrille, a unit composed of American volunteers, in 1916 and within three months he had five official kills. Lufbery thus became America’s first ace. His official kill record is 17, but unofficially it is much higher. Became combat instructor of the American “Hat in the Ring” 94th Pursuit Squadron, the same squadron as Edward Rickenbacker (enshrined...

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Frank Luke Jr.

Enshrined
May 19, 1897 - September 29, 1918

Pilot Born: May 19, 1897 in Phoenix, Arizona Death: September 29, 1918 Enshrined:  1975 Earned his wings in 1917 at Rockwell Field, California and was assigned to America’s famed 27th Aero Squadron in July 1918. Scored 13 confirmed victories during a seven-day period (two days of which he did not fly) including an amazing five victories (two balloons and three airplanes) on the last day. Nicknamed the “Sausage Buster,” and “the Arizona Balloon Buster”. Shot down 14 enemy balloons and four airplanes altogether . Was killed near Murvaux, France by enemy soldiers when he refused to surrender and tried to...

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Paul MacCready

Enshrined 1991
September 29, 1925 - August 28, 2007

Received a bachelor of science degree in physics from Yale in 1947 and held master’s and doctorate degrees from the California Institute of Technology. Won three National Soaring Championships: 1948, 1949 and 1953. Attained international recognition in the soaring community when, in France, he won the 1956 world championship. MacCready was the first American to win this coveted honor. Founded AeroVironment, Inc. in 1971, a company that provided air quality and hazardous waste services and consulting, developed alternative energy sources, designed and manufactured products for atmospheric monitoring, and created efficient vehicles for land, sea and air. Made the first sustained...

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John Arthur Macready

Enshrined 1968
October 14, 1887 - September 15, 1979

Test Pilot, Military Leader, & Promoter Born: October 14, 1887 in San Diego, California Death: September 15, 1979 Enshrined: 1968 Wrote The All Thru System of Flying Instructions, which became the basic manual for student pilots. Aided in the development of using airplanes to spray pesticides and flew the first “crop duster.” Won the Mackay trophy three years in a row for setting an altitude record of 34,509 feet in 1921 as a test pilot at McCook Field, setting an endurance record of over 35 hours in 1922, and completing the first nonstop transcontinental flight in 1923. Promoted aviation by...

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Glenn Luther Martin

Enshrined 1966
January 17, 1886 - December 5, 1955

Pilot & Inventor Born: January 17, 1886 in Macksburg, Iowa Death: December 5, 1955 Enshrined: 1966 Learned to fly in 1909 with a pusher-type biplane he built. Claimed to be the first to film motion pictures from an airplane. Formed the Glenn L. Martin Company and built the Army’s first tractor-type trainer, the first multi-passenger seaplane, developed a pack-type parachute and participated in early bombing tests. Built the MB-1, the first twin-engine American bomber. After World War I he built torpedo and dive bombers, flying boats and the B-10 bomber for which he received the Collier Trophy in 1932. Received...

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David McCampbell

Enshrined 1996
January 16, 1910 - June 30, 1996

Pilot & Military Leader Born: January 16, 1910 in Bessemer, Alabama Death: June 30, 1996 Enshrined: 1996 Appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929 by Senator P. Trammell of Florida and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1933 with a B.S. degree in Marine Engineering. Assumed command of Air Group Fifteen, a.k.a. “Fabled Fifteen,” in 1943. During their tour of approximately seven months and more than 20,000 hours of operations, this group destroyed more enemy planes (318 airborne and 348 on the ground) and sank more enemy ships (296,500 tons sunk) than any other air group in the Pacific...

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James Alton McDivitt Jr.

Enshrined 2014
Born June 10, 1929

Test Pilot & Astronaut Born: June 10, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois Enshrined: 2014 Assigned to the 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron in 1952 where he flew 145 combat missions in both F-80 and F-86 jets, and earned three Distinguished Flying Crosses, five Air Medals, and the Chung Mu Order of Military Merit from South Korea. Graduated in 1959 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Attended Experimental Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base and served for three years at the Air Force Flight Test Center, flying T-38s, F-104s, and other jets. Selected by NASA for astronaut...

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James Smith McDonnell

Enshrined 1977
April 9, 1899 - August 22nd, 1980

Pilot, Engineer, & Entrepreneur Born: April 9, 1899 in Denver, Colorado Death: August 22nd, 1980 Enshrined: 1977 Formed the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in 1939 and developed the XP-67 fighter. Introduced the FH-1 Phantom II which became the first jet to operate from a carrier when it took off from the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, on July 21st, 1946. He also developed the Gargoyle glider bomb and the Whirlaway helicopter. Developed the world’s first “convertiplane” in 1951 which lifted vertically by a jet-operated rotor, and flew forward by means of a pusher propeller. Created the supersonic, multi-mission F-4 Phantom II for...

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Charles Edward McGee

Enshrined 2011
December 7, 1919 - January 16, 2022

Applied for a pilot’s slot in an experimental all black squadron and received orders to ​​Tuskegee Army Air Field in 1942. Was instrumental to the growth of the Tuskegee Airmen Association. Joined the pioneering all-black 332nd Fighter Group, 12th Air Force, flying P-39 Airacobras from a base near Naples, Italy. By May of 1944, the 332nd was with the 15th Air Force, flying P-47 Thunderbolts, and later, P-51 Mustangs on fighter sweeps and long-range bomber escort missions out of Ramatelli. The 332nd, also known as the “Red Tails,” soon earned the respect of their Luftwaffe counterparts and of the white...

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Thomas McGuire Jr.

Enshrined 2000
August 1, 1920 - January 7, 1945

Pilot, Ace, & Record Setter Born: August 1, 1920 in Ridgewood, New Jersey Death: January 7, 1945 Enshrined: 2000 Enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program six months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He earned his wings in 1942 and was transferred to Alaska during the early Aleutian campaign. Joined the first all P-38 equipped 431st Fighter Squadron in the 475th Fighter Group and, after a year of combat flying, he earned ace status in just two days. McGuire also flew several combat missions with Charles Lindbergh (enshrined 1967) between June and August of...

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John Charles Meyer

Enshrined 1988
April 3, 1919 - December 2, 1975

Pilot & Military Leader Born: April 3, 1919 in Brooklyn, New York Death: December 2, 1975 Enshrined: 1988 Enlisted in the Air Corps in 1939 and, in July 1940, received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in addition to his pilot wings. Meyer received an assignment to the Eighth Air Force in England where he commanded the 487th Fighter Squadron and led it into combat during World War II. Served as the Deputy Commander of the 352nd Fighter Group and became the leading American Ace in Europe with 37.5 aircraft destroyed in the air or on the ground. By the...

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Russell W. Meyer Jr.

Enshrined 2009
Born

Pilot, Promotor, & Advocate Born: NEED BIRTHDATE 1932 in Davenport, Iowa. Enshrined: 2009 Flew as a jet pilot in the U.S. Air Force from 1955 to 1958 and with the U.S. Marine Air Corps Reserves from 1958 to 1961. Accomplished commercial, instrument-rated pilot with more than 17,000 hours of flight time and type rated in all models of the Cessna Citation business jet. Served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Grumman American Aviation Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio from 1966 to 1974. Led Cessna from 1975 to 2003 as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and was named Chairman Emeritus in...

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William “Billy” Mitchell

Enshrined 1966
December 29, 1879 - February 19, 1936

Pilot, Military Leader, & Promotor Born: December 29, 1879 in Nice, France Death: February 19, 1936 Enshrined: 1966 Became the youngest captain in the U.S. Army at age 23 and the youngest officer ever assigned to the General Staff of the War Department in Washington at 32. He was one of the first to understand and advocate the need for a stronger and more independent Air Force. Learned to fly in 1916 and commanded an aviation section in the Signal Corps. First American officer to fly over enemy lines. Joined General Pershing’s staff in Europe in July 1917 and helped...

