The twentieth century can safely be called the century of aviation. Man was able to become the lord of the sky with the help of aircraft such as airplanes. A little over a hundred years have passed, and mankind has learned many famous pilots. Someone went down in history by doing a lot for aeronautics from a scientific point of view, set records, opened new opportunities.
And there are pilots who made a name for themselves through two world wars. Such pilots became famous for the fact that they shot down dozens and even hundreds of enemy aircraft. In any case, the pilot’s profession became romantic, and all thanks to her most famous representatives.
Wilber (1867-1912) and Orville (1871-1948) Wright are considered the inventors of the world’s first aircraft. It is for these Americans in most countries that the priority of such a fateful invention is enshrined. True, the championship is disputed by Alberto Santos-Dumont. The apparatus of the Wright brothers proved to be not only able to rise into the air, but also to carry out a controlled flight. For the first time something heavier than air with the engine was in the air. It happened on December 17, 1903. A couple of years later, the Wright brothers have already created the first ever aircraft that could be practically used. And let the experimental plane of Americans and was not the first in history, it was these pilots who were the first to fly it. As a result, aircraft construction has taken a truly first serious step. The fundamental discovery of the brothers was the discovery of the three axes of rotation of the aircraft. This allowed the pilots to maintain the balance of the aircraft during the flight and to control the aircraft. It should be noted that this method has become the main one for managing all types of aircraft, and remains so today. If at that time other testers focused on the installation of powerful motors, the Wright brothers studied the theory of flight and the principles of aircraft control. They conducted research with a wind tunnel, which allowed the creation of more advanced wings and propellers. Inventors even received a patent for an aerodynamic control system, which was carried out using aircraft surfaces. And the pilots got their technical knowledge, selling in their store bicycles, printing mechanisms, engines and other equipment. Now the first planes of the Wright brothers are in museums, being a national monument of the USA. Although these pilots were more inventors, they did not hesitate first to sit at the helm of the unusual at that time technical equipment. Louis Bleriot (1872-1936).
As in the case of the Wright brothers, this pilot was both an inventor and a businessman. Blerio was an engineer, since 1895, engaged in the production of lanterns. The general fascination with aeronautics did not pass him – the Frenchman first built an ornithopter, and then in 1907 his first airplane. In 1908, Bleriot was able to contemplate the skill of piloting one of the Wright brothers, which shocked him. Another eyewitness, the English Lord Northcliffe even established a reward of one thousand pounds to the one who first crosses the English Channel on an airplane. It was believed that the main competitor would be Wilbur Wright. However, he returned to the States, after an unsuccessful attempt by the Frenchman Hubert Latam, Louis Bleriot took the challenge. July 25, 1909, he climbed into the air, but halfway up the plane began to demolish north. However, the pilot noticed a deviation from the route and was able to correct the course. After 37 minutes of flight, having overcome the 23-mile path, Bleriot sat in England. This victory had great consequences for the development of aircraft construction. The pilot himself became the first Frenchman to officially receive the title of pilot. Many believed that the design of the French monoplane is more promising than the biplanes of Americans and Englishmen. Blerio was able to collect a lot of orders for the production of his aircraft. The pilot was not afraid to try and change the design, he made a record flight on his eleventh plane, while the Wright brothers brought their creation to perfection.During the First World War, the company Blerio released more than 10 thousand cars, many of which served to the fact that the aircraft have become even a weapon, but massive. Peter Nesterov (1887-1914).
In those days, aircraft management was a very risky business. Nobody really knew the possibilities of the new tool, and the very design of it left much to be desired. Peter Nesterov lived a bright and short life, being able to show what the planes are capable of. In 1910 an artillery officer was carried away by aviation. In 1912, the lieutenant had already made his first independent flight. The next year Nesterov was headed by a flying detachment. It should be noted that this pilot also worked on a designer. In those days, the improvement of aircraft was a routine and sometimes even necessary task. Nesterov himself modified his planes, developed new engines and even planned to create a single-speed high-speed aircraft. The pilot, possessing knowledge in mechanics and mathematics, having experience in aerobatics, theoretically proved the possibility of performing deep bends, and then practically practicing it. It was the Russian pilot in 1913 who made a closed loop in the vertical plane. From the dead loop (loop Nesterova) began the era of aerobatics. September 8, 1914 Peter Nesterov made his last flight. He tried to chassis his plane to hit the wing of the enemy “Albatross”. However, the pilot miscalculated and his easy “Moran” top rammed the enemy. The collision turned out to be fatal for all pilots. And Nesterov went down in history also as the first pilot who made a ram. Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918).
