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6 08, 2014

Dr. Richard T. Whitcomb

Inducted in 2007

“Area Rule” & “Winglets” Impact us Today

1921 – 2009

A graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a BS in mechanical engineering (high distinction) in 1943, Dr. Whitcomb went to work for NACA – now NASA – at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory from 1943 until his retirement in 1980. During his 37 years at NASA, he celebrated many accomplishments. One that most of us can relate to is the “area rule” that allowed aircraft to break the sound barrier, which earned hi the 1954 Collier Trophy. Another is “winglets” devices used at the wingtips, normal to the wingspar, extending both upward and downward, which reduce wingtip vortices and the induced drag such vortices create, improving the aerodynamic efficiency of the wing and seen frequently in modern airliners, in which they reduce fuel consumption.

In addition to the Collier Trophy, Dr. Whitcomb is the recipient of the USAF Exceptional Service Medal 1955, […]

6 08, 2014

Tony Jannus

Inducted in 2006

American Flyer

1889 – 1916

Anthony Habersack Jannus was born in 1889 in Washington, DC. Tony Jannus was just twenty-one years old when he taught himself to fly and soloed in a Rexford Smith biplane at College Park, Maryland. Quickly becoming a skilled aviator, Jannus moved to St. Louis in 1911 to serve as the chief pilot for the Benoist Aircraft Company.

On March 1, 1912, Jannus and his passenger, Albert Berry, did something that had never been done. Although Berry was a parachutist, experienced in jumping from balloons, no one had ever jumped from a moving airplane. With Jannus at the controls, Berry dropped from the airplane at an altitude of fifteen hundred feet. His history-making jump was perfect. Later that year Jannus received worldwide newspaper coverage for his record-setting, 1,973-mile flight from Omaha, Nebraska, to New Orleans, Louisiana. In the process, the flight provided thousands of people with their […]

6 08, 2014

Captain Albert Berry

Inducted in 2005

Legends of Aviation

US Army Captain Albert Berry made a tethered jump from a Benoist Headless airplane over Kinlock Field near the site of the present Lambert Field in St. Louis, Missouri in march of 1912.

On 1 March 1912, Berry jumped from a Benoist pusher biplane from 1,500 feet. The 36 foot diameter parachute was contained in a metal canister attached to the underside of the plane – when Berry dropped from the plane his weight pulled the parachute from the canister. Rather than being attached to the parachute by a harness Berry was seated on a trapeze bar.

Asked if he would ever repeat the performance, Berry replied: “Never again! I believe I turned five somersaults on my way down…My course downward… was like a crazy arrow. I was not prepared for the violent sensation that I felt when I broke away from the aeroplane.”

6 08, 2014

Tiny Broadwick

Inducted in 2005

Legends of Aviation

1893 – 1978

“Tiny” Broadwick, remembered as the “First Lady of Parachuting,” holds a place in The Guinness Book of World Records for her achievements as a parachutist. Georgia Ann Thompson, married at twelve, was a mother at thirteen, and soon was abandoned by her husband. At fifteen, Georgia, a cotton mill worker in Henderson, attended a carnival in Raleigh. There, she watched as Charles Broadwick jumped from a balloon and descended by parachute. It was a life-changing event for her, and Broadwick secured permission for the teenager to join his “World Famous Aeronauts.” Soon after, she became Broadwick’s adopted daughter. At just over four feet, Georgia was nicknamed “Tiny,” and was billed as “The Doll Girl.” She thrilled audiences by jumping from a swing attached to a balloon. As the novelty wore off, the Broadwicks moved their act to flying machines. In 1913, soaring in a […]

6 08, 2014

Tuskegee Airmen

Inducted in 2004

Legends of Aviation

In spite of adversity and limited opportunities, African-Americans have played a significant role in US military history over the past 300 years. They were denied military leadership roles and skilled training because many believed they lacked qualifications for combat duty. Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying for the US military. Civil rights organizations and the black press exerted pressure that resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

“Tuskegee Airmen” refers to all who were involved in the so-called “Tuskegee Experiment,” the Army Air Corps program to train African-Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.

