Aviation Pioneers

Aviation Pioneers - Picture

Aviation History - Dufaux 4 biplane piloted by Armand Dufaux over Lake Geneva, August 28, 1910

Aviation Pioneers Information

Aviation Pioneers

There were a number of attempts to fly a winged aircraft before the Wright brothers' December 17, 1903 flight. Debates exist whether some were successful. This is a list of early aviation pioneers.


Eduardo Bradley. First to cross the Andean mountains in 1916, at 8.100 meters (altitude record) in a hydrogen balloon.


Sir Charles Kingsford Smith Made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia in 1928 and the first non-stop crossing of the Australian mainland


Wilhelm Kress was a piano builder who constructed a sea plane with 3 pairs of wings. Made several short hops, and then tipped over while taxiing and was damaged beyond repair. Kress was forced by circumstances to use an engine with only half the horsepower he had specified in his designs.
Edvard Rusjan Slovene aircraft constructor and pilot. His first flight was on November 25, 1909, with biplane of his own design.
Ivan Sarić Aviation enthusiast from Subotica was aircraft constructor and pilot. Hi made first flight on summer 1910, with monoplane of his own design. First public flight made on October 10, 1910, for 7.000 spectators.


Alberto Santos Dumont. A wealthy Brazilian who lived in France. Most famous for his airships and the flights with them, he designed, built, and flew the first practical dirigible balloons. In doing so he became the first person to demonstrate that routine, controlled flight was possible. He was later named "The World's First Aviator" by Aéro Club de France after having performed three flights in 1906 - three years after the Wright brothers. He was the first pilot officially witnessed to take off, fly and land without the use of catapults, high winds, launch rails, or other external assistance. Thus, some consider him to be the inventor of the airplane, especially in his homeland Brazil, where he is honored as the "Father of Aviation".


Félix du Temple de la Croix made a jump for a couple of seconds with his aircraft in 1874. He is the first one to have made a jump with a motor-powered heavier-than-air aircraft.

Clément Ader made his first flight with his bat-like steam-powered x‰ole on 9 October 1890. The jump was made in secrecy and was not documented. Another test was later done for the French army, but this too was kept secret. Some have suggested that he was the first true aviator. However, due to lack of evidence, his flights must be considered mere jumps.

Ferdinand Ferber made two copies of Wright glider, after having been told of about it by the French-American oracle of aviation Octave Chanute. However the aircraft never lifted off and the experiments ended in 1905 - after the Wright brothers half hour flights. Ferber is sometimes mentioned since he has been of major importance for the development of French aviation.

Alberto Santos Dumont, see Brazil above

Marcel Brindejonc des Moulinais Long diststance champion.


Otto Lilienthal made many jumps in his gliders and contributed greatly to the development of flight. However, he never flew a motor-powered craft.

Karl Jatho. His tombstone in Hanover says "Jatho, the World's first motored aviator, August 18, 1903". However, not even the Germans consider his motorized wing glider to be an aircraft. The wing gliders were used at the time as manned artillery spotter platforms.

Gustaf WeixŸkopf, see USA below

Great Britain

Hiram Stevens Maxim was born in the USA. He was possibly the one with the greatest technical skill of the early aviation pioneers. He had made a fortune on his machine gun construction and spent almost seven years to construct an aircraft. It weighed almost 4 tons and was powered by two 180-hp steam engines. On 31 August 1894 he made his first attempt to lift off. The craft ran on four wheels on rail tracks. It never really lifted off and crashed and was destroyed when it reached the end of the rail line. Maxim also constructed other unsuccessful models. He is today most famous within aviation circles for his wind tunnel tests.

Preston Watson was born in Scotland. In 1953 his brother James claimed that Preston had flown already in 1903. Preston, however, had built 3 aircraft between 1908 and 1913 and himself authored an article in Flight magazine on 15 May 1914, writing that the Wright brothers were the first practical aviators.

Edwin Moon (1886-1920) used the meadows belonging to North Stoneham Farm as a take-off and landing spot for his monoplane, Moonbeam Mk II. In 2010, what is now Southampton Airport is arranging a series of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first flight at the airport.


Shivkar Bapuji Talpade launched an unmanned airplane, named Marutsakhā ("Marut-friend", said of Sarasvati in RV 7.96.2), in the year 1895.
Giacomo D'Angelis was a Corsic-Indian aviation pioneer who became famous for the probably first flight of an own-built aircraft in 1910.


