This day in history (April 29, 1918): Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, the leading US ace of WWI, shot down his first airplane. Fast Eddie's first love was fast cars, and only made the switch from racing to aviation after repairing a car carrying Col Billy Mitchell. Rickenbacker downed 26 enemy aircraft in the European Theatre and was named Commander of the 94th "Hat in the Ring" Squadron. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1931 by President Herbert Hoover.
Helen Richey was Amelia Earhart's copilot on one flight across the Atlantic. She became the first woman hired to be a pilot by a commercial airline in the US. She was the first woman licensed as an aviation instructor. She was the first woman to fly a scheduled mail flight. During WWII she commanded a group of women pilots for the British Air Transport Auxiliary, flying bombs between factories and airbases. She died by suicide at age 38
Max Immelmann (21 September 1890 – 18 June 1916) was the first German World War I flying ace. He was a great pioneer in fighter aviation and is often mistakenly credited with the first aerial victory using a synchronized gun. His name has become attached to common flying tactics, and remains a byword in aviation.
The first Victoria Cross awarded to an Australian flyer for valour in the presence of the enemy was won by Lieutenant Frank McNamara of Number 1 squadron on March 20th, 1917. Following a raid on a train line, despite being wounded himself, McNamara landed and rescued a downed pilot from the raid whilst under enemy fire behind Turkish lines. Interestingly despite heavy involvement in combat over enemy lines, he was the only AFC pilot to be awarded a VC in World War One.
helen richey (1909 – 1947) was a pioneering female aviator ... she was the first woman to be hired as a pilot by a commercial airline in the united states ... the first woman sworn in to pilot air mail and was one of the first female flight instructors
Howard Hughes's H-4 Hercules - The "Spruce Goose" - It flew only once on Nov. 2, 1947. The Hercules is the largest flying boat ever built and has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history. They really weren't sure it would lift off - but it did.