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 1877. Died 1963.

Frank Purdy Lahm was the first ballon pilot in the US, the first airship pilot, and the first airplane pilot in the US Army. Like his father, Frank Samuel Lahm, his early interest was in ballooning, and in 1906 he won the James Gordon Bennett International Balloon Race. In 1909 Lahm and Lt Frederick Humphreys were trained by Orville and Wilbur Wright to fly the first plane the Army purchased from the Wrights. In 1912 Lahm was made commanding officer of the US Army Flying School in the Philippines, and during WW1 was commander of the Second Army Air Service.

Following the war Lahm founded the Air Corps Training Center at Randolph Field. In 1931 he was reassigned as Air Attaché and later Military Attaché to France and Belgium. He retired from the military in 1941, a major general as recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal and the French Legion of Honor.

Enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame 1963.




Born 1834. Died 1906.

Samuel Pierpont Langley

Enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame 1963.






Enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame 1978.


Born in Duluth MN, 1913. Died in Los Angeles, 1998.

Born as Anthony Puck, he later adopted his step-father's name.

  -- Pilot; autobiography with John Guenther (Harper 1954)


Born in Detroit MI, Feb 4, 1902. Died in Hawaii, Aug 26, 1974.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr, son of a Minnesota congressman, entered the University of Wisconsin in 1920. Two years later he interrupted his education as a mechanical engineer to work his way through flight school, then purchased a war-surplus Curtiss JN-4D "Jenny" in 1923 and taught himself to fly it. After a year of barnstorming, he entered the Army Air Service Flying School and received his pilot's wings in 1925. Returning to civilian aviation, there was more barnstorming and instructing, and he became an Air Mail pilot in 1926, where his route from St Louis to Chicago provided him with accelerated accumulation of flying experience at night and in adverse weather.

At the time, a $25,000 prize was being offered to whoever made the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris. Lindbergh obtained necessary backing from a group of St Louis businessmen to purchase a monoplane from the Ryan Company. On his arrival at the Ryan plant Feb 23, 1927, no design for his plane existed. Yet 77 days later, on May 10th, "Slim" Lindberg was headed eastward in The Spirit of St Louis on the first leg of his epic flight. On May 20-21, 1927, flew the celebrated transatlantic leg of that flight in 33.5 hours.

He became a hero of heroes at once as the nation and the world exploded into demonstrations of admiration. In the quarter century since the Wright's historic flight, aeronautics had remained little more than a matter of stunting and thrills. While there had been dogfights in World War I, and some airmail service, the general public did not regard airplanes as a valid means of transportation. Lindbergh's flight, however, brought the airplane into public consciousness with a vengeance and the way was paved for the expansion of commercial flight. By the time another quarter century had passed, jet travel had arrived, people of the world had achieved a new mobility, and railroads entered into decline after a century of domination.

Following the golden days of his solo flight, Lindbergh served science by working in designing an artificial heart. He was also in the news twice in less happy circumstances. In 1932 his first son, aged 2, was kidnapped and murdered in a crime that made as great a sensation as had Lindbergh's flight five years before.

In the late '30s he was one of the leading isolationists, fighting against participation of the United States in Europe's fight against Germany. However, when the United States actually went to war, he offered his services to the AAF, and went on several missions to the Pacific and Europe as a civilian consultant. (Digested from "Leadership: 2000 And Beyond, Vol. I," Civil Air Patrol, Maxwell AFB, and "These We Honor," International Hall of Fame; San Diego Aerospace Museum)

Enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame 1967.

  -- Autobiography of Values; Charles A Lindbergh (Harcourt 1978)
  -- Charles Lindbergh, A Human Hero; James Cross Giblin (? 1997)
  -- Charles A Lindbergh and the Battle Against American Intervention in WWII; Wayne S Cole (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1974)
  -- Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St Louis; Zachary Kent (paperback 1998)
  -- Charles Lindbergh: His Life; Dale Van Every & Morris D Tracy (Appleton 1927)
  -- The Economic Pinch; Charles A Lindbergh (Dorrance 1923)
  -- Flight to Glory: Charles A Lindbergh and the Spirit of St Louis; Kenneth S Davis (Garden City 1960)
  -- Flying With Lindbergh; Donald E Keyhoe (Grosset & Dunlap 1929)
  -- The Hero: Charles A Lindbergh and the American Dream; Kenneth Davis (Doubleday 1959)
  -- The Last Hero: Charles A Lindbergh; Walter S Ross (Harper 1968)
  -- Lindbergh; Scott Berg (Putnam 1998)
  -- Lindbergh: A Biography; Leonard Mosley (Doubleday 1976)
  -- Lindbergh Alone; Brendan Gill (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1977)
  -- Lindbergh on the Federal Reserve; Charles A Lindbergh (Noontide Press 1989)
  -- Lindbergh, the Lone Eagle: His Life and Achievements; Fife, Wood & Brown (Burt 1927)
  -- The Lone Scout of the Sky; James E West (Winston 1928)
  -- Of Flight and Life; Charles A Lindbergh (Scribners 1948)
  -- The Spirit of Charles Lindbergh: Another Dimension; T Willard Hunter (Madison 1993)
  -- The Spirit of St Louis; Charles A Lindbergh (Scribners 1953)
  -- The Spirit of St Louis; Richard Conrad Stein (? 1994)
  -- Spirit of St Louis; Paula Younkin (? 1994)
  -- The Story of Lindbergh, The Lone Eagle; Richard J Beamish (Harper 1927)
  -- Wartime Journals; Charles A Lindbergh (Harcourt Brace Javonovich 1970)
  -- We; Charles A Lindbergh (Putnam's Sons 1927)


Enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame 1976.


