Pictures of Famous Aviation Pioneers
The photographs and pictures of the Famous Pioneers of Early Aviation
and the early Airline industry in the United States are
a useful addition to the facts sheet. The names of the famous
aviation pioneers are Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright, William Boeing,
Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman and Charles Lindbergh.
about the Early Aviation
The following fact
sheet contains interesting facts and information about Early
Aviation for kids.
the Early Aviation for kids
Aviation History Fact 1:
Aviation and the aviators of the early 1900's were
inspired by the German engineer. Otto Lilienthal,
who was nicknamed the 'Glider King', flew his biplane
glider in 1895. The glider
flights of Otto Lilienthal attracted world wide coverage.
Octave Chanute (1832-1910) was an American civil
engineer and aviation pioneer, hailed as the 'Father of
aviation'. Octave Chanute, with Augustus Moore
Herring (1867 – 1926) as test pilot, conducted
glider experiments at Miller Beach in 1896 and provided
the Wright brothers with help and advice
Aviation History Fact 2:
In 1900 the
was invented by Count Ferdinand
von Zeppelin. The Zeppelins were first used for air
In 1910, Zeppelins provided the first
commercial air service for passengers. In WW1 German
Zeppelin airships were then used as bombers, for
reconnaissance missions and for propaganda purposes.
Aviation History Fact 3:
The Wright Brothers: The Wright Brothers
first flew gliders but when on to design and build an engine and
experimented with powered flight on a biplane. They called their biplane flying
machine "The Flyer". The Wright Brothers
achieved the first powered, sustained, and controlled flight of an
airplane on December 17, 1903. The "first
flight" photo depicts Orville piloting and Wilbur
running at wingtip. The Wright Brothers were granted
a patent in 1906, their 'flying machine' was called an aeroplane. In 1909 the
Wright Brothers were awarded the Congressional Medal for their
contribution to the world of their flying machine.
Aviation History Fact 4:
Orville Wright (1871 -
1948) piloted the first powered airplane flight that
flew 120 feet lasting 12 seconds over sand dunes near
Kitty Hawk in Dare County, North Carolina on December
17, 1903. In 1920 Orville Wright went on to be appointed
to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, the forerunner of
Aviation History Fact 5:
: Wilbur Wight (1867 -
1912) flew the second powered airplane flight in the
"Flying Machine" on the same day as his brother covering
852 feet over 59 seconds.
Aviation History Fact 6:
Charlie Taylor: Charlie Taylor (1868-1956)
originally worked for the Wright Brothers at the Wright Cycle
Company as a mechanic and bicycle machinist. Charlie Taylor,
nicknamed the “Unsung Hero of Aviation”, built the engine that
powered the Wrights’ first airplane.
Aviation History Fact 7:
Aero Club of America: The Aero Club of America
was a social club formed in 1905 by wealthy industrialist Charles
Jasper Glidden to promote aviation in America. The Aero Club of
America issued the first pilot's licenses in the United States.
Aviation History Fact 8:
Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps: The
Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps (August 1, 1907 – July 18, 1914)
was established as the first heavier-than-air military aviation
organization in history as a component of the U.S. Army Signal
Corps. The Aeronautical Division obtained the first powered military
aircraft in 1909, created flight schools to train its aviators, and
initiated a rating system for pilot qualifications.
Aviation History Fact 9:
Glenn Curtiss (1878-1930) was a pioneer aviator,
aircraft designer and manufacturer. In 1908, Glenn
Curtiss piloted the first official public flight in the
United States flying 1 mile. In 1909 Glenn Curtiss
established America’s first aircraft manufacturing
Aviation History Fact 10:
Flight Training School:
In 1910 The Wright Brothers open the first civilian flight training
school in Montgomery, Alabama. The first pilots they trained were
Walter Brookins, James Davis, Benjamin Foulois, Archibald Hoxsey and
Aviation History Fact 11:
Benjamin Foulois: Benjamin Foulois (1879-1967)
nicknamed the “Father of the United States Air Force” was the third
military aviator to be trained by the Wright brothers in 1910.
Benjamin Foulois became chief of the AEF Air Service when the United
States entered WW1.