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Marc Andrew Mitscher

Enshrined 1989
January 26, 1887 - February 3, 1947

Pilot & Military Leader Born: January 26, 1887 in Hillsboro, Wisconsin Death: February 3, 1947 Enshrined: 1989 ​​Appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1906 and graduated in 1910. Reported for aviation training at Naval Aeronautic Station (NAS) Pensacola, on board USS North Carolina, which was one of the first Navy ships to carry an airplane. Mitscher received a designation Naval Aviator No. 33 on June 2nd, 1916. Piloted one of the unsuccessful NC seaplanes attempting the first airborne transatlantic crossing in 1919. Made the first successful take off and landing on the USS Saratoga in 1928. Commanded the USS...

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William Adger Moffett

Enshrined 2008
October 31, 1869 - April 4, 1933

Military Leader & Advocate Born: October 31, 1869 in Charleston, South Carolina Death: April 4, 1933 Enshrined: 2008 Entered the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in 1890. Awarded the the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery on the morning of April 22, 1913 where he landed a party of sailors and Marines at Vera Cruz. Throughout the day, Chester provided gunfire support while under constant small arms fire. Established flight training as commander of the Great Lakes Naval Training Station and opened schools for aviation mechanics, quartermasters and armorers. Assigned to Washington as Director of Aviation in the Office...

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John Joseph Montgomery

Enshrined 1964
February 25, 1858 - October 31, 1911

Inventor & Promotor Born: February 25, 1858 in Yuba City, California Death: October 31, 1911 Enshrined: 1964 Became the first person in America to be freely supported in gliding flights in 1883. Developed a manned glider in 1905 that was raised by a balloon to substantial heights and released. An associate demonstrated the glider at a pre-selected landing site. Continued to develop and improve gliders until he was killed in a gliding accident in 1911. Brought widespread attention to aviation through the public demonstrations of his glider.

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Thomas Hinman Moorer

Enshrined 1987
February 9, 1912 - February 5, 2004

Pilot & Military Leader Born: February 9, 1912 in Mount Willing, Alabama Death: February 5, 2004 Enshrined: 1987 Appointed to the United States Naval Academy and graduated in 1933 with a bachelor of science degree. Accepted to the United States Naval Aviation Training School in 1935 and successfully completed his flight training in 1936. He was then assigned to Fighting Squadron 1-B (VF-1B) that same year. Shot down in his Consolidated PBY Catalina patrol bomber flying boat on February 19th, 1942, north of Darwin, Australia. Assigned to the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of Japan team for the Office of...

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Sanford Alexander Moss

Enshrined 1976
August 23, 1872 - November 10, 1946

Joined the General Electric Company in 1903 where his research on centrifugal air compressors enabled the company to become a world leader in this field. Developed an engine turbo supercharger for warplanes during World War I to attain higher altitude. The successful turbo supercharger was used on planes that set world altitude records and for high altitude bombing tests on the battleship USS New Jersey. Installed a turbo-supercharger on America’s revolutionary new B-17 bomber, which enabled it to achieve an astounding 311 miles per hour at 25,000 feet. Subsequently, another Flying Fortress set a transcontinental record of nine hours and...

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Gerhard Neumann

Enshrined 1986
October 8, 1917 - November 2, 1997

Joined the “American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force” under Claire Lee Chennault (enshrined 1972) as a mechanic. It was there that he was affectionately nicknamed “Herman the German.” Assembled a Japanese Zero from several damaged ones so its flight characteristics could be accessed. It was discovered the Zero had no protective armor for its pilot, no self-sealing fuel tanks, and no electric starter. Also, it could not dive fast because of its lightweight construction. As a result, American pilots were told to make a fast pass at a Zero and then drive away from it. Joined the 5329th...

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Ruth Rowland Nichols

Enshrined 1992
February 23, 1901 - September 25, 1960

Became the first licensed woman seaplane pilot in the U.S. in 1924. She eventually flew every type of aircraft developed and was rated in the dirigible, glider, autogyro, landplane, seaplane, amphibian, monoplanes, biplanes, triplanes, twin and four engine transports and supersonic jets. First to fly non-stop from New York to Miami in 1928 along with her flight instructor. Entered the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, from Santa Monica to Cleveland, which was the first time that women competed in a major air race. Became the first women to land in all 48 contiguous states in 1929. Co-founded the women’s flying organization...

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Carl Lukas Norden

Enshrined 1994
April 23, 1880 - June 14, 1965

Patented control systems for launching aerial torpedoes from ships. Designed robot flying bombs, radio-controlled target planes, catapults, and arresting gear used on aircraft carriers. Began work in 1921 on an instrument which could drop bombs from an aircraft and hit targets on land and sea, and in 1928 developed a bomb-timing device. Developed a gyrostabilized automatic pilot to combat pilot’s problems maintaining constant airspeed and altitude. Developed the Norden bombsight that was used during World War II, the Korean War, and for photo reconnaissance missions during the Cold War.

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John Knudsen Northrop

Enshrined 1974
November 10, 1895 - February 18, 1981

Co-invented a process for making monoplane fuselages and helped design the F-1 flying boat in 1916 while working for the Loughead Aircraft Company (later renamed Lockheed). Assumed the role of Chief Engineer at Lockheed in 1927 and built the Vega monoplane. Owned the Avion Company which he later sold and renamed the Northrop Aircraft Corporation. Designed the first flying wing and the Alpha and Beta monoplanes. Formed his own corporation again in 1932 as a subsidiary of Douglas and built the Gamma, Delta transport, and the Dauntless dive-bomber. Formed Northrop Aircraft, Inc. in 1939 where he built the first successful...

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Robin Olds

Enshrined 2001
July 14, 1922 - June 14, 2007

Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and received his commission as Second Lieutenant in June of 1943. Achieved ace status as a fighter pilot during World War II by shooting down 13 enemy aircraft in 107 combat mission and destroying 11.5 aircraft on the ground. First American to command a British Royal Air Force Squadron. Was wing man on the first jet acrobatic team in the Air Force and won second place in the Thompson Trophy Race (Jet Division) at Cleveland in 1946 Assumed the role of commander in 1966 of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing in...

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Clyde Edward Pangborn

Enshrined 1995
October 28, 1894 - March 29, 1958

Volunteered for the Aviation Section of the Army Signal Corps in 1917. Served temporarily as a flight instructor on Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, aircraft at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, until he was demobilized in March of 1919. Formed the famous Gates Flying Circus after World War I with Ivan Gates. Known as “Upside-down” because of slowly rolling airplanes onto their backs and gliding upside-down. Between 1922 and 1928, he flew approximately 125,000 miles without personal injury and also held the world record for changing planes in mid-air. During the Depression, he and Hugh Herdon, Jr. set out to fly from...

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William Allan Patterson

Enshrined 1976
- June 13, 1980

Promoted to Executive Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Air Transport, then was promoted to Vice President of United Aircraft and Transport Corporation where he managed its Boeing Air Transport, Pacific Air Transport, National Air Transport and Varney Air Lines. Introduced the first flight stewardess in 1930 as Vice President of United Aircraft and Transport Corporation. Became president of United Air Lines Transport Corporation in 1934 and introduced air express services, flight kitchens, sleeper services, and improved passenger safety and comfort. Planned the DC-4 airliner, began flights to Hawaii in 1946, and established specifications for the DC-8 jetliner. Equipped...

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Frank Nicholas Piasecki

Enshrined 2002
October 24, 1919 - February 11, 2008

Founded the PV-Engineering Forum in 1940 that developed transport helicopters and vertical lift aircraft. Flew the PV-Engineering Forum’s first helicopter, the PV-2, on April 11th, 1943 which was the second successful helicopter to fly in America. Convinced the U.S. Navy to grant the forum a contract to design a large tandem rotor helicopter and piloted the world’s first successful tandem rotor helicopter in 1945. Created the HUP in 1948 which was the first helicopter to complete an aerial loop and would later become the first production helicopter equipped with an auto-pilot feature. First person to qualify with the Civil Aeronautics...

