Plane History: Recognizable Heroes of Aviation

If you’re interested in aviation or looking at going into flight school someday, you would probably also be interested in delving more into the history of aviation and the people who became pioneers of the field.

We’ve collected a few of the most recognizable heroes of aviation for you to learn more and get a better appreciation for how far we’ve come in plane history over the decades thanks to these brave men and women.

Here’s a quick look:

  • The Wright Brothers: Of course, any discussion about aviation history has to begin with the men who powered the first flight. At the beginning of the 20th century, Orville and Wilbur Wright developed the very first powered, heavier-than-air flying machine. The first flight was only 12 seconds long, but it changed the world and opened up new possibilities. By 1909, the two had sold the U.S. government its first airplane, and later developed one of the earliest flight schools.
  • Charles Lindbergh: Perhaps the most famous aviator of all time, Charles Lindbergh turned aviation into a global phenomenon and passion when he achieved transatlantic flight from New York to Paris in 1927 in the Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh’s unique, fascinating and occasionally tragic and controversial life took him to Europe, saw him fly as a pilot in World War II and eventually consult on American space efforts.
  • Chuck Yeager: A legendary pilot, Yeager shot down five enemy airplanes in a single day in a P-51 during World War II. He avoided capture despite being shot down in March 1944, escaped into Spain with the French Resistance and continued his daredevil nature as a test pilot after World War II, which cemented his celebrity.
  • Amelia Earhart: Perhaps second only to Lindbergh in terms of fame among aviators, Earhart was a groundbreaker for women in aviation and remains a figure of great historical interest. She had a significant interest in feminism and advancing women’s rights, and knew very well the significance of becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She famously disappeared in 1937 while attempting to become the first woman to circumnavigate the world by airplane, a mystery that continues to captivate historians.
  • Bessie Coleman: Coleman broke boundaries for black women in aviation. After being rejected by all the flight schools in the United States in the early 1900s, she instead headed overseas to learn aviation in France. She earned her pilot’s license and some celebrity when she returned to the United States and performed at airshows. She died in a crash in 1926, but remains notable for being the first African American to receive a pilot’s license.
  • Howard Hughes: A fascinating character, Hughes inherited a major fortune upon turning 18 and went to Hollywood, where he discovered two passions: making movies and flying. His Hughes Aircraft Company became a major industry player, and Hughes eventually broke the speed record with his H-1 Racer.

These are just a few of the most legendary figures in aviation. Who are some others that come to mind for you?

Read More