Aviation History Fact 12:
Allan Lockheed: Allan Lockheed (1889-1969)
achieved fame in 1910 with George Gates when the two men made the
first dual-pilot controlled flight. Allan Lockheed went on to design
the first successful twin-engine, 10-passenger seaplane in 1916. He
founded the original Lockheed Aircraft Company in 1926.
Aviation History Fact 13:
Calbraith Perry Rodgers: In June 1911
Calbraith Perry Rodgers (1879 - 1912) became the first private
citizen to buy the Model EX made by the Wright Brothers. Orville
Wright gave him 90 minutes of instruction before he flew solo.
Calbraith Perry Rodgers went on to persuade J. Ogden Armour, the
owner of the grape soft drink Vin Fiz, to sponsor his attempt to fly
coast-to-coast across the United States. The Vin Fiz Flyer
became the first aircraft to fly coast-to-coast across
America - the journey that took almost 3 months (September 17, 1911
- November 5, 1911) during which time Cal Rodgers survived sixteen
Aviation History Fact 14:
Glenn L. Martin : Glenn L. Martin (1886-1955) was
an American aviation pioneer who taught himself to fly and went on
to design and build his own aircraft in his factory in California.
Glenn Martin founded the Glenn L. Martin Company in 1912. In 1916 he
merged his company with the original Wright Company, forming the
Wright-Martin Aircraft Company and went on to design the MB-2 bomber
that was used in WW1.
Aviation History Fact 15:
Harriet Quimby: Harriet Quimby (1875-1912) was
the first American woman to earn a pilot’s license from the Aero
Club of America in 1911. In 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first
woman to fly across the English Channel.
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about the Early Aviation for kids
The following fact sheet continues with facts about Early Aviation
the Early Aviation for kids
Aviation History Fact 16: William Boeing: William Boeing (1881-1956) was an
American aviation pioneer and entrepreneur who founded the Boeing
Company on July 15, 1916. The Boeing Company became a major
manufacturer of military and civilian aircraft and made him a
Aviation History Fact
17: Wilbur Wright Field:
Wilbur Wright Field, Riverside, Ohio was established in 1917 as a
military installation and airfield used to train WW1 pilots and
mechanics and to conduct Air Forces flight testing.
Aviation History Fact 18:
Aviation Section, Signal Corps: The
Aviation Section, Signal Corps was established as the military
aviation service of the United States Army from 1914 to 1918. Its
task was to supporting the Army in combat after the United States
entered World War I on 6 April 1917.
Early Aviation History Fact 19:
Aviation: WWI changed aviation forever. The Wright Brothers had
only made the world's first powered flight just over a decade before
- aviation was in its infancy. Airplanes were flimsy, there were no
navigational aids, instruments were extremely basic, the cockpit was
open to elements and there were no parachutes. In addition there was
no air traffic control because there were no radio communications.
And on top of all of these problems, the outbreak of WW1 created the
urgent need for the aeroplane to be turned into a machine of
war. The Allies fought against the countries of the Axis for control
of the air, air-strikes, reconnaissance and mobility.
Aviation History Fact 20:
WW1 - The War Machines : As technology improved
aircraft became war machines. The became more maneuverable,
instruments more sophisticated and engines more powerful. It soon
became possible to mount machine guns and bombs.
Aviation History Fact 21:
WW1 - Air traffic control: The U.S. Army
installed the first operational two-way radios in planes during WW1
enabling a radio telegraph over a distance of 140 miles and
establishing the system of Air Traffic control. The radio telegraph
messages could also exchanged between planes in flight. Finally, in
1917, for the first time a human voice was transmitted by radio from
a plane in flight to an operator on the ground.
Aviation History Fact 22:
WW1 - Pilotless Drones: The first pilotless drone
was developed for the U.S. Navy in 1916 and 1917 by two inventors,
Elmer Sperry and Peter Hewitt. The first unmanned flight in history
occurred on Long Island on March 6, 1918.
Aviation History Fact 23:
Elmer Sperry: Elmer Sperry (1860-1930) was a
brilliant American inventor, nicknamed the "Father of Modern
Navigation Technology". He established the Sperry Electric Company
in 1880 and is famous for the invention of the gyroscopic compass
which made autopilot steering possible. Elmer Sperry made a
significant contribution to WW1 technology building the first aerial
torpedo in 1917, which became the first successful guided missile.
Following WW1 Elmer Sperry developed the automatic pilot, which is
now standard equipment on all commercial and military aircraft.