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William Thomas Piper Sr.

Enshrined 1980
January 8, 1881 - January 15, 1970

Served as a captain in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War I. Invested in the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation in 1929 and then bought its assets in 1930 reorganizing it into the Taylor Aircraft Corporation. Invested in designing and building low-cost airplanes during the Great Depression. The most popular, the Piper Cub, cost only $1,325 with free flying lessons. Established the Piper Aircraft Corporation in 1937 and, by 1940, Piper represented a third of all civilian aircraft in the United States. In World War II the first Piper L-4 went into combat during the invasion of North Africa....

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Harold Frederick Pitcairn

Enshrined 1995
June 20, 1897 - April 24, 1960

Attended the Curtiss Flying School at Newport News, Virginia, and later graduated from the Army Air Cadet School in 1918. Experimented with helicopters where he and Agnew Larsen developed a flying model with 42-inch diameter rotor blades and carbon dioxide jets on the rotor tips. Designed the PA-2 Sesqui-Wing Racer, the second Pitcairn design, which won the 1926 National Air Races in two classes. Designed and built the PA-5 after the United States government announced plans to contract with private operators to carry air mail. The aircraft could carry 600 pounds of mail and had the speed and cruising radius...

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Paul Howard Poberezny

Enshrined 1999
September 14, 1921 - August 22, 2013

Worked as a civilian flying instructor at the U.S. Army Primary Flying School in Helena, Arkansas, during World War II. He later enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves where he served as a ferry pilot, then later received a commission and service pilot wings. Assigned to Korea in 1952 where he flew C-47s. Founded the Experimental Aircraft association (EAA) in 1953 and was the organization’s first president, serving for 36 years. Instrumental in organizing the EAA’s week-long fly-in and conventions which attract over 12,000 aircraft and 850,000 participants to Oshkosh, Wisconsin each year. Attained all seven aviation wings offered by...

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Tom Poberezny

Enshrined 2016
October 3, 1946 - July 25, 2022

Earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University in 1970. Formed the Red Devils Aerobatic Team (later renamed the Eagles in 1979) with Charlie Hillard and Gene Soucy and earned a spot on the U. S. National Unlimited Aerobatic Team. In 1972, the trio won the World Aerobatic Team Championship at Salon, France. Won the 1973 U. S. National Unlimited Aerobatic Championship. Became Chairman of EAA’s annual Fly-In and Convention at Wittman Field in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Under his leadership, the weeklong event turned into aviation’s mecca. Elected President of the EAA in 1989 where he became...

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Wiley Hardeman Post

Enshrined 1969
November 22, 1898 - August 15, 1935

Won the Derby of the National Air Races from Los Angeles to Chicago in 1930. Made the first around-the-world solo flight in his aircraft, the Winnie Mae, in seven days, 18 hours and 49.5 minutes in 1931. Conceived, aided in the design, and tested the first fully pressurized flying suit and helmet. Designed his “Man from Mars” flying suit in 1934 and made an unofficial ascent to 49,000 feet. Recognized the importance of biological rhythms to pilot proficiency and fatigue, and was one of the first to conduct human factors research in this area. Reached an altitude of 50,000 feet...

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Elwood Richard Quesada

Enshrined 2012
April 13, 1904 - February 9, 1993

Enlisted in the Air Service in 1924 as an air cadet. Was a member of the five-man crew, including Major Carl Spaatz (enshrined 1967) and Captain Ira Eaker (enshrined 1970), which sought to research aircraft endurance. On New Year’s Day 1929, the crew lifted off from Van Nuys, California, and remained in the air for 150 hours. Commanded the 12 th Fighter Command and was deputy commanding general of the Northwest African Coastal Air Force in the Mediterranean. Quesada immersed himself in new technologies such as radar and radio communications. Spearheaded the use of Close-Air-Support in conjunction with ground forces....

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Harriet Quimby

Enshrined 2004
May 11, 1875 - July 1, 1912

Pilot, Record Setter, & Promotor Born: May 11, 1875 in Michigan Death: July 1, 1912 Enshrined: 2004 Made a name for herself as one of California’s premiere newspaperwomen and traveled to Los Angeles to cover the first air meet ever held in the U.S.. In October 1910, she accepted an assignment to cover New York’s Belmont Air Meet. Convinced her editor that Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly should pay for her flying lessons and that she, in exchange, would chronicle her experiences for the magazine’s readers. Wrote detailed instruction on how ladies might wish to dress for an airborne excursion, outlined the...

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Albert Cushing Read

Enshrined 1965
March 29, 1887 - October 10, 1967

Graduated with high honors from the Naval Academy in 1907 and designated Naval Aviator No. 24 in 1915. Served aboard the USS Carolina, the first Navy ship provided with aircraft, where he made numerous catapult take-offs as part of his regular flight operations. Commanded the first transatlantic flight in the NC-4 in 1919. For this, he was awarded the Portuguese award of Commander of the Military Order of the Tower and Sword, the Distinguished Service Medal, and a special medal struck to commemorate the NC-4 flight. Made an extensive goodwill tour of the United States in the NC-4. Became Chief...

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Robert Campbell Reeve

Enshrined 1975
March 27, 1902 - August 25, 1980

Pilot Born: March 27, 1902 in Waunakee, Wisconsin Death: August 25, 1980 Enshrined: 1975 Joined two barnstormers and earned his license as an aircraft mechanic and a pilot. Later, he served briefly as a cadet in the Army Air Corps. Pioneered an airmail route between Chile and Peru in 1928. Went to Alaska in 1932 where he made bush flights, supplied gold mines, and became known as “The Glacier Pilot” for making 2,000 glacier landings. Surveyed military airfield sites in the Aleutians for the Civil Aeronautics Authority in 1941. Surveyed a rail route across Alaska in 1942. Was contracted as...

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Frederick Brant Rentschler

Enshrined 1982
November 8, 1887 - April 25, 1956

Engineer & Entrepreneur Born: November 8, 1887 in Ohio Death: April 25, 1956 Enshrined: 1982 Helped form the Wright Aeronautical Corporation in 1909 and as president led the development of the “Whirlwind,” America’s first high-powered air-cooled radial aircraft engine used in record-setting flights in the 1920s and 30s. Built the Wright Mystery Ship for the 1922 Pulitzer Trophy Race. In 1925, Rentschler helped establish the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company to develop the higher horsepower “Wasp” radial engine for military, commercial and private aircraft. By 1926, the Navy had ordered 200 Wasps for its high performance Boeing fighters and Vought...

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Benjamin “Ben” Robert Rich

Enshrined 2005
June 18, 1925 - January 5, 1995

Built his first airplane “Piper Cub” at age 14. Rich joined Lockheed in 1950 working on aerodynamics, thermodynamic, propulsion and preliminary design of the F-104, U-2, YF-12 and SR-71 and numerous other technically innovative projects of Skunk Works. Recommended painting aircraft black to eliminate some of the heat after experiencing a heat problem with a new Mach 3 plane. The new aircraft became known as the “Blackbird family” of reconnaissance planes, the fastest and highest flying jets in the world at that time. Named senior engineer for advanced programs at Lockheed in 1963. Selected by Kelly Johnson (enshrined 1974) to...

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Holden Chester Richardson

Enshrined 1978
December 7, 1878 - September 2, 1960

Pilot Born: December 7, 1878 in Shamokin, Pennsylvania Death: September 2, 1960 Enshrined: 1978 Graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1901 and was designated Naval aviator #13. Served as the Navy’s first engineering test pilot. Aided in the development of seaplane floats, flying boat hulls, and the first successful catapult which enabled aircraft to go to sea with warships. Participated in the first transatlantic crossing of the Curtiss NC flying boats as a pilot in 1919 and was made an officer of the Order of the Tower and Sword by the Portuguese government for this feat. Richardson was...

