Orville Wright was an aviation pioneer who alongside his brother, Wilbur, built and flew the world's first successful motor-operated airplane, the Wright Flyer, a heavier-than-air aircraft. The three-axis control system developed by the brothers remains standard on fixed-wing aircraft of all kinds. Orville also served on the board of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).
Legendary magician Harry Houdini initially worked as a trapeze artist named “Ehrich, the Prince of the Air” and was later known for his iconic stunt of escaping from handcuffs, at times even under water and while buried alive. He died after a blow to the gut damaged his appendix.
A pioneer in developing airborne operations, Kurt Student was a German general and commander of the Luftwaffe's paratroop branch. Assigned to military research and development in interwar years, he became interested in gliders and paratroopers, eventually helping to develop Germany's airborne forces. He masterminded airborne attacks in places like Netherlands and Crete, forcing the Allies to develop their own airborne troops.
10 Hugo Sperrle
Aviation pioneer and aircraft designer Geoffrey de Havilland is best remembered for his double-engine warplane Mosquito and the jet airliner Comet. He was part of the Royal Flying Corps and had been knighted for his achievements. He was also the founder of the De Havilland Aircraft Company.
Charles Kingsford Smith, also known as Smithy, was an Australian pilot who had been part of many first-time endeavors, the most notable being the first transpacific flight from the U.S. to Australia. While passing over Calcutta, on a flight from London to Australia in 1935, he and his co-pilot disappeared.
Louis Blériot was a French aviator, engineer, and inventor. He is credited with developing the first workable headlamp for cars. He is also credited with making the first working, piloted monoplane. Blériot achieved worldwide fame in 1909 when he became the first person to fly across the English Channel. Louis Blériot also founded the successful aircraft manufacturing company, Blériot Aéronautique.