Aviation History Fact 24:
Peter Cooper Hewitt: Peter Hewitt (1861 – 1921)
was an American electrical engineer and inventor who invented the
first mercury-vapor lamp in 1901 and developed and tested an early
hydrofoil in 1907. In 1916, Peter Hewitt joined Elmer Sperry to
develop the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane, one of the first
successful forerunners of the cruise missile.
Aviation History Fact 25:
Lawrence Sperry: Lawrence Sperry (1892-1923) was
the third son of Elmer Sperry and founder of the Sperry Aircraft
Company which he established in 1917. Lawrence Sperry developed the
first amphibious flying boat in 1915 and added lights to it to
enable pilots to make night flights. His contribution to the WW1 war
effort continued with the invention of the 3-way gyrostabilizer
to steer bombing aircraft.
Aviation History Fact 26:
William "Billy" Mitchell: Billy Mitchell
(1879-1936) was the one of the most famous U.S. aviators of WWI who
is regarded as the "Father of the United States Air Force". Billy
Mitchell commanded the largest concentration of aircraft in France
Aviation History Fact 27:
Edward “Eddie” Rickenbacker: Eddie Rickenbacker
(1890-1973) shot down 26 enemy aircraft in seven months and received
the Congressional Medal of Honor together with the nickname "Ace of
Aces". He later became president of Eastern Airlines owned by
Aviation History Fact 28:
United States Army Air Service: United
States Army Air Service (May 24, 1918–July 2, 1926) was established
towards the end of WW1, replacing the Aviation Section, Signal
Corps, and was the forerunner of the United States Air Force.
Aviation History Fact 29:
U.S. Air Mail service: The first scheduled U.S.
Air Mail service began on May 15, 1918, using U.S Army Curtiss
JN-4HM "Jenny" biplanes. The early aviation industry received a boost
in 1925 when the Kelly Act was passed, authorizing postal officials
to contract with private airplane operators to carry U.S. Air Mail.
Aviation History Fact 30:
Elmer “Archie” Stone: Archie Stone (1887-1936)
was a United States Coast Guard aviation pioneer and in 1919 the
pilot of the first successful trans-Atlantic flight with Lieutenant
Commander A. C. Read as the navigator.
Aviation History Fact 31:
Jimmy Doolittle: Jimmy Doolittle (1896-1993) was
an American aviation pioneer who served as the U.S. Army Air Corps’
chief of experimental flying and as a flight instructor in WW1.
Jimmy Doolittle was one of the most famous pilots during the
inter-war period. He made the world’s first totally blind flight
relying entirely on a directional gyro, sensitive altimeter,
artificial horizon and radio navigation. Jimmy Doolittle was awrded
the Distinguished Flying Cross by the U.S. Army. On April 18, 1942,
in WW2, Jimmy Doolittle led the first U.S. air attack on Japan.
Aviation History Fact 32:
Early Aviation after WW1: The
Technological advances in the Airline Industry and in aviation
during during WW1 led to the realization of the potential of the
airplane to the transportation industry. But the majority of the
American public viewed early, flimsy 'flying machines' or airplanes
as dangerous fads and the aircraft industry failed to expand as
expected. Americans preferred the relative safety of automobiles and
the car industry boomed. Refer to
Henry Ford and the
Aviation History Fact 33:
Jennys: During WW1, the United
States manufactured a large number of Curtiss JN-4s
(nicknamed Jennys) to train aviators. Almost every WW1
U.S. pilot learned to fly using the Curtiss airplane.
After the war the U.S. federal government sold off the
surplus Jennys, for a fraction of their initial cost.
This enabled ex-ww1 pilots to purchase JN-4s (Jennys)
for as little as $200. Many of these early aviators set
up businesses as Barnstormers.
Aviation History Fact 34:
Barnstorming: In the
1920's barnstorming was a popular form of entertainment for many
Americans. Pilots negotiated with a local farmer to use a field as a
temporary runway and put on an air display show for the locals. The
stunt pilots were daredevils who flew the airplanes were called
Barnstormers and performed a variety of stunning aerobatic maneuvers
and death-defying stunts such as spins, loop-the-loops, dives and
barrel rolls. Aerialists were also members of the Flying Circus show
and performed terrifying feats of wing walking and stunt
Aviation History Fact
35: Dollar Airplane Rides: The Barnstormers
gave many Americans their first taste of flying offering airplane
rides for just one dollar. There were no safety regulations and no
seatbelts in the open aircraft but the thrilling experience of the
joyrides gave many Americans the 'flying bug'.
