aviation

Umberto Nobile and his Airships

Umberto Nobile and his Airships

On January 21, 1885, Italian aeronautical engineer and Arctic explorer Umberto Nobile was born. He was a developer and promoter of semi-rigid airships during the Golden Age of Aviation. Nobile is primarily remembered for designing and piloting the airship Norge, which may have been the first aircraft to reach the North Pole. Early Years Born in Lauro, southern Italy, the son of Vincenzo Nicolò Francesco Nobile delle Piane, descendant of a cadet…
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The Man Who Shrank the Globe – Frank Whittle

The Man Who Shrank the Globe – Frank Whittle

On August 9, 1996 the British Royal Air Force engineer officer Sir Frank Whittle passed away. He was best known for inventing the turbojet engine for which he received the knighthood in 1948. “Well, that’s what it was bloody well designed to do, wasn’t it?” – Frank Whittle An Early Interest in Engineering Frank Whittle was born in Earlsdon, Coventry, UK. Thanks to Whittle’s father Moses, Frank was able to get an early…
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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. “Please know I am quite aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” — Amelia Earhart, 1937 [1]…
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Dora Dougherty Strother, Helicopter Test Pilot

Dora Dougherty Strother, Helicopter Test Pilot

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. Early Life Dora Jean Dougherty Strother was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and lived in Garden City Long Island, New York, and Winnetka, Illinois, before…
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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. A Boy of Restless Ambition 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…
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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.[1] However, their claim to have reached the pole is disputed. During the First World War Floyd Bennett joined the Navy. Initially working as a mechanic, he later completed flight school. In 1925 he made a reconnaissance flight with Richard E. Byrd over Greenland. The following…
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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. Introducing Auguste Andrèe Salomon Auguste Andrée attended the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1874. Two…
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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. Youth and World War I Arthur Whitten Brown was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1886 to American parents, and shortly afterwards…
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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 only person…
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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 Dryden. During…
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