Capsule Biographies

A : B : C : D : E : F : G : H : I : J : K : L : M
N : O : P : Q : R : S : T : U : V : W : Y : Z


Born 1896. Died 1974.

Randolph Fordham Hall was an aeronautical engineer and inventor, began work as a draftsman at the Thomas Brothers Airplane Co (1915-16) and moved to Standard Aeronautical Corp as an engineer (1917). He enlisted in the Air Service Technical Service (1917-19), advancing to the rank of first sergeant. During this time he attended the AEF's University in Dijon, France, where he earned degrees in mathematics and mechanical engineering. He returned to the US, becoming an assistant engineer at the Thomas-Morse Aircraft Co (1920-28) before joining Francis Cunningham and James Dryer to form Cunningham-Hall Aircraft (1928-41). He left Cunningham-Hall to join Bell Aircraft Co (1941-59), where he remained until he retired. Hall received more then 40 patents during his career, including one for a high-lift wing which flew on Cunningham-Hall's entry in the Guggenheim Safe Airplane Competition of 1929.


Born at New Britain CT, 1885. Died 1914.

1903 - At 18, Charles Keeney Hamilton became active in hot-air ballooning and parachute jumping at circuses and fairs.

1906 - Teamed up with Roy Knabenshue and began piloting dirigibles.

1909 - Toured Japan with a dirigible and, in the same year, became an exhibition pilot for Glenn Curtiss aeroplanes.

1910 - Participated in the Dominguez Field Air Meet, won a prize of $10,000 for flying from New York City to Philadelphia in June, and in October flew at the New York International Air Meet. Made the first documented night flight, over Knoxville TN.

1911 - Joined Moissant's International Aviators, a group of flyers who toured the United States performing daredevil exhibitions and hawking barnstorming flights. During one of these performances with the group in El Paso TX, he used his plane over Cuidad Juarez to observe engagements between the Mexican militia and rebels, which was is one of the earliest recorded uses of an airplane for military purposes.

1914 - Died at age 29 from a lung hemorrhage after a long bout with tuberculosis. Hamilton was known as a true daredevil pilot. He would fly anything anywhere and, because of this, was involved in many crashes. At the time of his death, he reportedly had two replaced ribs, and metal plates in his skull and one ankle. (— K O Eckland)


Born at Saginaw MI, Nov 14, 1908. Died November 28, 1991.

Edward Henry Heinemann began designing aircraft in 1926 as a draftsman with Douglas Aircraft Company. He moved to International Aircraft and to Moreland Aircraft as Chief Engineer, proving his concepts as test pilot of the aircraft he designed. In 1930, he joined Northrop as Project Engineer, but it was as vice-president for military engineering at Douglas in 1936 that he achieved his greatest design triumphs. In 1962, he became corporate president of engineering at General Dynamics, the position he retained until his retirement in 1973.

Heinemann was responsible totally or in part for the design and development of more than 20 outstanding military aircraft, including SBD Dauntless dive bomber of World War II, A-20 and a A-26 attack bombers, A-1 Skyraider, F4D Skyray, D-558 Skystreak supersonic research aircraft, and his crowning achievement, A-4D Skyhawk.

In addition to aircraft designs, he and his staff were responsible for the development of aircraft components and weapons such as ejection seats, cartridge ejector bomb racks, low-drag streamlined bombs, fuel tanks, autopilots, and flight data computers.

Ed Heinemann's career was devoted to solving engineering problems in aeronautical science. A genius of the times, his intellect and creativity has made a major contribution to the advance of world aeroscience.

Enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame 1981.


Born 1873. Died 1955.

Gerard Post Herrick. Inventor and research engineer who is known as the inventor of the "convertible aircraft." Graduated Princeton (AB, 1895) and the New York Law School (LLB, 1897), served as a captain in the Air Service during WW1 (1918-19). He is best known for his invention of the Herrick rotary engine and the Herrick Vertoplane, the first aircraft which could operate both as a fixed-wing airplane and as a gyroplane (1937). He remained as president of Convertoplane Corp, working on production plans for the Vertoplane, until his death.


Born ---. Died April 20, 2006.


Born at Houston TX, December 24, 1905. Died April 5, 1976.

Millionaire businessman Howard Robard Hughes Jr, film producer, film director, and aviator, studied at the California Institute of Technology, inheriting his father's machine tool company in 1923 and developed it into a corporate conglomerate. In 1926 he ventured into films, producing Hell's Angels, Scarface, and The Outlaw, as well as several others of lesser fame.

He began flying at age 14, showing remarkable piloting skills. He also founded his own aircraft company in the early '30s, designing, building, and test-flying his aircraft. His first design, the H-1 racer, that established a world speed record of 352 mph in 1935 and, on Jan 19, 1937, Hughes piloted it to a new transcontinental US speed record of 7h:28m:25s. In 1938 he flew a modified Lockheed 14 to an around-the-world record of 91h:17m. His most famous aircraft was an oversized wooden seaplane, nicknamed the "Spruce Goose," designed to carry 750 passengers. Completed in 1947, it flew only once over a distance of a mile as rebuttal to critics who predicted that it would never fly.

Despite eccentricities, his aviation career epitomized the courage and daring required to surpass existing limits, the technical expertise to produce innovative and vastly improved designs, and the business acumen to build a world-wide airline network with TWA. Honors included the Octave Chanute Award, the Collier Trophy, the Harmon Trophy twice, and a special Congressional Medal for his 1938 global flight. However, throughout his life Hughes shunned publicity, eventually becoming a recluse while still controlling his vast business interests from sealed-off hotel suites, which prompted endless rumors and speculations. In 1971 an "authorized' biography was announced but its authors were imprisoned for fraud, and the mystery surrounding him continued long after his death.

Enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame 1973.