December 17

/Tag:December 17
6 08, 2014

William Edward Boeing

Inducted 2013

Founder of the Boeing Airplane Company


Years after attending his first air show in 1910, he became fascinated with aviation. After his first airplane ride, he purchased a Martin hydroplane, took flying lessons, became a pilot, and became obsessed with the notion that he could build a better plane than those currently in the air.

Boeing enlisted his engineering friend, George Conrad Westervelt, to design and build the B&W, a twin-float seaplane. He was so encouraged that he decided to begin his own plane-building business, Pacific Aero Products Company, a small airplane manufacturing company that became the Boeing Airplane Company a year later in 1916.

In 1917, just before America’s entry into World War I, Boeing knew the Navy needed planes. He delivered a Model C seaplane to Navy officials in Florida to test, and his business was firmly secured when the Navy sent his company an order for 50 of the […]

6 08, 2014

Charles Frank Bolden, Jr.

Inducted in 2012

Four-time astronaut and current Administrator, NASA

1946 –

Born in Columbia, SC, retired Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps and current Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical science from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps and completed flight training as a Naval Aviator in 1970. He flew more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1972-1973. He was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1980.

His 34-year career in the Marine Corps included 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office. He traveled to orbit four times aboard the space shuttle between 1986 and 1994. During his first mission on board the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986, he participated in deployment of the SATCOM KU satellite and conducted experiments in […]

6 08, 2014

David Sinton Ingalls

Inducted in 2011

First Ace in U.S. Navy History

1899 – 1985

DAVID SINTON INGALLS was the only United States Navy Flying Ace in World War I, and thus, he was the first ace in U.S. Navy history.

Born to a life of privilege in Cleveland, Ohio, at 17 years of age Ingalls was a pre-med student at Yale where he enjoyed tinkering with aircraft, and enlisted as a member of the First Yale Unit, a group of aviation pioneers. As such, he became a member of the US Naval Reserve Flying Corps and obtained his pilot license.

On March 17, 1917, Ingalls enlisted into Naval Aviation and was called to active duty in April of that year. After aviation training, Ingalls was sent to Europe where he was attached to British squadrons throughout the war. Flying Sopwith Camels in attacks on the Germans, Ingalls scored six victories to become the Navy’s first ace. He […]

6 08, 2014

Frank Purdy Lahm

Inducted in 2009

One of first trainees for military aircraft

November 11, 1877 – July 7, 1963

Frank Lahm spent two years at Michigan Military Academy preparing for West Point, where he entered in June 1897 and subsequently served in France. Upon his return to the United States in 1903, Lieutenant Lahm was stationed at West Point as an instructor in French. The son of a balloonist, he trained at West Point, served in the cavalry, and transferred to the signal corps in 1907. A pioneer aviator, he trained with Wilbur Wright, and in 1909 became one of the army’s first two certified pilots.

Lahm’s father had joined the Aero Club of France and owned the balloon the “Katherine Hamilton,” named in honor of his daughter. In the summer of 1905 young Lahm completed the requirements of six ascensions, including one at night and one alone, to win his Federation Aeronautique Internationale license as […]

6 08, 2014

Frederick E. Humphreys

Inducted in 2009

One of first trainees for military aircraft

September 16, 1883 – January 20, 1941

After attending the Pennsylvania Military Academy, he won an appointment from New York to the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduated and was assigned to the Corps of Engineers. After assisting in bridge construction, he was deployed to Cuba during the Pacification Expedition, and a year later, returned to attend the Engineer School. While at the school, he was detailed to the Signal Corps.

“Aeroplane No. 1, Heavier-than-Air Division, US Aerial Fleet” was officially accepted by the US Army on August 2, 1909. 800 pounds of bamboo, wire and cloth, and a 30 hp engine connected to propellers by bicycle chains had cost the government $30,000. Included in the contract was the requirement for the Wright brothers to train and certify two military officers as pilots. These were to be Lieutenants Lahm and Foulois; the […]

6 08, 2014

Herbert D. Kelleher

Inducted in 2008

Co-Founder, Southwest Airlines

1931 -2019

Herbert Kelleher is a Founder of Southwest Airlines Co., and served as Executive Chairman from March 1978 to May 2008 and as President and CEO from September 1981 through June 2001.

Southwest commenced service with three airplanes in 1971 and today operates a fleet of more than 527 airplanes performing over 3,400 flights per day. Kelleher’s company has been profitable for 35 consecutive years and has never furloughed an employee. For 11 years in a row, FORTUNE magazine recognized Southwest Airlines in its annual survey of corporate reputations, and among all industries in 2007, FORTUNE has listed Southwest Airlines as number five among America’s Top Ten most admired corporations.

Kelleher himself has received numerous awards and honors, including the U.S. Chamber Business Leadership Hall of Fame; CEO of the Year and one of history’s top three CEOs, Chief Executive magazine; CEO of the Century, Texas Monthly magazine; […]

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

Captain Albert Berry

Inducted in 2005

The world’s first parachutist from an aircraft


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 […]

6 08, 2014

Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick

Inducted in 2005

Legends of Aviation

1893 – 1978

Georgia “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 […]

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 […]