Aviation History Fact 36:
Bessie Coleman: Bessie Coleman (c.1892–1926) was
the first African American woman to receive an aviator's
international pilot license and the first woman to become a stunt
pilot. She performed in her first air show in September 1922 in
Garden City, Long Island.
Aviation History Fact 37:
Donald Douglas: Donald Wills Douglas, Sr.
(1892-1981) was an aeronautical engineer and manufacturer who
founded the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1920 after working for Glenn
Martin as chief engineer, he formed his own company in 1920.
Aviation History Fact 38:
National Air Races: The National Air Races, also
known as Pulitzer Trophy Races, began in 1920 when publisher Ralph
Pulitzer sponsored an air race on Long Island in an effort to
promote aviation. Refer to
in the 1920's
Aviation History Fact 39:
Amelia Earhart: Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) was a
famous female aviator who had her first flying lessons in 1921. She
became the first female pilot to complete a solo flight across the
Atlantic Ocean in 1928. In 1937 Amelia Earhart attempted a flight
around the world. She disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on July 2,
1937, en route to Howland Island, and was never heard from again.
Aviation History Fact 40:
First Nonstop Transcontinental Flight:
In 1923 the first nonstop transcontinental flight was made by
John A. Macready and Oakley Kelly who flew a single-engine Fokker
T-2 nonstop from New York to San Diego, a distance of just over
2,500 miles in 26 hours and 50 minutes.
Aviation History Fact 41:
Walter Beech: Walter Beech (1891-1950) was an
aviator and aircraft manufacturer. He served as a WW1 test pilot in
the U.S. Army. In 1924 he founded Travel Air Manufacturing Company
with Clyde Cessna and in 1932 established the Beech Aircraft Company
Aviation History Fact 42:
Clyde Cessna: Clyde Vernon Cessna (1879-1954) was
credited as one of the Heroes of Aviation. He was American aircraft
designer, aviator, and founder of the Cessna Aircraft Corporation
and co-founder of the Travel Air Company. In 1928, he built the
first cantilever plane in the United States and he created Cessna
Aircraft to manufacture them.
Aviation History Fact 43:
William Powell "Bill" Lear: Bill Lear (1902-1978)
was a brilliant inventor and businessman. Lear developed radio
direction finders, and the first fully automatic aircraft landing
system and the automatic pilot. He founded the Lear Jet Corporation
Aviation History Fact 44:
Charles Lindbergh: Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974)
was one of the most famous aviators in the history of aviation after
completing the first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight in history
on May 20, 1927. His plane was a Ryan monoplane named the Spirit of
St Louis which he flew from Long Island, N.Y., The 3,610 mile flight
to Paris, France took 33 hours and 30 minutes. Refer to
Transatlantic Flight and the
Aviation History Fact 45:
WW1 : The aviation industry received another
boost when the 1926 Air Commerce Act
was approved on May 19, 1926 establishing a bureau to enforce
procedures for the licensing of aircraft, engines and pilots.
Aviation History Fact 46:
Airlines: By the
end of 1928, 48 airlines were serving 355 American cities.
the Early Aviation for kids
Early Aviation History Facts for kids: List of
Famous American Early Aviation
Many of the names of
Famous American Early Aviators are detailed on the following list.
American Early Aviation Pioneers
Herring ● Octave
Chanute ● Orville
Wright ● Wilbur
Wight ● Charlie
Taylor ● Glenn
Curtiss ● Benjamin
Foulois ● Allan
Lockheed ● Calbraith
Perry Rodgers ● Glenn L.
Martin ● Harriet
Quimby ● William
Boeing ● Elmer
Sperry ● Peter
Hewitt ● Lawrence
Sperry ● Billy
Mitchell ● Archie
Stone ● Jimmy
Doolittle ● Bessie
Coleman ● Donald
Douglas ● Amelia
Earhart ● Walter
Beech ● Clyde
Cessna ● Bill Lear ● Charles
American Early Aviation Pioneers
Early Aviation for kids
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