Giuseppe Mario Bellanca, see USA below
Enea Bossi, Sr., see USA below


Juan Pablo Aldasoro flew his first aeroplane in 1909. In 1912 he graduated from the Moissant School of aviation together with Leopoldo Alberto Salinas Carranza, Gustavo Salinas Camix±a, Horacio Ruiz Gavix±o and his brother Eduardo Aldasoro. In that same year, Juan Pablo Aldasoro became the first man to overfly the Statue of Liberty. On 14 April 1914, Gustavo Salinas Camix±a was the first man in America to use the airplane as a bomber in the vicinity of Topolobampo (Sinaloa).

New Zealand

Richard Pearse A group of aviation historians in New Zealand claims that Pearse flew about a kilometer by the end of March 1902 and a similar distance in 1903. However, no proof of this flight has been presented although the topic has been researched since 1958.


Czesław Zbierański (1885-1982) with Stanislaw Cywiński in the years of 1910-1911 constructed plane with 1 pairs of wings. On September 25, 1911 in Warsaw, the plane piloted by Michal Scipio del Campio flew distance around 15-20 kilometers.


Artur de Sacadura Cabral ((23 May 1881 - 15 November 1924)), Portuguese aviation pioneer who in 1922, together with Gago Coutinho, conducted the first flight across the South Atlantic Ocean, and also the first using astronomical navagation only, from Lisbon, Portugal, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Gago Coutinho (17 February 1869 - 18 February 1959), Portuguese aviation pioneer who in 1922, together with Artur de Sacadura Cabral, conducted the first flight across the South Atlantic Ocean, and also the first using astronomical navagation only, from Lisbon, Portugal, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Henri Coanda built aircraft in the UK for World War I, and discovered the Coanda effect.

Aurel Vlaicu built a glider in 1909 and three airplanes between 1910 and 1913 in Bucharest.

Traian Vuia made a publicly witnessed flight of a few dozen yards on March 18, 1906, near Paris.


Alexander Mozhayskiy is sometimes claimed to be the first aviator, the sources of these claims are almost always Russian or Finnish (as he was born in today's Finland). He is supposed to have flown 20-30 meters with a steam-powered aircraft in Saint Petersburg in 1884. Little is known of his fate and his aircraft after this. Mozhayskiy was developing concepts for heavier-than-air flight 20 years before the Wright brothers' first flight.


Ivar Sandstrx¶m was one of Sweden's earliest aviators. He died when his plane crashed on September 2, 1917, at the age of 28. A navy officer, he joined Enoch Thulin's flying school in 1915 and graduated in August the same year. He was one of the first aviators to obtain the international flying license. He continued flying until his death and was known as one of the country's most skillful and experienced aviators.


Aviation History - Dufaux 4 biplane piloted by Armand Dufaux over Lake Geneva, August 28, 1910

Picture - Dufaux 4 biplane piloted by Armand Dufaux over Lake Geneva, August 28, 1910

Oskar Bider was one of Switzerland's pioneering aviators. With Fritz Rihner, he founded in July 1919 the «Schweizerische Gesellschaft fx¼r Lufttourismus» in Zx¼rich. Oskar Bider was killed in an accident before the ambitious project was realized.
Alfred Comte issued in 1913 his pilot license, served as a pilot and as an instruction officer for military aviation. In 1916, he carried out night flights from Delement, to ward off air space violations. In the early 1920s Comte was co-CEO of the Ad Astra Aero S.A. Starting from 1923 up to 1935, he concentrated on airplane design and construction. During World War II he returned to military aviation duties, and then after managed another school of aviation.
The brothers Armand Dufaux and Henri Dufaux built the first serial Swiss airplanes, among them Dufaux 4 and Dufaux 5. Piloting an Dufaux 4 biplane, Armand Dufaux crossed on August 28, 1910, Lake Geneva resulting at that time in the worldwide longest flight (66 km (41 miles)) over "open water".
Aviation History - Maurice Duval and Emile Taddéoli in a flying boat Savoia S-13 (CH-4) on Lake Geneva

Picture - Maurice Duval and Emile Taddéoli in a flying boat Savoia S-13 (CH-4) on Lake Geneva

