Famous 20th Century Aviators

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart.
4
Famous As: Aviator, Pilot
Birthdate: July 24, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Atchison, Kansas, United States
Died: January 5, 1939

Amelia Earhart became the first female pilot to complete a solo trans-Atlantic flight, in 1932. A champion for equal rights, Amelia later wrote best-selling memoirs and contributed to the women pilot’s group The Ninety-Nines. In 1937, Amelia disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean and was later declared dead.

 2 Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes.
4
Famous As: Entrepreneur, Investor
Birthdate: December 24, 1905
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Humble, Texas, US
Died: April 5, 1976

A multi-talented personality, Howard Hughes was one of the richest person of his time. A business tycoon, he made big investments in films and aviation industry. Passionate about flying, he set numerous flying records, and also risked his own life in process. Howard Hughes who inherited his family business and became millionaire at the age of 18, was later on troubled with mental illness and turned recluse.

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 3 Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh.
4
Famous As: Aviator, Inventor & Author
Birthdate: February 4, 1902
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died: August 26, 1974
Charles Lindbergh shot to fame after completing the first solo, and the longest, trans-Atlantic flight, in 1927. In his later years, his son’s highly publicized kidnapping and murder broke him completely. He also participated in World War II and worked on inventions that made flight navigation and heart surgeries easier.

 4 Alan Shepard

Alan Shepard.
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Famous As: Astronaut, Aviator, Entrepreneur
Birthdate: November 18, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Derry
Died: July 21, 1998

Alan Shepard was an astronaut and the first American to travel into space. In 1971, Shepard became the fifth and oldest astronaut to walk on the Moon; he was 47 years and 80 days old at that time. From 1963 to 1969, he played an important role as the Chief of the Astronaut Office. His work inspired several TV series.

 5 J. R. D. Tata

J. R. D. Tata.
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Famous As: French-Indian aviator
Birthdate: July 29, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 29, 1993
An aviation pioneer, J. R. D. Tata channeled the Tata Group for over five decades, leading to the expansion of India's largest industrial empire. He was honoured with the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan, two of India's highest civillian awards. He was also honored with French Legion of Honour twice. 

 6 Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
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Famous As: Novelist, Aviator & Journalist
Birthdate: June 29, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: July 31, 1944

French writer, poet, aristocrat, and journalist, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, is best remembered for his novella, The Little Prince. He was a pioneering aviator as a young man. A successful commercial pilot before World War II, he joined the French Air Force at the start of the war. Equally successful as a writer, he won several of France's highest literary awards.

 7 Gordon Cooper

Gordon Cooper
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Famous As: Officer, Astronaut, Test pilot, Aerospace engineer, Engineer, Aviator
Birthdate: March 6, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Shawnee
Died: October 4, 2004

Part of the seven Project Mercury astronauts, Gordon Cooper manned a 34-hour space mission, becoming the first American to stay for a day in space. As part of the Gemini 5 mission, he and his co-pilot proved it was possible for astronauts to survive a mission to the Moon and back.

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 8 Ronnie Corbett

Ronnie Corbett
4
Famous As: Comedian, Author, Writer, Film actor, Stage actor, Cabaret artist, Aviator
Birthdate: December 4, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: March 31, 2016

 9 Susan Oliver

Susan Oliver
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 13, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: May 10, 1990

 10 Erich Hartmann

Erich Hartmann
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Famous As: Aviator, Officer
Birthdate: April 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Weissach
Died: September 20, 1993

Remembered as the most successful fighter pilot in the history of aerial warfare, Erich Hartmann completed 1,400 missions in his Messerschmitt Bf 109 and shot down 352 Allied planes. Known for his dogfighting strategy, he inspired the popular biography The Blond Knight of Germany and became a flight instructor post-retirement.

 11 Harald Quandt

Harald Quandt
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Famous As: Entrepreneur, Aviator
Birthdate: November 1, 1921
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Charlottenburg
Died: September 22, 1967

Harald Quandt was a German industrialist who ran the industrial empire which he inherited from his father Günther Quandt. The family continues to own a stake in the popular luxury car manufacturer BMW. The family's previously unknown association with Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime was made public in 2007 by the award-winning documentary movie, The Silence of the Quandts.

 12 Scott Carpenter

Scott Carpenter
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Famous As: Test pilot, Aquanaut, Astronaut, Autobiographer, Aviator, Writer
Birthdate: May 1, 1925
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Boulder
Died: October 10, 2013

 13 Fred Haise

Fred Haise
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Famous As: Officer, Astronaut, Aviator, Fighter pilot
Birthdate: November 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Biloxi

 14 Pete Conrad

Pete Conrad
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Famous As: Officer, Astronaut, Aviator, Racecar driver
Birthdate: June 2, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: July 8, 1999

 15 Dieter Dengler

Dieter Dengler.
3
Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: May 22, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wildberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Died: February 7, 2001

 16 Ken Mattingly

Ken Mattingly
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Famous As: Officer, Astronaut, Aviator
Birthdate: March 17, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago

 17 Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
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Famous As: Renowned Author & Aviator
Birthdate: June 22, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Englewood, New Jersey
Died: February 7, 2001

 18 Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson.
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Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: July 1, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died: January 5, 1941

 19 James Stockdale

James Stockdale
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Famous As: Officer, Aviator, Politician
Birthdate: December 23, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Abingdon
Died: July 5, 2005