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Edward “Eddie” Vernon Rickenbacker

Enshrined 2004
October 8, 1890 - July 27, 1973

Pilot, Record Setter, & Dare Devil Born: October 8, 1890 in Columbus, Ohio Death: July 27, 1973 Enshrined: 2004 Was one of the nation’s leading race car drivers and served as General Pershing’s official chauffeur during World War I until he was transferred to the AEF’s Aviation Instruction Center. Assigned to the newly established 94th Aero Squadron, the Hat-in-the-Ring Squadron, in 1918. Shot down his first enemy plane in a spectacular fight while flying with James Hall over the Montsec area. For his bravery in action, the French awarded him the Croix de Guerre with Palm. Placed in command of...

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Sally Kristen Ride

Enshrined 2007
May 26, 1951 - July 23, 2012

Astronaut & Engineer Born: May 26, 1951 in Los Angeles, California Death: July 23, 2012 Enshrined: 2007 Was one of only 6 women accepted in the 8th class of Astronauts. Learned to fly a T-38 jet and participated in the design of the remote mechanical manipulator arm during astronaut training. Became the first American woman in space aboard STS-7, Challenger, in 1983 where she served as a flight engineer and mission specialist. The remote manipulator arm was used to deploy and retrieve a satellite that flew in formation with the space shuttle for part of the mission. Returned to space...

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Jackie “Jack” Lynwood Ridley

Enshrined 2004
June 16, 1915 - March 12, 1957

Pilot & Engineer Born: June 16, 1915 in Garvin, Oklahoma Death: March 12, 1957 Enshrined: 2004 Received orders to the Flying Training School at Kelly Army Air Base in Texas, where he earned his pilot wings in May 1942. Ordered to the Consolidated Vultee plant in Fort Worth, Texas, where his initial assignment twas to conduct acceptance tests on four-engined B-24 Liberator bombers. Soon thereafter, he was assigned to both the B-24 and B-32 programs, and then the B-36. Named project engineer of the project team that would attempt the world’s first supersonic flight. Ridley’s task was to analyze all...

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Clifford “Cliff” Parker Robertson III

Enshrined 2006
September 9, 1923 - September 10, 2011

Pilot & Advocate Born: September 9, 1923 in La Jolla, California Death: September 10, 2011 Enshrined: 2006 Attempted to join the Naval Air Corps, but was sent to maritime officers’ school and then to the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean theaters during World War II. Received an Emmy for his leading role in “The Game”, an Oscar for Best Actor for “Charly”, and he was selected to portray President John F. Kennedy by the President himself in “PT-109.” Advocated for general and military aviation and was a highly respected and sought-after speaker at many aviation events. He gave more non-compensated speeches...

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S. Harry Robertson III

Enshrined 2011
Born October 2, 1934

Born: October 2, 1934 in Phoenix, Arizona Enshrined: 2011 Earned five national model aircraft flying records by age 19. Entered the Air Force in 1956 and began military pilot training. Participated in the investigation of six military aircraft accidents and spent many hours theorizing methods to greatly reduce the crash fire hazard. Formed Robertson Research Engineers to solicit funding to conduct his crashworthy fuel system research. Crash-tested over 40 full-sized aircraft and hundreds of newly designed crashworthy devices, amassing critical data and knowledge. This research helped define the way aircraft comes apart in a crash. Prior to the use of...

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Calibrath “Cal” Rodgers

Enshrined 1964
January 12, 1879 - April 3, 1912

Participated in the first aerial photography of industrial plants. Won the $11,000 World’s Grand Endurance Aviation Contest in Chicago staying in the air for 27 hours at intervals over a period of nine days in 1911. Demonstrated the airplane’s potential for long distance travel and air commerce. Established the feasibility of transcontinental airmail service after a 49 day trip across the United States. Though his aircraft, a Wright biplane nicknamed the Vin Fiz after his sponsor’s new soft drink, crashed multiple times, he was dubbed “King of the Air” for his perseverance.

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Will Rodgers

Enshrined 1977
November 4, 1879 - August 15, 1935

Flew in mail planes, paying by the pound and cramming himself uncomfortably into the cockpit with the mail sacks, to allow him to travel faster to report news. Rogers would become the first passenger to make a round-trip transcontinental flight in a mail plane. Made an aerial benefit tour to raise money for victims of the Mississippi River flood in 1927. Visited Mexico on a goodwill mission with Charles Lindbergh (enshrined 1967) in 1927. Went on a flying tour with pilot Frank Hawks, giving performances to raise relief money during the Great Depression. The pair brought hope by raising a...

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Robert A. Rushworth

Enshrined 1990
October 9, 1924 - March 18, 1993

Earned his pilot wings in 1944 and was assigned to the 12th Combat Cargo Squadron where he flew C-47 and C-46 missions. Served during the Korean War as a F-80C Shooting Star pilot with the 49th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Dow Air Force Base. Served at the Directorate of Flight and All-Weather Testing, where he specialized in the development and flight testing of experimental automatic flight control systems. Attended the Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School. He was assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center in 1957, first as an experimental flight test officer then eventually as Assistant Director...

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Elbert “Burt” Rutan

Enshrined 1995
Born June 17, 1943

Employed as a civilian flight test project engineer with the United States Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California where he worked on nine different Air Force research projects. Became the Director of Development at the Bede Test Center in Newton, Kansas in 1972. Projects there included the BD-5, the BD-6 and the BD-J5 or “pocket rocket” jet, which has since been featured in movies and numerous air shows worldwide. Started the Rutan Aircraft Factory which developed and marketed innovative “canard” airplane designs for aviators interested in building their own light craft at home. He also created ground-breaking...

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Richard “Dick” Rutan

Enshrined 2002
Born July 1, 1938

Served the Air Force as a Tactical Air Command fighter pilot in Vietnam where he flew 325 combat missions. 105 of those were with the top-secret MISTY group, a special, forward air control unit that used their two-seat F-100 fighters to mark targets over North Vietnam along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Earned a number of prestigious accolades including the Silver Star, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, 16 Air Medals, and the Purple Heart. Served as Rutan Aircraft Factory’s Chief Test Pilot where he set numerous world speed and distance records in the Rutan Long-EZ. His accomplishments in the Long-EZ earned...

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Tubal Claude Ryan

Enshrined 1974
January 3, 1898 - September 11, 1982

Attempted to join up the Navy and then Army when the military made a plea for pilots during World War I, but he was too young. He enrolled in the American School of Aviation where he convinced his instructors to write a letter indicating that he had had some training. The Army then accepted him for flight training, but the Armistice was signed and World War I ended before his call-up date. Became a barnstormer offering rides for $2.50 or $5.00. He set up shop at Dutch Flats and opened the Ryan Flying Company, advertising passenger transport and a school...

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Walter “Wally” Marty Schirra Jr.

Enshrined 1986
March 12, 1923 - May 3, 2007

Joined the Navy shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and earned his Naval Aviator wings in 1948 Flew in over 90 combat missions during the Korean War. Participated in the development of the Sidewinder missile, an anti-aircraft missile that had an infrared sensor which enabled it to seek out the engine of an enemy plane and then fly up its tailpipe and explode. Selected as Commander of NASA’s Mercury program with the goal to orbit a one-man spacecraft and measure its pilot’s reactions and abilities during flight. Launched on the third U.S. Orbital flight on October 3, 1962...

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Bernard Adolf Schriever

Enshrined 1980
September 14, 1910 - June 20, 2005

Assigned to the Southwest Pacific as a B-17 pilot during World War II and took part in major campaigns, flying 63 combat missions. Later in the war, he commanded the advanced headquarters of the Far East Service Command which was a vital link in winning the war. Served as Chief of the Air Force’s Scientific Liaison Branch and then Assistant Chief for Development Planning upon graduation from the National War College. Became Assistant to the Commander of the Air Research and Development Command, and headed its secret new Western Development Division, with complete authority over the Atlas program. He established...

