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Airplanes and Pilots

A pictorial history of the airplane and the men and women associated with flight - pilots, astronauts, inventors, and others. Read more >>

Since the beginning of time, humans have wanted to fly. While this goal was sought in many ways (fashioning wings and wearing them, hot air balloons, gliders), it wasn't until the beginning of the 20th century that the modern concept of the airplane was successfully achieved.

Flying facts:
  • KLM - Royal Dutch Airlines - is the oldest airline operating under its original name and still flying in the world. It was formed in 1919.


  • The Boeing 747's 195 ft wing-span is longer than the Wright Brothers' first flight - the Kitty Hawk flew 120 feet.


  • In the Fall of 1783 three passengers as well as a sheep, a rooster and a duck successfully flew in a hot air balloon.


  • English is used internationally in flight - all flight controllers and pilots must speak English if they are involved with flight between countries.


  • Harriet Quimby was the first woman licensed to pilot a plane in the U.S. - in 1911. She was also the first woman to fly across the English Channel.


  • Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. Charles Lindbergh was the first man to fly solo, without stops, across the Atlantic in 1927.


  • Chuck Yeager was the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound in 1947.


  • Take heart: approximately 95.7% of people involved in a plane crash survive the crash.


Following is a pictorial history of flight and of the men and women associated with this history. << Read less
That's a photo of my father Pvt. Leonard J. Chapman, holding the rear of the aircraft, so it will not begin to take off. This photo taken about 1929, in the Philippine Island.
People in this photo:
Leonard John Chapman
May 22, 1909 - Jul 13, 2005
Anaheim, CA
A photo of Arthur Richard Hugh Beauman's plane
People in this photo:
Arthur Richard Hugh Beauman
Feb 28, 1918 - Dec 5, 1940
A photo of S/L Norman Henry Nixon arriving at Cairns Airport with the 1956 Olympic flame he flew from Darwin.
People in this photo:
Norman Henry Nixon
Jan 6, 1916 - Feb 9, 1961
Changi, Singapore
A photo of Robert E Montague (1921 - 1998) and crew
People in this photo:
Robert E Montague
Jan 28, 1921 - Dec 2, 1998
Valdosta, GA
Shared on Jan 12, 2015 by:
A photo of William George Mccaig
People in this photo:
William George Mccaig
Dec 16, 1895 - Oct 1, 1918
A photo of Willard Dewayne Dover
People in this photo:
Willard Dewayne Dover
Nov 25, 1898 - Feb 22, 1991
Shared on Jul 16, 2013 by:
Douglas,beside an ancient bi-plane (I think). Douglas volunteered in the Canadian Air Force at the beginning of WWII. According to family history, he was lost in a mission over Germany.
People in this photo:
Douglas Byrd Van Buskirk
around 1919 - Nov 8, 1941
Orville Wright and Lieutenant Lahm of the United States Signal Corps making the world's record flight at Fort Myer, on July 27--The aeroplane made fifty miles at a speed of about forty miles an hour
A photo of Orville Wright at start of flight, Fort Meyer [i.e. Myer], VA
Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright seated on steps of rear porch, 7 Hawthorne St., Dayton, Ohio
People in this photo:
Orville Wright
Aug 19, 1871 - Jan 30, 1948
Orville, Wilbur, and Katherine Wright, with others
A photo of Arthur Douglas Hardinge
People in this photo:
Arthur Douglas Hardinge
Apr 19, 1919 - Mar 14, 2007
Toronto, ont, Canada
A photo of Arthur Douglas Hardinge
People in this photo:
Arthur Douglas Hardinge
Apr 19, 1919 - Mar 14, 2007
Toronto, ont, Canada
A photo of William Lendrum Mitchell
People in this photo:
William Mitchell
Dec 29, 1879 - Feb 19, 1936
Dangerous missions. John Walter Mchugo piloting a P-51 Mustang during WW2.
People in this photo:
John Walter Mchugo
Dec 16, 1923 - Aug 3, 2010
Tucson, AZ, USA
A photo of Harold Nigel Egerton Salmon
People in this photo:
Harold Nigel Egerton Salmon
around 1907 - Dec 6, 1943
