A Few of the Greatest Aviators in History

 

classic airplane and propeller

Determining the “best” aviators in history is definitely a tall order, but there are a few notable figures (in no particular order) that every aviation fan should know about.

Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier

Many historians agree that this little-known French gentlemen was truly the first modern aviator. He wasn’t flying a plane though. Jean-Fracois was the first man to every free-fly in a hot air balloon. His first flight took place in November of 1783. He was a bold man, willing to literally go to new heights to chase his dreams of flying. In an unfortunate turn of events, Jean-Francois was all the first person to pass due to aviation as well. He lost his life during an attempt to fly across the English Channel in his hot air balloon.

 

Amelia Earhart (Lady Lindy)

Any aviator would be remiss to not include Ms. Earhart in their list of greatest aviators of all time.   In 1932, she became the first woman to fly (unaccompanied) across the Atlantic Ocean. Three years later in 1935, she became the first to fly continuously from Honolulu to Oakland. Just two years later, Amelia attempted to do what was then considered unthinkable, and started a flight around the world. Sadly, she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, and was never heard from again.

 

Chuck Yeager

Known as the daredevil of test piloting, Chuck Yeager became the first man to successfully fly faster than the speed of sound. He was also known for helping with the testing of one of the first experimental rocket-powered airplanes.

 

James (Jimmy) Doolittle

Jimmy Doolittle was another speed demon & daredevil. When he was 15 years old, he built his own glider and jumped off of a cliff. Not surprisingly, he crashed terribly, but that deter him. Later in life, Jimmy set several records for flight speeds and made huge contributions to “instrument flying”. But his claim to fame was the “Doolittle Raid”, an air raid over Tokyo in April 1942. He led sixteen bombers off of the rolling deck of an aircraft on a mission to Japan.

Charles Lindbergh (Lucky Lindy)

Charles was the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean alone. In May 1927, his solo flight took him from New York to Paris, and directly into the hearts of millions.

To learn more about these aviators and discover a few more greats, refer to the following sources: 123

The Sky is the Limit: The Aviation Industry’s Bold New Approach to the Future

There are some bold new ideas coming from the Airline Industry that are paving the future of aviation. Industry giants are already trying to maximize power output and efficiency while simultaneously cutting down on emissions. Governments around the world are zeroing-in on the Airline industry, stressing more fuel-efficient engines as well as limiting heat-trapping emissions. Newer technologies that quite literally give new shape to airplanes are revolutionizing the industry, as industry leaders like Airbus and Boeing increase efforts to create lighter flight. Newcomers like Honda are already rattling feathers with their new 17% more fuel efficient Hondajet HA-420, signaling to industry leaders that fuel-efficient technology is now the new norm. However in years to come, even greater innovations are being planned, surely reshaping the Aerospace industry as we know it. Here are a few:

Alternatives to fuel-dependency: Cheaper and Cleaner Flying

Costs of fuel often influence the airline industry’s commercial markets. When the cost of gas skyrockets, so does the cost of flying. Alternative sources of fuel are currently being tested in the hopes of one day mitigating, and maybe even eliminating our fuel dependency. NASA recently tested the use of biomass fuels. Although currently more expensive than conventional jet fuel, a biomass blend fuel tested for 50% less soot emissions. Solar-powered hybrids have already traveled on intercontinental flights, while Hydrogen-powered planes are being theorized and planned as we speak. Such technologies can bring about an era of 100% emission free aviation.

Faster Flying

Industry leaders are not only hoping for cleaner flight, but also for flight to be faster. No civilian passengers have flown on supersonic jets since the Concorde’s retirement in 2003. Commercial Supersonic flight is suspected to revolutionize the airline industry. Despite the scientific, economic, and even political hurdles commercial supersonic flight faces, the rewards are quite appealing. For example, supersonic jet plans now in the works hope to cut commercial travel time by almost half, making flying much more accessible once the paradigm shifts. Plans are in the works for jets to travel speeds of up to Mach 4. Such speeds would carry passengers from Tokyo to Los Angeles in just under two and half hours.

Anyone passionate about aviation can easily get excited about the direction the industry is moving. Although the future is impressive, it is important that we temper expectations, as many of these innovations are still in its infant stages. For the moment, we can look forward to cleaner skies, and fuller pockets when travelling into the wild blue yonder.