The military selected Tuskegee Institute to train pilots because of its commitment to […]

6 08, 2014

Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright

Re-Inducted in 2003

First To Achieve Successful Powered Flight In A Heavier-Than-Air-Machine, 1903

Wilbur Wright
1867 – 1912

Orville Wright
1871 – 1948

The Wright brothers made the world’s first four successful airplane flights on the cold, windswept sands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Their “Flyer” lifted from level ground to the north of Big Kill Devil Hill at 10:35 a.m. on December 17, 1903. Orville piloted the 605-pound machine during the first flight, traveling 120 feet in 12 seconds.

Although Wilbur achieved the best results of the day on the fourth and final flight, 852 feet in 59 seconds, it is Orville’s earlier flight that is best remembered. As Orville later described:

“This flight lasted only 12 seconds, but it was nevertheless the first in the history of the world in which a machine carrying a man had raised itself by its own power into the air in full flight, had sailed forward without a reduction in […]

6 08, 2014

John Knudsen Northrop

Inducted in 2002

Pioneer In The Aerospace Industry

1895 – 1981

John “Jack” Northrop’s aerospace career began in 1916 as a mechanical draftsman-engineer for the Loughead Aircraft Company. In 1923 he joined the Douglas Aircraft Company and helped design the famous “World Cruisers” — the first airplanes to fly around the world. He later rejoined the Lockheed (Loughead) Aircraft Company as chief engineer. While there he designed the immortal Vega series of airplanes with their unique prefabricated fuselage and aerodynamic design. Piloted by legendary flyers Wiley Post and Amelia Earhart, the Vega design established many record-breaking flights.

Northrop founded his first aircraft company in 1928, Avion Corporation, which became the Northrop Aircraft Corporation in 1930. Under his leadership, the company designed and built the first all-metal body airplanes, the Alpha, Beta and Gamma.

In 1939, the newly formed Northrop Corporation changed its focus from commercial to military aircraft designs. During World War II, the company […]

6 08, 2014

Clyde Vernon Cessna

Inducted in 2001

General Aviation Pioneer

1879 – 1954

Born in Iowa and growing up on a Kansas farm, Clyde Cessna exhibited an aptitude for mechanics and became an expert in repairing farm machinery and early automobiles. Later, he took charge of an automobile sales and service agency in Enid, Oklahoma.

Impressed by the simplicity and performance of early monoplanes, Cessna built his own and taught himself to fly it in 1911. Steadily improving this plane, he used it in exhibition flights throughout Kansas and Oklahoma. After moving to Wichita, he built the Cessna-Jones Six and Comet monoplanes and used them in aerial exhibitions until World War I.

In 1925, Cessna helped form a travel air manufacturing company to build biplanes and became its president. In 1926, he developed an advanced monoplane. Two models, the City of Oakland and the Woolorac, set transpacific records in 1927. Leaving travel air, he developed a cantilevered-wing monoplane, formed […]

6 08, 2014

Donald W. Douglas

Inducted in 2000

Pioneer Aircraft Designer And Manufacturer

1892 – 1981

Donald Willis Douglas, native of Brooklyn, New York, contributed to the nation’s aeronautical safety and progress as a designer and manufacturer of military and commercial aircraft. In 1936 he opened the era of mass airline travel with the introduction of the DC-3, the first passenger airliner that made flying comfortable and practical.

Douglas became interested in aviation when he witnessed Orville Wright’s flights in the Army’s bi-plane at Fort Myer, Virginia. He transferred from the United States Naval Academy to Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he graduated in 1914 with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. He served as a civilian aeronautical engineer with the U.S. Army in 1915 and later became chief engineer of the Glen L. Martin Company.

In 1920, Douglas formed the Douglas Aircraft Company in Los Angeles, which manufactured private, commercial, and military aircraft. In 1924 the company established […]

4 08, 2014

Harriet Quimby

Inducted in 1999

First Licensed Woman Pilot In America, 1911, And First Woman To Solo The English Channel, 1912

1875 – 1912

Harriet Quimby was born on a farm near Coldwater, Michigan. The year the Wright brothers made the first flights, Quimby was a journalist in New York City. While pursuing her journalism career, she was also secretly taking flying lessons. She soon became the subject of her own articles.

In October 1910, Quimby was accepted at the Moisant School of Aviation in Mineola, New York. The Moisant School built monoplanes in the style of the French Bleriot XI and held both ground school and flight training. It was here on August 1, 1911, after passing the flight training requirements, that she became the first licensed woman pilot in America.

After some exhibition flying in Mexico with the Moisant International Aviators Exhibition Team, Quimby returned to New York to begin preparations to be the first […]