Born at Bremen, Germany, September 12, 1888. Died in Florida, February 29, 1976.

Pioneer, engineer, public servant, and prolific author Grover Cleveland Loening's father was US Consul-General in Germany. He received science and engineering degrees from Columbia College in 1908, and Columbia University in 1910 and 1911. After graduation, Loening joined a small company in New York building Blériots for exhibition pilots and, in 1912, built his own pioneer Aeroboat. In 1913 Orville Wright hired him as an assistant and as manager of the Dayton factory. In 1914 he was appointed Chief Aeronautical Engineer of the Army's Aviation Section in San Diego.

In 1917 he formed his original company, Loening Aeronautical Engineering Corp, to work on a Navy contract for a small plane that could be launched from a destroyer, and an Army contract for the M-8 Pursuit featuring pioneer use of rigid-strut bracing, patented by Loening and, 30 years later, still widely used. After the war, Loening produced the Flying Yacht that established world records and opened up the first significant market for private aircraft. For that he received the Collier Trophy for 1921. His next success was the novel Loening Amphibian—with the first practical retractable landing gear—used by the military, as well as airlines and private owners the world over. Among its historic records was the Army's famous Pan-American Goodwill Flight of 1926.

Loening Corp merged with the Curtiss-Wright Corp in 1928, and Loening subsequently formed Grover Loening Aircraft Co, building several research aircraft and establishing his first consulting engineering practice, for the Chase Bank, Fairchild Aircraft, Grumman Aircraft, Curtiss-Wright, and many others. During that period he was also a director of Pan Am.

When the National Air Museum was founded in 1948, President Truman selected Loening as the first of two civilian members for its advisory board, an appointment renewed by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. He was awarded the Medal for Merit in 1946, Columbia University's Eggleston Medal in 1949, the Wright Memorial Trophy in 1950, the Air Force Medal in 1955, and the Guggenheim Medal in 1960 for "a lifetime devoted to the development of aeronautics in America." In 1966 he was awarded the Silver Wings plaque by that organization of aviators. As Director and Consulting Engineer of New York Airways, he contributed to the design of the Pan Am rooftop heliport in New York City. (— Jean Lail, NAHF)

Enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame 1969.
  -- The Air Road Will Widen! Grover Loening (Wings Club 1969)
  -- Amphibian: The Story Of The Loening Biplane; Grover Loening (NY Graphic Society 1973)
  -- The Conquering Wing; Grover Loening (Chilton Book 1970)
  -- 50 Years of Flying Progress; Grover Loening (USGPO 1955)
  -- Military Aeroplanes; Grover Loening (Best 1917)
  -- Military Aeroplanes Simplified; Grover Loening (Loening 1918)
  -- Monoplanes and Biplanes; Grover Loening (Munn & Co 1911)
  -- Our Wings Grow Faster; Grover Loening (Garden City 1935)
  -- Takeoff Into Greatness; Grover Loening (Putnam 1968)


Born near Leonardville KS, January 18, 1882. Died at Adin CA, November 19, 1950.

Born into a Swedish farm family, in the early 1900s Albin Kasper ("A K") Longren ran a hardware store in Walsburg, and didn't become interested in airplanes until 1910 when he watched exhibition flyer J C Mars crash his plane Skylark. A K was one of several who helped rebuild the plane for Mars, and that sparked a lifelong career in aviation.

The following year he, with a brother and a friend, began handcrafting a flying machine in Topeka. On Sept 2 they rolled out their creation, dubbed Topeka, at dusk to avoid publicity should there be a mishap. But luck—and skill—favored them as A K flew a test fllight of six miles, just a bit above grass level, becoming the first man to build and fly an airplane in Kansas. To raise funds for further creations, he barnstormed the Midwest and flew popular exhibitions at fairs as "The Wizard of the Air."

After building a half-dozen aircraft of different shapes and sizes, in 1920 he formed a company to develop his design of a light plane with folding wings and a rolled-plywood, molded fiber-laminate fuselage. As well, he designed and patented a hydraulic stretch press and made a formed aluminum fuselage that was years ahead of the competition. Three Longren ships were also bought by the Navy for testing and evaluation.

Despite modest success, small planes lacked an audience, and his company was among many that fell victim to the Great Depression and its doors were closed in 1926, although the name was carried on into the 1950s by others who acquired his patents. A K went to work as an engineer at Cessna, Butler Mfg, and other companies, and had a successful California business manufacturing metal parts until passing away at age 68.


SEE Lockheed at NAHF for now.


Born 1896. Died January 10, 1965.