Ernest Failloubaz received the pilot's brevet number 1 issued in Switzerland on October 11, 1910, and did the first flight in Switzerland of an aircraft built and flown by Swiss citizen.
René Grandjean designed and built Ernest Failloubaz' aircraft for the first flight in Switzerland of an aircraft built and flown by Swiss citizen, pioneer on glacier flights and on seaplanes.
Walter Mittelholzer was one of Switzerland's aerial photography pionieers and CEO of the Ad Astra Aero. The Swiss media events of the 1920s were Mittelholzer's Africa flights for aerial photography and cartography purposes. In 1924, he did the first transcontinental flight expedition, starting from the water airport at Zx¼richhorn via Egypt to South Africa resulting in the first overflight of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Eduard Spelterini was in 1877 licensed by the Académie d'Aérostation météorologique de France as a ballon pilot. He became was a Swiss pioneer of ballooning and of aerial photography, crossed the Alps numerous times with his balloons, in all directions. Around 1893, Spelterini had begun to take a camera aboard his balloon and started to take pictures on his flights. In 1904, he spent several months in Egypt, and in 1911, he even travelled to South Africa, yet he returned each time to Switzerland.
Emile Taddéoli was one of Switzerland's pioneering aviators on flying boats among them Savoia SIAI S.13. He died on May 24, 1920, as chief pilot for seaplanes of Ad Astra Aero, with his mechanic, during a demonstration flight at an air show in Romanshorn (Lake Constance) aboard a Savoia flying boat.


Vecihi Hurkus served in first war in which aircraft were employed, in the First Balkan War in 1912. He was also the first Turkish pilot to down an enemy aircraft, in 1917. Later pioneered civil aviation and aircraft manufacture in Turkey.


Giuseppe Mario Bellanca of Sciacca, Sicily (later New York City), was an airplane designer and builder who created the first monoplane in the United States with an enclosed cabin.

Enea Bossi, Sr. of Milan, Italy (later Montclair, New Jersey), designed the Budd BB-1 Pioneer, the first stainless steel aircraft, and also the Pedaliante airplane, disputably credited with the first fully human-powered flight.

E. Lilian Todd, first woman to design an airplane.

Amelia Earhart, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, among other records.

Lyman Gilmore Jr claimed in 1927 that he had flown 6 kilometers with a steam-powered aircraft on May 15, 1902. No proof of the flight exists.

Augustus Moore Herring was employed by Chanute, In 1898 he built a hang glider and equipped it with a pneumatic engine which could run for 15 seconds. The same year he flew 15 and 20 meters respectively, after having taken of from a hill. Many years later, he and his friends claimed that he was the world's first motor-powered aviator. However, these were more jumps than flights.

Howard Hughes set numerous air speed records and founded Trans World Airlines.

Samuel Langley designed an unmanned steam-powered model, the "Aerodrome", which made the first sustained engine-driven flight by a heavier-than-air winged aircraft in 1896. His full-size gasoline-powered manned Aerodrome failed twice in 1903, plunging into the Potomac River after catapult launches.

Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, New York to Paris, in 1927.

John Joseph Montgomery, who was the first American to fly in a heavier-than-air controlled glider.

Alfred V. Verville, designer of the first plane with fully retractable landing gear, the Verville-Sperry R-3 Racer, planes he designed won the Pulitzer Trophy Race in both 1920 and 1924, and a plane he designed, the M-1 Messenger performed the first airship hook and release. A plane he designed, the Buhl-Verville CA-3 Airster was the first plane to receive a Type certificate. He was honored with a 33 cent airmail stamp in 1985.

Gustave Whitehead (Gustaf WeixŸkopf) arrived in the U.S. from Bavaria at the end of the 19th century. According to a local newspaper at the time and witness reports over 30 years later, he flew 800 meters at a height of 15 meters with a motor-powered aircraft in the early morning of 14 August 1901, near Bridgeport, Connecticut. The aircraft had a boat-shaped fuselage. The two propellers were driven by one 20 hp acetylene gas engine. In April 1902 the American Inventor magazine published a letter from Whitehead, who described two flights, 3 and 12 kilometers respectively, over Long Island Sound. No photographs have ever been found of his airplane in flight. Witness affidavits claim that he made several flights in the summer of 1901 before the publicized flight August 14.

Wright brothers Orville and Wilbur made four powered flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in the U.S. on December 17, 1903. The first three flights did not exceed 200 feet or 15 seconds. The fourth, by Wilbur, traveled 852 feet (260m) in 59 seconds and ended with a hard landing which broke the elevator supports. The Federation Aeronautique Internationale and Smithsonian Institution recognize the Kitty Hawk flight to be the first that was controlled and sustained.

William S. Lucky On October 13, 1913 he flew a 60 mile circuit around Manhattan Island in less than 53 minutes

More airplanes.

Source: WikiPedia

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