A photo of Ed B Newkirk, Jr (right ) - 1932 photo William “Billy” Ford & Ed Newkirk standing in front of Ford’s Curtiss JN-4 Jenny at North Wilkesboro Airport
People in this photo:
Edward Burke Newkirk Jr
1905 - Sep 4, 1955
A photo of "Jook" Girl - B-29 nose art
People in this photo:
Walter E Decoux
Sep 21, 1922 - Aug 14, 2006
San Jose, CA
Had a flight in this aircraft, after researching an accident that killed one of my late father's friends in 1944 (Maurice Wyburn Webber and his instructor Flt Sgt Raymond Victor Askey, in the same type of aircraft.
A photo of Gordon W. Kirchener and the ship my Dad (Gordon) worked on.
A photo of Barth Edward Clevenger
People in this photo:
Barth Edward Clevenger
around Jun 1, 1926 - around Jun 10, 2001
Bay Point, CA, United States
A photo of an old Ford Tri-motor Mitchel Air Base June 1941 A James A Fazzi Sr Picture
A photo of a Luscombe Silvaire June 1941 Long Island NY.A James A Fazzi Sr Photo
Lockheed Airplane At Roosevelt Field Mitchel Air Base June 1941 A James A Fazzi Sr Picture
A photo of D.W. Sparks & His Piper Cub Airplane Jun 1941 Long Island N.Y. A James A Fazzi Sr Picture
People in this photo:
B-24 Hit By A Jap Bomb Jan 1943...A James A Fazzi Sr Picture
A photo of a B-24 Hit By A Jap Daisey Cutter Incendiary Bomb During The 23 Bomber 24 Zeros Raid In Broad Daylight At 1245 PM Approximately 3 Million Dollars of Damage Done ...A James A Fazzi Sr Picture
B-17 Hit By Japanese Bombs Jan 1943 ...A James A Fazzi Sr Picture
B-17 Bombed And Burning Milne Bay, Jan 1943 ....A James A Fazzi Sr Picture
Aussie Tiger Moth Trainer - Mareeba - March 1943 ..A James A Fazzi Picture
An Australian Beaufort Bomber - Milne Bay, Nov 1942 ...A James a Fazzi Sr Picture
A photo of an Armorer Working On A P-38 Just Like An Automobile ...A James A Fazzi Sr Picture
YOA-5 Langley Field VA Sept 1940 James A Fazzi Sr Photo
A photo of Msgt. James A Fazzi Sr In The Cockpit Of P-40 35th Pursuit Squadron Langley Air Field VA 11-03-40........James A Fazzi Picture
People in this photo:
James A Fazzi Sr
Nov 28, 1917 - Feb 5, 1995
Boeing Flying Fortress Langley Field VA James A Fazzi Sr Photo
A photo of a Tow Target Operation, Langley Field VA Ready To Go Up In A B-10 A James A Fazzi Sr Picture
People in this photo:
James A Fazzi Sr
Nov 28, 1917 - Feb 5, 1995
Trumbull Field Later Known As Groton Army Field Changing Wings On A P-40 That Was Cracked Up While Landing A James A Fazzi Sr Picture
People in this photo:
James A Fazzi Sr
Nov 28, 1917 - Feb 5, 1995
A photo of Ted Chapman's flight group and training class mid 1943
People in this photo:
Ted Chapman
Jun 20, 1921 - May 11, 2017
A photo of Anna Marie (Braunger) Kriege Honeymoon in California in a Bi-Plane 1920
People in this photo:
Anna Marie (Braunger) Kriege
Jul 23, 1893 - Mar 21, 1991
My father, Gary Campagna, in New Orleans during Navy Training around 1952.
People in this photo:
A photo of William James Finnegan
People in this photo:
William James Finnegan
Oct 7, 1909 - Jan 14, 1943
A photo of Ernest C Cuffle (1939 - 1997)
People in this photo:
Ernest Chester Cuffle
Sep 22, 1939 - Jul 6, 1997
Prospect, VA
A photo of Betty Sue (Lassiter) Sharp - Fly Girl Betty
People in this photo:
Betty Sue (Lassiter) Sharp
Born: Aug 6, 1923
Huffman, TX, United States
A photo of Betty Sue (Lassiter) Sharp - Betty Sue the Pilot
People in this photo:
Betty Sue (Lassiter) Sharp
Born: Aug 6, 1923
Huffman, TX, United States
A photo of Peter Henry Baigent
People in this photo:
Peter Henry Baigent
February 1925 - Jul 8, 1944
A photo of a plane with a group of unknown men.
Under the wing of the Dakota on Meiktila Airstrip 1946
People in this photo:
Heather Agnes (Bell) Wilson
Oct 6, 1919 - Feb 3, 2005
Oxted, England, United Kingdom
A photo of Alfred J. Puchis. "Kansas City airport after 12 hours flying from NY. June 2, 1931. The baggy pants are provided by the revolving aero pellets" THIS WAS HANDWRITTEN ON BACK OF PHOTO.
People in this photo:
Alfred J Puchis
Born: around 1908
New York, United States
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