With the outbreak of the First World War, the warring parties began to use new weapons – aircraft. At first they were just engaged in reconnaissance, but then fighters appeared. The most famous pilot-ace of the First World became the “Red Baron”, Manfred von Richthofen. On his account there were 80 enemy planes shot down. Beginning of the war, the legendary pilot met in the cavalry. However, this line of troops quickly bored him and in 1915 Richthofen was transferred to aviation. At first he was engaged exclusively in intelligence. On September 17, 1916, the baron shot down the first enemy, ordering a cup with an engraved date of battle and the type of aircraft shot down. As a result, Richtofen accumulated 60 such memorabilia. The pilot, like many of his colleagues, was pretty superstitious. Before each flight he received a kiss from his beloved, which became even a peculiar tradition among other military pilots. In January 1917 at the expense of Richthofen there were already 16 downed vehicles. He received the highest military award of the country – the Order “Pour le Merite”, he was entrusted with the leadership of the squadron “Jasta 11”. His red-painted aircraft terrified the enemy. The structure of “Jasta 11” included many German aces, including Ernst Udet. The group was located in tents, not far from the front line. For mobility, the squadron was even called the “air circus”. The legendary pilot died on April 21, 1918, the bullet hit the Red Baron from the ground.
Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974).
The First World War died off, aircraft construction developed by leaps and bounds. The records followed one after another. In 1919, an American businessman Raymond Orteig offered 25 thousand dollars to the pilot who would make the first flight from New York to Paris. Jackpot tried to disrupt many pilots, but either interrupted the flight, or died. Charles Lindbergh decided to join the competition. By that time he already had his own plane, the experience of independent flights. Lindbergh found sponsors, a company from San Diego specially commissioned him to produce a single-engine monoplane. At the same time, the pilot himself took part in the design. The plane was called “The Spirit of St. Louis”. The first serious test of it occurred on May 10-11, 1927. Lindbergh flew from San Diego to New York in 20 hours, spending the night in St. Louis. And on May 20, a historic flight took place.Lindberg started from the Roosevelt airfield in New York at 7:52 and at 17:21 was in Le Bourget. For this feat, Charles Lindbergh received worldwide fame. The pilot was the first in the United States to be awarded the Cross of Flying Merit. To Lindberg’s credit it is worth noting that he continued to popularize aviation. The pilot attracts investments to the research of Robert Goddard, a pioneer of rocket science. At the request of the American authorities, Lindberg visits the countries of Latin America. Together with his wife, the pilot travels around the world, drawing up schemes for new routes for airlines. Lindberg even took part in the development of an artificial heart. During the Second World War, the pilot visited military adviser and managed to even carry out about fifty sorties, at which time he was developing autopilot methods. In the postwar years Lindberg became a general, he writes books, travels, engages in public activities, protecting nature. Amelia Earhart (1897-1937).
Over time, aviation began to attract women and women. One of the pioneers was Amelia Earhart, a brave writer who opened the way to the sky for the fairer sex. By 1920, Amelia received a brilliant education, she learned four languages. The fate of the girl changed when, in 1920, she made her first flight as a passenger. Having decided to become a pilot, Amelia tried many professions to pay for training. At the same time, she learned about aviation everything from the theory of flight and to the design of the engine. In the summer of 1921, Earhart bought her first plane, and in October 1922 he set his first world record, climbing to a height of 4300 meters. In the wake of the growing popularity of aviation, the name of the brave airman became known. In 1923 she received a license, becoming the 16th woman with such a document. After Lindbergh’s flight across the Pacific Ocean, it’s time for women to prove that they are capable of this. Rich American Amy Guest, attracted funds, but she could not fly. Then the task was set to find a brave and attractive pilot, who became Amelia Earhart. June 17, 1928, along with two pilots she flew from Newfoundland to Wales, though more as a passenger. Nevertheless, the pilot became world famous. Her fame she turned to the struggle for the rights of women, attracting them to traditionally male professions, including aviation. Earhart stood at the origins of commercial air transportation, constantly traveling with lectures throughout the country. In 1929, Earhart helped create the organization of women pilots, becoming her first president. She is mastering heavy vehicles, setting a speed record of 197 miles per hour. In 1932, Earhart made a single flight across the Atlantic, becoming the second person after Lindbergh, who managed to do it. This achievement brought the pilot world-wide fame and many awards. By the mid-1930s, Earhart had become one of the most famous people in America. She is friends with the President’s family, owns a lot of air records, and promotes flights. In 1937, Amelia decided to make a round-the-world flight, she was accompanied by navigator Fred Noonan. In the Central Pacific, near Howland Island, the Amelia plane disappeared. The US Navy undertook a large-scale search operation, which became the most expensive in the history of the fleet. On January 5, 1939, a brave pilot was officially recognized dead. Traces of the aircraft were never found, so the mystery of the disappearance of the crew survived until now. Valery Chkalov (1904-1938).
