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Salomon August Andrée and his Failed Polar Balloon Expedition

Salomon August Andrée and his Failed 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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Reaching the Edge of Outer Space – the X-15 Rocket Space Plane

Reaching the Edge of Outer Space – the X-15 Rocket Space Plane

On October 3, 1967, the X-15 rocket plane achieved a world record speed of Mach 6.7, which is 7,274 km/h (4,520 mph or over a mile per second) with U.S. Air Force pilot Pete Knight. As by today, this record still holds for the highest speed ever reached by a manned, powered aircraft. Among the notable pilots of the X-15 was also Neil Armstrong,[4] later a NASA astronaut and first man to set…
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Romanian Flight Pioneer Traian Vuia and his Flying Machines

Romanian Flight Pioneer Traian Vuia and his Flying Machines

On March 18, 1906, the flying machine of Romanian inventor Traian Vuia lifted briefly to a powered hop of 11 metres. Though unsuccessful in sustained flight, Vuia‘s invention influenced Louis Blériot in designing monoplanes.[3] In difference to the flying machine of the Wright brothers that made first motor powered flight in December 1903 [2], Vuia‘s machine had the capability to take off from a flat surface, without assistance such as an incline,…
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Richard E. Byrd, Jr. – Aviator and Polar Explorer

Richard E. Byrd, Jr. – Aviator and Polar Explorer

On March 11, 1957, US-American explorer and aviator Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. passed away. A pioneering American aviator he claimed to be the first man to fly over both of the Earth’s poles. Aircraft flights in which he served as a navigator and expedition leader crossed the Atlantic Ocean, a segment of the Arctic Ocean, and a segment of the Antarctic Plateau.  Richard Evelyn Byrd – Early Years Richard Evelyn Byrd was born in 1888 in Winchester, Virginia, USA,…
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Henri Giffard and the Giffard Dirigible

Henri Giffard and the Giffard Dirigible

On February 8, 1825, French engineer and aviation pioneer Baptiste  Henri Jacques Giffard was born. He is best known for being the first who succeeded to build a steam powered and steerable aircraft, the Giffard dirigible. Henri Giffard – From Locomotives to Balloons Henri Giffard was born in Paris. The tinkerer was enthusiastic about steam engines. After studying at the Collège royal de Bourbon, he began working as a technical draftsman for the…
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Gabriel Voisin – From Aviation to Luxury Cars

Gabriel Voisin – From Aviation to Luxury Cars

On February 5, 1880. French aircraft and automobile designer Gabriel Voisin was born. Voisin was the creator of Europe’s first manned, engine-powered, heavier-than-air aircraft capable of a sustained (1 km), circular, controlled flight. During World War I the company founded by Voisin became a major producer of military aircraft. Subsequently, he switched to the design and production of luxury automobiles under the name Avions Voisin. Gabriel Voisin Gabriel Voisin was born at Belleville-sur-Saône, France. The…
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Australian Aviation Pioneer Lawrence Hargrave and the Box Kites

Australian Aviation Pioneer Lawrence Hargrave and the Box Kites

On January 29, 1850, Australian engineer, explorer, astronomer, inventor and aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargrave was born. Hargrave “flew” on 12 Nov 1894, by attaching himself to a huge kite construction connected to the ground by piano wire. Due to their abilities to carry heavy payloads, steady flight, and capacity for high altitude flight, these kites have had many industrial and military uses. “I am using kites, and find perfect stability can be got…
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The Controversial Flights of Gustave Whitehead

The Controversial Flights of Gustave Whitehead

On January 1, 1874, German-born aviation pioneer Gustav Albin Weißkopf was born. He emigrated from Germany to the United States and called himself Gustave Whitehead. He designed and built gliders, flying machines, and engines between 1897 and 1915. Controversy surrounds published accounts and Whitehead’s own claims that he flew a powered machine successfully several times in 1901 and 1902, predating the first flights by the Wright Brothers in 1903.[1] Gustav Weißkopf –…
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Anthony Fokker and his Famous Aircrafts

Anthony Fokker and his Famous Aircrafts

On December 23, 1939, Dutch aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer Anton Herman Gerard “Anthony” Fokker passed away. He is most famous for the fighter aircraft he produced in Germany during the First World War. Anthony Fokker and the Fokker de Spin Anthony Fokker was born in Kediri on Java. His father Herman Fokker, owner of a coffee plantation on Java, returned with the family to Haarlem in the Netherlands in 1894. It is believed that…
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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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