aviation

Jack Northrop and the Flying Wing Design

Jack Northrop and the Flying Wing Design

On November 10, 1895, American aircraft industrialist and designer Jack Northrop was born. Northrop was an early advocate of all-metal construction and the flying wing design. He founded the Northrop Corporation in 1939. John “Jack” Knudsen Northrop was born in Newark, New Jersey, USA, and grew up in Santa Barbara, California. The course for his life was set in 1911 upon watching a visiting pilot fly a pusher biplane over…
Floyd Bennett and his North Pole Flight

Floyd Bennett and his North Pole Flight

On October 25, 1890, American aviator Floyd Bennett was born. BennettBennett claimed, along with Richard E. Byrd, to have made the first flight to the North Pole in 1926. However, their claim to have reached the pole is disputed. Floyd Bennett enlisted in the Navy during World War I and attended flight school. There he was rated Aviation Pilot. He was appointed pilot for Richard E. Byrd’s attempt to reach the North…
Arthur Whitten Brown and the First Transatlantic Flight

Arthur Whitten Brown and the First Transatlantic Flight

On July 23, 1886, Scottish aviator  Sir Arthur Whitten Brown was born. Whitten Brown was the navigator of the first successful non-stop transatlantic flight in in June 1919 together with Sir John Alcock, who piloted the modified First World War Vickers Vimy bomber from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Clifden, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. Arthur Whitten Brown was apprenticed with British Westinghouse in Manchester. He enlisted in the ranks of the University and…
Hugh L. Dryden and High Speed Aerodynamics

Hugh L. Dryden and High Speed Aerodynamics

On July 2, 1898, physicist and deputy administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Hugh Latimer Dryden was born. Dryden made pioneering studies in the aerodynamics of high speed and some of the earliest studies of air flow around wing surfaces at the speed of sound. Hugh Latimer Dryden was born in Pocomoke City, Maryland, the son of Samuel Isaac Dryden, a school teacher, and his wife Zenovia Hill Culver…
The Aircraft Designs of Willy Messerschmitt

The Aircraft Designs of Willy Messerschmitt

On June 26, 1898, German aircraft designer and manufacturer Wilhelm Emil “Willy” Messerschmitt was born. Probably Messerschmitt’s single most important design was the Messerschmitt Bf 109, designed in 1934 with the collaboration of Walter Rethel. The Bf 109 became the most important fighter in the Luftwaffe as Germany rearmed prior to World War II. To this day, it remains one of the most-produced warplanes in history, with some 34,000 built.…
The Rotary Plane of Engelbert Zaschka

The Rotary Plane of Engelbert Zaschka

On June 19, 1926, German engineer, designer aviation pioneer Engelbert Zaschka filed a patent on his “Hubschraubenflugzeug” (Zaschka Rotary-Wing Airplane), a predecessor of today’s helicopter. He also constructed a large human-powered aircraft and produced some interesting unorthodox designs for automobils and motorcycles. Engelbert Zaschka grew up in a family of musucians. His father taught music and was part of the Freiburg city orchestra and his mother was a singer. However, Zaschka…
The Aircraft of R. J. Mitchell

The Aircraft of R. J. Mitchell

On May 20, 1895, English aeronautical engineer and aircraft designer Reginald Joseph Mitchell was born. Mitchell worked for Supermarine Aviation. Between 1920 and 1936 he designed many aircraft and is best remembered for his racing seaplanes, which culminated in the Supermarine S.6B, and the iconic Second World War fighter, the Supermarine Spitfire. R.J. Mitchell joined the Supermarine Aviation Works at Southampton in 1917. Two years later, he was appointed Chief Designer,…
Walter Schirra – the only Man to fly Mercury, Gemini and Apollo

Walter Schirra – the only Man to fly Mercury, Gemini and Apollo

On March 12, 1923, American naval officer and aviator, aeronautical engineer, test pilot, and astronaut Walter Marty “Wally” Schirra was born. Schirra was one of the original seven astronauts chosen for Project Mercury, United States first effort to put humans in space. He flew the six-orbit, nine-hour Mercury-Atlas 8 mission on October 3, 1962, becoming the fifth American, and the ninth human, to ride a rocket into space. He was the…
The Aircraft of Kelly Johnson

The Aircraft of Kelly Johnson

On February 27, 1910, American aeronautical and systems engineer Kelly Johnson was born. He is recognized for his contributions to a series of important aircraft designs, most notably the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird. Besides the first production aircraft to exceed Mach 3, he also produced the first fighter capable of Mach 2, and many other contributions to a large number of aircraft. Clarence Leonard Johnson was enthusiastic for aircraft…
Ernst Heinkel and His Aircraft

Ernst Heinkel and His Aircraft

On January 24, 1888, German aircraft designer an manufacturer Ernst Heinkel was born. Heinkel’s company Heinkel Flugzeugwerke produced the Heinkel He 178, the world’s first turbojet aircraft and jet plane, and the Heinkel He 176, the first rocket aircraft. Ernst Heinkel was apprenticed as machinist at a foundry and later studied at the Technical Academy of Stuttgart. There Heinkel became enthusiastic for aviation and fascinated by Zeppelins. Around 1910, Heinkel built his first aircraft…
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