When Chkalov first saw the plane, he was 15 years old, and he worked as a stoker on the ship. After that, he achieved admission to the flight school, learning to pilot, shoot, bombing and manners of air combat. In 1924, a military fighter pilot got into the Leningrad squadron named after Nesterov. There Chkalov showed himself not just as a brave pilot, but also as impudent. For his risky stunts in the air, the pilot was repeatedly suspended by management from practice, and once even flew under the bridge.Military career Chkalov did not work out – he was convicted for drunken fights, then his lihacities ended in accidents. Only at the request of the senior leadership of the army the pilot was not in prison, but in reserve. Since 1933 Chkalov moved to a new job – a test pilot of the Moscow Aviation Plant. Here, through the hands of the pilot, many experienced machines passed, he himself developed new aerobatics figures – an ascending corkscrew and a slow barrel. In 1935 the pilots Chkalov, Baidukov and Belyakov suggested the country’s leadership to fly from the USSR to the USA via the North Pole. However, Stalin proposed to first overcome another route – from Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. For this successful flight in 1936, the entire crew was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Chkalov became a national hero. And in 1937, the same crew in difficult conditions flew across the Arctic to Vancouver, Washington. The brave crew was welcomed by all America, President Roosevelt received them. Chkalov became a People’s Deputy of the USSR, Stalin himself invited him to head the NKVD, but the pilot refused. On December 15, 1938, the tester died, flying on a new I-180 fighter.
Erich Alfred Hartmann (1922-1993).
World War II spawned new hero pilots. And if Pokryshkin and Kozhedub were extolled in the Soviet media, then the Western press certainly considered the German as the best ace, Erich Hartmann. After all, during his 1,525 combat sorties he managed to shoot down 352 aircraft, of which only 7 were not Soviet. In pre-war time, Hartmann piloted gliders, joining the Luftwaffe in 1940. In 1942, he completed the pilot courses and was sent to the Eastern Front. Erich proved himself an excellent sniper and diligent student, having managed to master his technique perfectly. Hartmann was lucky to get into the famous fighter squadron JG 52, where he was surrounded by famous aces. The young pilot quickly adopted the tactic of success. He did not seek to enter the air roundabout with enemy fighters, preferring to attack from an ambush. Hartmann paid special attention to the first blow. By October 1943 on the account of the ace, there were already 148 downed planes, he had already managed to get behind the front line, to escape from there and get a knight’s cross. Such rapid successes even forced the headquarters of the Luftwaffe to verify the pilot’s victories, but all of them were confirmed. On August 17, 1944, according to the number of victories, Hartmann passed his comrade, Gerhard Barkhorn. And after a week, the number of downed planes was 300. For this Hartmann was awarded a diamond Knight’s Cross. His last victory, the legendary ace reached May 8, 1945, already after the signing of the German surrender. After the war, the pilot was in Soviet captivity, where he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. In 1955, Hartmann was released ahead of schedule, he returned to Germany, where he trained pilots.
Ivan Kozhedub (1920-1991).
Ivan Kozhedub became the most famous Soviet ace of the Second World War. Like many Soviet youths at the call of the state, the future pilot was engaged in an aero club. The war caught him instructor of the Chuguev Air School. Constantly rushing to go to the front, Kozhedub only in March 1943 managed to sleep there. By that time, Soviet pilots had accumulated combat experience, and the aircraft became competitive. Only on July 6, 1943, during the fighting on the Kursk Bulge, during his forties Kozhedub shot down his first plane. On February 4, 1944, the pilot was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union for 20 downed German aircraft. Already in August, he found the second Star, by the time the Ace was 48 enemy cars shot down. Unlike Hartmann, the Soviet pilot preferred to open fire from afar, without approaching the enemy. Ivan Kozhedub met the Victory in the rank of major, having shot down 62 aircraft. He himself was not knocked down once. On August 18, 1945, the illustrious ace received his Third Star of the Hero.After the end of hostilities Kozhedub continued to serve in aviation, he graduated from the Air Force Academy, and then the Academy of the General Staff. During the war in Korea, Kozhedub was again at the front, this time already as commander of an air division. In 1985, the famous pilot became Air Marshal. Marina Popovich (born 1931).
In 1951, the girl graduated from an aviation technical school in Novosibirsk, becoming an instructor. The passion for flying was so overwhelming that Marina got the right to serve in the army in order to be able to control jet fighters. Since 1960, Popovich began to pilot aircraft of this class, soon becoming the only female test-taker of the 1st class. Marina even visited a candidate for cosmonauts. The pilot on the MiG-21 was the first of the women to overcome the sound barrier. Over the past few years, she has managed to establish 102 world records, similar achievements have become her work. These are records on the speed and range of various aircraft and their classes. At the same time, ten of her records, the woman put behind the wheel of the giant aircraft Antey. It is no coincidence that Marina Popovich is a member of the legendary American club “99”. In total, the famous pilot has mastered more than 40 types of aircraft, in her honor even a star in the constellation of Cancer is named.