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  • Walter Beech

    Walter Herschel Beech (1891-1950) Walter Beech began a long and distinguished career in aviation at the early age of 14, when he built a glider of his own design. Then, after flying for the U.S. Army during World War I, he joined the Swallow Airplane Company as a test pilot. He later became General Manager of the company. In 1924, Beech joined
  • Walter F. Brown

    Walter Folger Brown (1869-1961) Walter Folger Brown helped Herbert Hoover become the Republican president in 1928. For his efforts, Hoover appointed Brown postmaster general. Brown is considered by some to be the person who built the airline industry in the United States. While that designation is an overstatement, Brown's role in engineering a
  • WASP

    Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) Famous aviator Jacqueline "Jackie" Cochran realized when America entered the war there would be a shortage of qualified pilots across the country. Her idea was to hire women pilots to perform all of non-combat aviation jobs to free up male pilots for combat. The British had women pilots in their Air Transport
  • Wendover Field

    In the late 1930s the Army Air Corps undertook an experiment to determine if their flight operations might be satisfactorily combined with private and commercial airport activities. Two airports in the country were chosen for the experiment, one of which was the Salt Lake City municipal airport. The airfield, established in early 1920, was chosen
  • Wiley Post

    Wiley Hardeman Post (1898-1935) At fourteen Wiley Post saw his first airplane at a county fair near his home in Oklahoma. He was enthralled instantly with the prospect of flying. In 1930 he became the pilot for an Oklahoma oil man, who let Post use the Lockheed Vega on weekends for air racing. Post won the 1930 Bendix Trophy race using that
  • Willa Brown

    Willa Beatrice Brown (1906-1992) As a young high school teacher in Gary, Indiana, and later as a social worker in Chicago, Willa Brown felt that her talents were being wasted. She sought greater challenges and adventures in life, especially if they could be found outside the limited career fields normally open to African Americans. She decided to
  • William "Billy" Mitchell

    (1879-1936) General William "Billy" Mitchell was a strong advocate of military aviation. Beginning his career as a signalman in the Signal Corps, he eventually rose to the position of chief of the Air Service of the American First Army in France during World War I. Mitchell realized that aircraft could be used as a formidable weapon and urged the
  • William Powell

    William J. Powell (1897-1942) William J. Powell was born in Henderson, Kentucky, and grew up in Chicago. He interrupted his studies at the University of Illinois to serve in the First World War as an infantry lieutenant in the U.S. Army. After being badly wounded in a poison gas attack, he returned to Illinois to finish a degree in electrical
  • William Thompson

    William R. Thompson (1916-2006) Lieutenant Colonel William R. Thompson was born on January 26, 1916 in the Wiley Avenue section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of a prosperous caterer. His mother died when he was fourteen days old. As a child, he developed a love for flying that he nurtured throughout his life. While earning his B.S. in
  • World War I Ammunition Caisson

    This hand-drawn, wooden ammunition cart dates from the First World War. United States Army ground personnel used it to deliver ammunition to aircraft on the flight line.