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Thomas Etholen Selfridge

Enshrined 1965
February 8, 1882 - September 17, 1908

Appointed to the Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1903. Assigned to Baddeck, Nova Scotia by President Theodore Roosevelt as an official observer to Dr. Alexander Graham Bell’s (enshrined 1965) kite experiments. Aided in the formation of the Aerial Experiment Association formed in October of 1907 and  was elected Secretary. Made his first flight in a large kite called “Cygnet I”. On December 6th, he laid in the center of the kite placed aboard a scow and was towed across lake Bras d’Or. When a strong wind arose, the kite left the scow and soared to a height...

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Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr.

Enshrined 1977
November 18, 1923 - July 21, 1998

Served as a Navy fighter pilot and test pilot with over 8,000 flying hours. Selected as one of seven astronauts to participate in Project Mercury, the United States’ first manned space program. First American to make a suborbital flight in the Project Mercury program on Freedom 7, May 5th, 1961. As the spacecraft sped upward on its long arced flight and neared a maximum altitude of 116 miles, Shepard experienced  weightlessness for five minutes, performed 27 major tasks, and sent 70 communications back to Earth. Presented with NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal by President Kennedy for his 1961 space flight. Named...

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Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky

Enshrined 1968
May 25, 1889 - October 26, 1972

Created the S-6A which received the highest possible award at the Moscow aircraft show. Developed aviation’s first four-engine plane in 1913. Converted the Ilia Mourometz into a bomber that became the backbone of the Russian aerial offensive against the Germans during World War I. Altogether, the planes participated in over 400 raids, but only one took damage from anti-aircraft fire. Immigrated to the United States during the Bolshevik Revolution and designed a twin-engine commercial airplane capable of carrying 12 to 15 passengers, the forerunner of the modern airliner. Built a twin-engine amphibian which Pan American Airways used to pioneer its...

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Abe Silverstein

Enshrined 2015
September 15, 1908 - June 1, 2001

Became Chief of the Engine Installation Division and the wind tunnel’s research program at the NACA Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in 1943. Directed research in the propulsion aerodynamics of both reciprocating and early turbojet aircraft engines, resulting in major improvements to the performance of military aircraft. Joined the NACA High-Speed Panel in 1944 and advocated building a supersonic wind tunnel in Cleveland. He was responsible for the conception, design, and construction of the nation’s first supersonic propulsion wind tunnel Appointed Associate Director of the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in 1952. Helped plan the organization and programs of NASA, then named...

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Robert Forman Six

Enshrined 1980
June 25, 1907 - October 6, 1986

Formed the Valley Flying Service in 1929 after earning his pilot’s license. Invested in the Southwest division of Varney Speed Lines in 1936, later moving the headquarters to Denver, Colorado, and renaming it Continental Airlines. Contracted for Continental Airlines to modify warplanes, operate military cargo routes, and train aircrews during World War II. Spent part of World War II in the Army Air Transport Command as a lieutenant colonel and the remainder as a reserve officer in charge of Continental Airlines’ bomber modification center. Merged Continental with Pioneer Airlines after World War II, expanding its routes. Introduced jetliners and initiated...

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Donald “Deke” Slayton

Enshrined 1996
March 1, 1924 - June 13, 1993

Flew 56 combat missions in Europe as a B-25 pilot from October, 1943 to May, 1944. In May 1945, Slayton went to Okinawa with the 319th Bombardment Group and flew seven combat missions over Japan in A-26s. Attended the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California which he graduated from in December of 1955. Selected for the Mercury Astronaut mission, but was grounded from flying after being diagnosed with a heart anomaly. He then became the coordinator of astronaut activities. Appointed Assistant Director of Flight Crew Operations at NASA in 1963 where he was heavily involved in...

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Cyrus “C.R.” Smith

Enshrined 1974
September 9, 1899 - April 4, 1990

Took charge of the southern division of American Airways in 1930 and became vice president for operations of the entire airline in 1933. Elected President and Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines in 1934. Under his leadership, American Airlines introduced the first aerial sleeper service and established transcontinental service along its southern route. Introduced the Douglas DC-3 to commercial flying. Joined the Army Air Forces as Chief of Staff of the newly established Air Transport Command and helped build it into a global air transportation system, ferrying most of the nation’s war-planes to overseas destinations and carrying vitally needed men...

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Frederick W. Smith

Enshrined 2007
Born August 11, 1944

Served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1966 to 1970 where he flew over 200 missions as a FAC in OV-10 Broncos. Founded the FedEx Corporation in 1971 and served as Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of the company. Responsible for providing strategic direction for all FedEx Corporation operating companies, including FedEx Services, FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Kinko’s. FedEx Express was the first service company to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1990. FedEx has consistently been ranked on FORTUNE magazine’s industry lists, including “World’s Most Admired Companies” and “America’s...

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Carl “Tooey” Spaatz

Enshrined 1967
June 28, 1891 - July 14, 1974

Attended the United States Military Academy and received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry in 1914. Flew under the command of General Billy Mitchell (enshrined 1966), in the Thirteenth Aero Squadron of the Second Pursuit Group during World War I. During this time he was credited with downing three German Fokkers behind enemy lines, a feat for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross. Served as the commanding officer of the Question Mark’s five-man crew and as chief of the project. This monumental flight set a world’s endurance flight record and proved the practicality of in-flight refueling...

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Lawrence Burst Sperry Sr.

Enshrined 1981
December 21, 1892 - December 13, 1923

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...

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Elmer Ambrose Sperry Sr.

Enshrined 1973
October 12, 1860 - June 16, 1930

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...

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Thomas Patten Stafford

Enshrined 1997
Born September 17, 1930

Attended the United States Naval Academy and graduated with honors in 1952. Attended the Experimental Flight Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base where he graduated first in his class in 1959. After graduation, he served at the school as an instructor and co-authored two flight test manuals. Was one of only nine selected for the second group of NASA astronauts in 1962. Served as pilot on Gemini 6, where he teamed with Wally Schirra (enshrined 1986). Gemini 6 performed the world’s first rendezvous in space as they orbited within a few feet of James Lovell (enshrined 1998) and...

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Robert Morris Stanley

Enshrined 1990
August 19, 1912 - July 16, 1977

Participated in the design of the DC-1, 2, and 3, XF D-1 Navy fighter, and the TBD-1 torpedo plane while working at Douglas Aircraft. Patented a mechanically controlled reversible pitch propeller. Received his naval aviator wings in 1936 where one of his first exploits was to fly from the USS Lexington in search of Amelia Earhart. Proposed the development of a guided missile in 1939 which eventually became Project Kingfisher. Made the first test flight of an American jet on October 1st, 1942. Served as Engineering Vice President at Bell after World War II and was responsible for the world’s...

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John Paul Stapp

Enshrined 1985
July 11, 1910 - November 13, 1999

Became a research officer in the Aeromedical Laboratory of Wright Field, Ohio in 1946 where he studied problems of escaping from aircraft at high altitudes. Provided the effectiveness of a liquid oxygen breathing system and established preventative measures for high altitude bends and dehydration. Set out to find why some Air Force men died and others survived seemingly equally violent crashes. At Muroc AFB, California, he personally made 26 rocket-powered sled runs to test human reactions to high rates of acceleration (35 times that of gravity) and deceleration. At Holloman AFB, New Mexico, he attained a ground speed record at...

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Lloyd Carlton Stearman

Enshrined 1989
October 26, 1898 - April 3, 1975

Learned to fly in a Curtiss N-9 seaplane while in the U.S. Navy Reserve Flying Corps. Went to work as a mechanic for EM Lairs Company in 1920 on the Laird Swallow airplane. Learned the finer points of flying from another EM Laird employee, Walter Beech (enshrined 1977). Became chief engineer of the Swallow Airplane Company in 1924 where the Swallow airplane became one of the most coveted planes among America’s sporting pilots. Formed the Stearman Aircraft Company in 1926 which produced the C-1, C-2, C-2m and the C-2C. Joined with others to purchase Lockheed Aircraft Company in 1930 and...

