aviation

Amelia Earhart – Record-breaking Aviation Pioneer

Amelia Earhart – Record-breaking Aviation Pioneer

On January 11, 1935, American aviatrix Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California accross the Pacific ocean. The first contact Earhart made with aviation was when she was 10-years old and visiting a plane state fair, but she was not quite impressed. A few years later, she visited a stunt-flying exhibition and after pilot Frank Hawks gave her a short ride on…
Test Pilot Dora Dougherty Strother

Test Pilot Dora Dougherty Strother

On November 27, 1921, U.S. military pilot, human factors engineer, instructor and test pilot Dora Dougherty Strother was born. Dougherty Strother achieved two world records for women helicopter pilots, previously held by Russians. She is best known as a Woman Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and B-29 Superfortress demonstration pilot. Dora Jean Dougherty Strother earned her PhD in Aviation Education in 1955. For her academic achievements, Strother earned the Amelia Earhart Award and…
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…
Salomon August Andrée’s Ill Fated Polar Balloon Expedition

Salomon August Andrée’s Ill Fated Polar Balloon Expedition

On October 18, 1854, Swedish engineer, physicist, aeronaut and polar explorer Salomon August Andrée was born. Andrée died while leading an attempt to reach the Geographic North Pole by hydrogen balloon. The balloon expedition was unsuccessful in reaching the Pole and resulted in the deaths of all three of its participants. Salomon Auguste Andrée attended the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1874. Two years…
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…
John Glenn – The First American to orbit the Earth

John Glenn – The First American to orbit the Earth

On July 18, 1921, U.S. astronaut and statesman John Herschel Glenn Jr. was born. In 1962 Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times. Before joining NASA, Glenn was a distinguished fighter pilot in World War II and Korea. In 1998, still a sitting senator, Glenn was the oldest person to fly in space as a crew member of the Discovery space shuttle and the…
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…
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