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James “Jimmy” Maitland Stewart

Enshrined 2009
May 20, 1908 - July 2, 1997

Won the Academy Award as Best Actor of the Year in 1940 for his role in “The Philadelphia Story.” Had over 400 flight hours as a civilian pilot when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 and became an instructor for both the B-17 and B-24. Was sent to England as Operations Officer for the 703rd Squadron, 445th Bombardment Group of the Eighth Air Force in 1943, then transferred to the 453rd Bombardment Group in 1944. Flew 20 dangerous combat missions as a B-24 command pilot, wing commander or squadron commander during World War II. Awarded the Distinguished...

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Katherine Stinson

Enshrined 2019
February 14, 1891 - July 8, 1977

Became one of the first women in the United States to receive a pilot’s license in 1912 at the young age of 19. Established a flying business with her mother in San Antonio, Texas and became one of the most well-known flying schools at the time.. Rose to national prominence during her exhibition flights across the United States and, in 1915, Became the first woman to perform a loop. Pioneered skywriting when she attached flares to her plane and wrote “CAL” across the California sky in 1915. Organized a six-month tour of China and Japan in 1917 to demonstrate flying....

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James Bond Stockdale

Enshrined 2002
December 23, 1923 - July 5, 2005

Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1946. Attended Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland and was the first military officer to teach an academic course in airplane performance there. Served as the flight leader of the first supersonic jets on the scene during the 1958 Taiwan Straits crisis. Served as the flight leader for the first air strike against North Vietnam following the Tonkin Gulf incident in 1964. Shot down over North Vietnam in 1965 and spent seven and a half years as a prisoner of war in the Hoa Lo Prison, or “Hanoi Hilton.” He spent...

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Joan Sullivan Garrett

Enshrined 2020
Born August 2, 1949

Became a critical-care registered flight nurse and Chief Medical Officer and wanted to improve the way professionals responded to remote emergencies to help save more lives. Created MedAire, a service dedicated to providing aviation and maritime sectors with travel risk mitigation solutions, in 1985. Called for having better medical supplies onboard and a higher standard of first responder training. As a result, she exponentially improved the standard of care and overall safety of crew and passengers. Formed MedLink in 1987 and was dubbed the “911 of the sky” as it provides the flight crew with the ability to contact ground-based...

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Charles “Charley” Taylor

Enshrined 1965
May 24, 1868 - January 30, 1956

Started working at the Wright bicycle shop in 1901. Helped the Wright brothers build a wind tunnel and tested all kinds of shapes in the wind tunnel until they indicated they were ready. He then helped the brothers build another glider which they took to Kitty Hawk. Built the engine that powered the Wright Brothers’ first airplane and was one of the three men responsible for the “first flight.” Accompanied the brothers on their visit to Europe in 1907 to demonstrate their airplane. The first aviation mechanic, the airport manager at Huffman Prairie, and the man behind construction and maintenance...

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Louise McPhetridge Thaden

Enshrined 1999
November 12, 1905 - November 9, 1979

Set a women’s altitude record of 20,260 feet in 1928. She set a new women’s endurance record of 22 hours, 3 minutes and 12 seconds in 1929. Was the fourth woman transport pilot in the United States. Became the first woman to win a national air race when she won the Women’s Air Derby flying from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio (a distance of almost 2,500 miles). Set an endurance record in 1932 by flying a Curtiss Thrush biplane for 196 hours over Long Island, New York with Francis Marsalis. During the eight days, Thaden made seventy-eight air-to-air refueling...

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Lowell Thomas

Enshrined 1992
April 6, 1892 - August 29, 1981

Commissioned by President Woodrow Wilson as one of the first war correspondents of World War I and covered the exploits of Lawrence of Arabia. Began his broadcast career in 1925 at KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he narrated the first aerial circumnavigation of the earth. Described the final battle between the Germans and Russians from a P-51 Mustang in 1945. Participated in the first flight across the Antarctic from Africa to Australia, Cape Town to McCurdo Sound, and on to New Zealand. Wrote a book with his son in 1969 entitled Famous First Flights that Changed History. Was a member...

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Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr.

Enshrined 1996
February 23, 1915 - November 1, 2007

Enlisted as a flying cadet in the Army Air Corps at Fort Thomas, Kentucky in 1937. A year later, he got his pilot wings at Kelly Field, Texas and received a commission as a second lieutenant. Became the Squadron Commander of the 340th Bomb Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group in 1942 where he flew 25 missions in B-17s, including the first American Flying Fortress raid against occupied Europe. Returned to the United States in 1943 to test the combat capability of the B-29. He taught himself to fly the airplane and subsequently flew it for nearly 400 hours in tests. Assigned...

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John Henry Towers

Enshrined 1966
January 30, 1885 - Apri 30, 1955

Graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1906. Was in charge of the aviation unit in 1913 which began its first operations with the Fleet off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they explored the potential of the planes in aerial reconnaissance, bombing, aerial photography, and wireless communications. Took part in activating the first Naval Air Station at Pensacola in 1914 and led the air unit’s first action in the Mexican crisis. Led the Navy’s attempt in 1919 to fly across the Atlantic in the NC-3 flying boat. For this, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Commanded the USS Langley,...

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Juan Terry Trippe

Enshrined 1970
June 27, 1899 - April 3, 1981

Organized his first airline, Long Island Airways, in 1923. Helped organize the Colonial Air Transport in 1924 and served as its first managing director. Colonial was awarded the first domestic airmail route by the Federal Government, which linked Boston, Hartford, and New York. Formed Pan American Airways in 1927. This company was the first international airline and initially operated between Florida and Cuba. Was the first to inaugurate air service over a major ocean (the Pacific) for mail, passengers, and cargos. Introduced around-the-world service in 1947, direct flights to South America in 1948, low-cost tourist fares in 1952, transatlantic jets...

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Sean Doherty Tucker

Enshrined 2008
Born April 27, 1952

Worked as a crop duster, flying Stearmans and Bell Model 47 helicopters in the early 1980s. Won the U.S. National Advanced Aerobatic Championship in 1988 and received his first sponsorship from Randolph Sunglasses in 1991 to fly at air shows across the nation. Received the two most prestigious air show industry honors the Art Scholl Memorial Showmanship Award and the Bill Barber Award for Airshow Showmanship in 1992. In 1997, the Sean D. Tucker School of Aerobatic Flight, now known as the Tutima Academy of Aviation Safety, opened as the world’s premier precision flight training school to increase the safety...

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Roscoe Turner

Enshrined 1975
September 29, 1895 - June 23, 1970

Set a speed record between Los Angeles and New York in 1929 while carrying a passenger. Broke the transcontinental record more times than any other person. Sported a wax mustache and a pseudo-military uniform during his barnstorming days and often flew with his pet lion “Gilmore.” Won the Bendix Transcontinental race in 1933. Won the Thompson Trophy Races in 1934, 1938, and 1939. He and Jimmy Doolittle are the only pilots to win both the Thompson and Bendix trophies. Was the sponsor and commander of the only American team to finish the McRobertson International Air Race from London, England to...

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Nathan Twining

Enshrined 1976
October 11, 1897 - March 29, 1982

Graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1918. Served as a flying instructor at Primary Flying School in Brooks Field, Texas and March Field, California. Became Assistant Executive for the Chief of the Air Corps in 1942 and was appointed Director of War Organization and Movement for the Chief of the Army Air Forces. Named commanding general of the 13th Air Force in January 1943. Appointed Commander in the Solomon Islands and placed in control of all Army, Navy, Marine, and Allied Air Forces in the South Pacific in one of the first joint air commands...

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Albert Ueltschi

Enshrined 2001
May 15, 1917 - October 18, 2012

Flew as a barnstormer. Taught an aerobatics standardization course for inspectors with the Civilian Aeronautics Administration. Became a Pan American pilot in 1941 and was named personal pilot to Juan Trippe (enshrined 1970), the company’s founder. Ueltschi’s association with Pan Am lasted 25 years. Opened Flight Safety in 1951 at La Guardia Airport to train corporate pilots seeking transition or proficiency training. Flight Safety expanded to 42 centers worldwide, teaching military, corporate, regional and airline pilots making the skies safer for everyone. Spearheaded the implementation of Project Orbis, a flying hospital and teaching facility that travels to underdeveloped countries performing...

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Hoyt Sanford Vandenberg

Enshrined 1991
January 24, 1899 - April 2, 1954

Selected to serve as Operations and Training Officer of the Air Staff at the beginning of World War II. Designed airpower strategies that contributed to key Allied ground victories in the North African, Sicilian, and Italian campaigns during World War II. Was Chief of Staff of the 12th Air Force in 1942, supporting the North African Campaign. Commanded the 9th Air Force, whose air support during World War II paved the way for Allied advances across Europe and into Germany. Played a large role in planning and providing air support for the successful invasion of Normandy, France in 1944. Became...

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Wernher von Braun

Enshrined 1982
March 23, 1912 - June 16, 1977

Became Project Director of Guided  Missile Development at Fort Bliss. There his work led to “Project Bumper” which gave the V-2 its greatest achievement when it boosted a “WAC Corporal” missile’s instrument package payload 224 miles into space. Named director of the Development Operations Division of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, with direct responsibility for the “Jupiter” intermediate range missile. In April 1960, he became director of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center at Huntsville for NASA. Led team that developed the Saturn V with his team which allowed Apollo 5 to travel to the moon in 1968. Helped...

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Theodore von Karman

Enshrined 1983
May 11, 1881 - May 7, 1963

Discovered air drag after seeing an airplane in Paris in 1908. Developed a tethered observation helicopter during World War I. Helped plan the California Institute of Technology’s new Daniel Guggenheim Graduate School of Aeronautics and its Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory in 1926 His studies on air turbulence and supersonic drag were major achievements in aviation. His investigations led to the development of Jato rockets to assist heavy aircraft take off and to the first U.S. rocket-powered aircraft in 1941. Founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratories and the Aerojet Engineering Company to develop rocket propulsion systems and missiles. Chaired a Nuclear Weapons Panel...

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Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain

Enshrined 1990
December 14, 1911 - March 13, 1998

Developed a theory of turbo jet engines in 1935 and then built a working model and patented it in 1936. Designed and produced a successful liquid-fueled engine Hes.3B and it was installed in the HC-178 airplane. The first flight of a turbojet-powered aircraft was made on August 27th, 1939 and led Germany to develop jet airplanes. Came to the U.S. in 1947 as a research scientist at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Conducted a survey study of trends and research objectives in the field of energy conversion and propulsion. Was appointed Chief Scientist of the Aerospace Research Laboratories. In this position,...

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Chance Milton Vought

Enshrined 1989
February 26, 1890 - July 25, 1930

Learned to fly from the Wright Brothers in 1911 and received FAI pilot’s certificate No. 156. Designed the Mayo-Vought simplex aircraft in 1914 which was used by the British as a World War I training plane. Joined the Wright Company of Dayton in 1916 for a short time as Chief Engineer where he produced the famous Model V Wright Flyer. Perfected his design for a standardized military training plane and created the VE-7 which the War Department enthusiastically supported. The Vought VE-7 fitted with an arresting hook made naval history in 1922 when it was used on the refitted USS...

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Leigh Wade

Enshrined 1974
February 2, 1896 - August 31, 1991

Assigned as a test pilot to McCook Field at Dayton, Ohio following World War I.  While there, he took part in the 1920 Pulitzer Trophy Race and piloted the Martin bomber to a record 27,000 foot altitude. Participated in the Air Service’s Round-the-World flight in 1923 where he flew in the “Boston” with Henry Ogden. Wade and Ogden completed 19,000 miles of the intended flight before having to make an emergency ocean landing. The pair were rescued, but the plane capsized into the ocean while being towed. Rejoined the flight around the world in a spare” World Cruiser” named “Boston...

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Patricia “Patty” Wagstaff

Enshrined 2004
Born September 11, 1951

Earned a spot on the US Aerobatic Team in 1985, five years after getting her pilot’s license. Became the first woman to win the US National Aerobatic Championships in 1991 where she earned the gold medal in each of her three flights. Won the US National Aerobatic Championships three years in a row. Earned a position on the US Aerobatic Team at the World Aerobatic Championships six times and won the Betty Skelton “First Lady of Aerobatics” Award six times. Her airplane was featured on Microsoft’s Flight Simulator where it was the only airplane on the simulator associated with a...

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Henry W. Walden

Enshrined 1964
1883 - September 13, 1964

Joined the Aeronautics Society of New York in 1908. Held pilot’s license number 74 from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. Conceived and built a successful pusher type monoplane. Was a member of the Early Birds, a club of the first 200 pilots. Made the first U.S. manned monoplane flight  on December 9th, 1909.

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Dwane Leon Wallace

Enshrined 2013
October 29, 1911 - December 21, 1989

Became the Wichita State University’s first aeronautical engineering graduate in 1933. Reorganized the Cessna Aircraft Company which was forced to shut down during the Great Depression. Clyde Cessna (enshrined 1978) was named President while Dwane, at age 23, volunteered as General Manager. Developed the C-34 Airmaster in 1934 which was soon crowned the world’s most efficient airplane. Wallace often piloted a C-34 in races to boost company fame and sales – and sometimes used winnings to meet the payroll. Became Cessna Aircraft Company’s President at age 25 and also served as the company salesman and test pilot. Produced aircraft for...

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Emily Howell Warner

Enshrined 2014
October 30th, 1939 - July 3, 2020

Worked as the receptionist at Stapleton Airport during the week and took flying lessons on her day off. Became a flight instructor in 1960 and was soon promoted to Flight School Manager and Chief Pilot. Applied to airlines for a pilot’s job, but even with her 7,000 hours, the industry was not ready. Designated an FAA Pilot Examiner in 1967. After hearing that Frontier announced a new hiring class, but she was not on the list, she marched into the Frontier office and landed an interview with the airlines’ Vice President of Flight Operations, Ed O’Neil. She was offered a...

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Edward Wells

Enshrined 1991
August 26, 1910 - July 1, 1986

Joined Boeing’s engineering staff in 1931 where he served as Chief of the Preliminary Design Unit in 1936 and Chief Project Engineer in Charge of Military Projects in 1938. He was later named Chief Engineer in 1942 and Vice President of Engineering in 1948. Received the Lawrence Sperry Award from the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences in 1942 for his design contributions to four-engine aircraft. Named the Seattle Junior Chamber of Commerce’s “Young Man of the Year” in 1943 and received the Fawcett Aviation Award in 1944 for scientific contribution to aviation. Served as Vice President and General Manager of...

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Richard Travis Whitcomb

Enshrined 2012
February 21, 1921 - October 13, 2009

Recruited by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) while in college and started at their Langley facility upon graduation. Proposed reshaping the F-102 fuselage which increased a warplane’s supersonic speed by 25 percent without increasing engine power and became known as Whitcomb’s Area Rule. In 1954, the Area Rule earned Whitcomb the prestigious Collier Trophy, and the Exceptional Service Medal from the Air Force. Created the Supercritical Wing, a wing shape that is flatter on the top and rounder on the bottom which delayed the onset of drag and increased the fuel efficiency at transonic speeds. It earned him...

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Robert Michael White

Enshrined 2006
1924 - 2010

In July 1962, White was at the controls of the sleek rocket powered X-15, the fastest aircraft ever built. At 59 miles above the earth, there was no sensation of speed but a distinct feeling of altitude. The sky was almost black, and White saw the curvature of the earth from San Francisco Bay all the way to Mexico. One of many record-setting X-15 flights, this one earned White his astronaut wings – the first to do so in a fixed wing aircraft. White flew P-51 Mustangs over Europe during WWII but was shot down on his 52nd combat mission,...

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Thomas Dresser White

Enshrined 2011
August 6, 1901 - December 22, 1965 (64)

Compiled the “English-Chinese Vocabulary of Aeronautical Terms.” Urged leaders to consider air and space as a single medium dubbed “aerospace.” Former Air Force Chief of Staff who was integral to the Cold War structure of the United States Air Force. Decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster and Air Medal with oak leaf cluster. Thomas Dresser White was born on August 6, 1901, in Walker, Minnesota, to Katherine and John Chanler White, a bishop with the Episcopal Church. At age 16, Tommy graduated from St. Johns Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin and received an...

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Sir Frank Whittle

Enshrined 2017
June 1, 1907 - August 9, 1996 (aged 89)

Wrote Future Development in Aircraft Design in 1928 which explained that aircraft could, in principle, travel faster at higher altitudes. Applied for a patent for his turbo jet engine in 1930 and was issued in 1931. Unfortunately, the Air Ministry had been convinced that the idea was without merit and failed to render the patent secret. Formed Power Jets Ltd. where his engine was started for the first time in 1937. Whittle resigned from the company after it was nationalized and several of his groundbreaking developments were cancelled. Retired from the Royal Air Force in 1948 with the rank of...

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Noel Wien

Enshrined 2010
June 8, 1899 - July 19, 1977 (aged 78)

First to fly from Fairbanks to Seattle, Fairbanks to Nome, beyond the Arctic Circle, across the Bering Strait, and was first to make a round-trip flight between Alaska and Asia. Forced to land on a gravel bar when he ran out of fuel returning from the first flight north of the Arctic Circle. Since there were no other pilots who could look for him, Wien walked 70 miles in three days, crossing ice-choked rivers with only three biscuits for food. Received his formal pilot’s certificate, Pilot License No. 39, signed by Federation Aeronautique Internationale official Orville Wright (enshrined 1962) in...

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Sam Barlow Williams

Enshrined 1998
May 7th, 1921 - June 22, 2009 (88)

The inventions of Dr. Sam Williams have proved vital to both military and commercial aviation. Without his invention of the small gas turbine engine, the cruise missile and affordable business jet aircraft would not have been possible. However, Williams’ most noteworthy achievement was that he accomplished all of his achievements on his own. In an era when companies bid for government contracts, Sam Williams constructed the product first with private funding and always anticipated need, delivering projects ahead of schedule. In 1942, he joined Chrysler and played a major role in the design of a Navy turboprop and the history-making...

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Thornton “T.A” Wilson

Enshrined 1983
February 8, 1921 - April 10, 1999 (aged 78)

Joined the Boeing Aircraft Company as a junior engineer in 1943. Helped to develop the pressurized “Stratocruiser” airliner, which later went into service with Pan American Airlines.  Promoted to Senior Group Aerodynamics Engineer on the B-47 and later became Senior Group Engineer on the preliminary design of supersonic bombers. Served as Senior Project Engineer of the B-52 in 1958. Elected President at Boeing in 1968 where he produced the 707, 727, and 737 jetliners and military aircraft. Elected Chairman of the Board in 1972 and the company rebounded due to sales of the 747. Awarded the Collier Trophy with the...

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Sylvester J. “Steve” Wittman

Enshrined 2014
April 5, 1904 - April 27, 1995 (aged 91)

Designed and built a single-place aircraft with a 14-horsepower Harley-Davidson engine at age 20.  Moved to Oshkosh in 1931 to run his own flying service and manage the Winnebago County Airport.  Built his second racer, named Bonzo, and won second place in the 1935 Thompson Trophy Race.  Designed a single-leaf, spring-steel landing gear which major companies adopted. Ran a flight school for the Civil Pilot Training Program from 1940 to 1943, where some 700 pilots were provided nearly 24,000 hours of flight instruction. Designed and built the W-8 Tailwind in 1953, later selling it in kit form to thousands. Joined...

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Collett “C.E.” Woolman

Enshrined 1994
October 8, 1889 - September 11, 1966 (aged 76)

Borrowed two Army aircraft with Dr. Bert Coad and proved the effectiveness of crop dusting. By 1925, Woolman ran Huff Daland Dusters, the world’s first aerial dusting company. Purchased Huff Daland with a group of associates in 1928 and renamed it Delta Air Service after its investors in the Mississippi Delta country. Woolman became Vice President and General Manager of Operations and was elected to the Board of Directors in 1930. On June 17th, 1929, Delta operated its first passenger flight from Dallas, Texas to Jackson, Mississippi. Won an airmail contract with the U.S. government during the Great Depression which...

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Orville Wright

Enshrined 1962
August 19, 1871 - January 30, 1948

He and his brother, Wilbur Wright (enshrined 1962), became interested in flight after being gifted a toy helicopter-like top from their father.  Started The Wright Cycle Company with his brother in 1892. Read about Otto Lillenthal’s glider experiments in 1895 which renewed the brother’s fascination of flight. The death of Lilienthal in 1896 prompted them to learn even more about aeronautics. After Wilbur wrote to the Smithsonian Institution for information on aeronautical research, they obtained all the available scientific knowledge about aviation and were ready to embark on a scientific approach to flight. Tested wing concepts in their homemade wind...

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Wilbur Wright

Enshrined 1962
April 16, 1867 - May 30, 1912 (aged 45)

He and his brother, Orville Wright (enshrined 1962), became interested in flight after being gifted a toy helicopter-like top from their father.  Started The Wright Cycle Company with his brother in 1892. Read about Otto Lillenthal’s glider experiments in 1895 which renewed the brother’s fascination of flight. The death of Lilienthal in 1896 prompted them to learn even more about aeronautics. After Wilbur wrote to the Smithsonian Institution for information on aeronautical research, they obtained all the available scientific knowledge about aviation and were ready to embark on a scientific approach to flight. Tested wing concepts in their homemade wind...

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Charles “Chuck” Yeager

Enshrined 1973
February 13, 1923 - December 7, 2020

Assigned to the Eighth Air Force during World War II where he flew 64 combat missions and scored 12.5 aerial victories. On his eighth combat mission, he was shot down over occupied territory but evaded capture with the help of the French resistance.  Became the first to attain supersonic flight on October 14, 1947 when he flew the Bell XS-1 (named Glamorous Glennis) past the sound barrier. He was awarded both the Collier and Mackay trophies for this feat in 1947. Instructed Jackie Cochran (enshrined 1971) in a T-38 and a Canadaire F-86 Sabrejet where she broke all but one...

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John Watts Young

Enshrined 1988
September 24, 1930 - January 5, 2018

Completed training at the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in 1959.  Set world time-to-climb records in 1962 at 3,000 and 25,000 meter altitudes in the F-4 Phantom. Served as Pilot of Gemini 3 where he and Gus Grissom (enshrined 1987) spent four hours and 53 minutes orbiting the earth. Served as the Command Pilot of Gemini 10 in 1966. Less than six hours after the launching of the spacecraft, it rendezvoused and docked with an Agena Target Vehicle. The linked spacecraft orbited the earth for almost 39 hours. Served as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 10.  Commanded Apollo 16 where...

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Hubert “Hub” Zemke

Enshrined 2002
March 14,1914 - August 30, 1994 (80)

Assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron at Langley Field, Virginia where he was logging 20-30 hours a month testing P-40s at Wright Field and flying in the Cleveland Air Races. Transferred to the American Embassy in Moscow in 1941 where he served as Assistant Military Attaché and trained Soviet pilots in British P-40s. Credited with several combat tactical innovations, including the Zemke Fan, as leader of the 56th Fighter Group (better known as Zemke’s Wolfpack). By November 1943, the 56th had produced six aces, including Zemke. He would eventually score 19.5 aerial victories, and the Wolfpack would end the war...

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