 20 Frank Borman

Frank Borman
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Famous As: Air force officer, Test pilot, Astronaut, Autobiographer, Aviator
Birthdate: March 14, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gary

 21 Edgar Mitchell

Edgar Mitchell
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Famous As: Officer, Astronaut, Aviator
Birthdate: September 17, 1930
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hereford
Died: February 4, 2016

 22 Randy Shughart

Randy Shughart
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Famous As: Military personnel, Aviator, Soldier
Birthdate: August 13, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lincoln
Died: October 3, 1993

 23 Steve Fossett

Steve Fossett
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Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: April 22, 1944
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Jackson, Tennessee, United States
Died: September 3, 2007

 24 Igor Sikorsky

Igor Sikorsky.
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Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: May 25, 1889
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine
Died: October 26, 1972

Igor Sikorsky was a Russian-American aviator known for his pioneering contributions to the development of both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Born in Russia, he immigrated to US as a young man and founded the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in 1923. He is also credited for developing the first of Pan American Airways' ocean-crossing flying boats. 

 25 Betty Ong

Betty Ong
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Famous As: Flight attendant
Birthdate: February 5, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: San Francisco
Died: September 11, 2001

 26 Hanna Reitsch

Hanna Reitsch.
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Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: March 29, 1912
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jelenia Góra, Poland
Died: August 24, 1979
It is believed Hanna Reitsch, eager to fly, had almost jumped off her balcony at 4. She was named Stratosphere by her flying-school classmates. A Nazi aviator and test pilot, she was given poisonous capsules by Hitler when the Red Army was taking over Berlin, but didn’t commit suicide.

 27 Herbert Nitsch

Herbert Nitsch
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Famous As: Aviator, Free-diver
Birthdate: April 20, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Austria

 28 Roger B. Chaffee

Roger B. Chaffee
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Famous As: Officer, Aviator, Astronaut
Birthdate: February 15, 1935
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Grand Rapids
Died: January 27, 1967

 29 Eugene Cernan

Eugene Cernan
3
Famous As: Officer, Aviator, Astronaut, Fighter pilot, Autobiographer, Businessperson
Birthdate: March 14, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: January 16, 2017

 30 Charles Duke

Charles Duke
3
Famous As: Air force officer, Astronaut, Test pilot, Fighter pilot, Flight instructor, Aviator, Businessperson
Birthdate: October 3, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Charlotte

 31 Romain Gary

Romain Gary.
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 21, 1914
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vilnius, Lithuania
Died: December 2, 1980

Romain Gary was a French novelist, diplomat, and film director of Jewish origin. He also served as an aviator during World War II. One of France’s most popular and prolific writers, he is the only author to have won the Prix Goncourt twice. He had a troubled personal life and died of suicide in 1980.

 32 Alan Bean

Alan Bean
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Famous As: Officer, Test pilot, Astronaut, Painter, Aviator
Birthdate: March 15, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wheeler

 33 Wally Schirra

Wally Schirra
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Famous As: United States Naval Aviator, Astronaut, Autobiographer, Test pilot, Aerospace engineer, Aviator, Businessperson
Birthdate: March 12, 1923
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hackensack
Died: May 3, 2007

 34 Edward O'Hare

Edward O'Hare
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Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: March 13, 1914
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: November 26, 1943

 35 Jean Batten

Jean Batten.
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Famous As: Aviator Who Made Record Breaking Trans-world Flights
Birthdate: September 15, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand
Died: November 22, 1982

Born to a dentist father in New Zealand, Jean Batten was initially sent to England to study music. However, she earned a pilot’s license instead and made many aviation records, which included completing the first solo flight from England to New Zealand. In her final years, she became a recluse.

 36 Mathias Rust

Mathias Rust
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Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: June 1, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wedel, Germany

 37 Eugene Bullard

Eugene Bullard
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Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: October 9, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Columbus, Georgia, United States
Died: October 12, 1961

 38 Hans-Joachim Marseille

Hans-Joachim Marseille
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Famous As: Aviator, Military personnel
Birthdate: December 13, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Charlottenburg
Died: September 30, 1942

Remembered for his aerial battles during the North African Campaign, Hans-Joachim Marseille was a German Luftwaffe fighter pilot and a flying ace, who claimed a total of 158 victories, out of which 151 victories were against the British Commonwealth's Desert Air Force. Nicknamed Star of Africa, he is also credited with shooting down seventeen Allied fighters in a single day.

 39 Burt Rutan

Burt Rutan
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Famous As: Aerospace engineer, Engineer, Aviator, Entrepreneur
Birthdate: June 17, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Estacada

 40 Joseph Kittinger

Joseph Kittinger
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Famous As: Commanding officer
Birthdate: July 27, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tampa, Florida, United States

 41 Gail Halvorsen

Gail Halvorsen
3
Famous As: Officer, Aviator
Birthdate: October 10, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Salt Lake City

 42 Alfred Worden

Alfred Worden
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Famous As: Officer, Astronaut, Aviator
Birthdate: February 7, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Jackson

 43 Sara Netanyahu

Sara Netanyahu
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Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: November 5, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kiryat Tiv'on

Sara Netanyahu is an Israeli educational and career psychologist. She is married to former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She is the daughter of a Polish-born Israeli Jewish educator. She has worked as a psychotechnical evaluator and an educational psychologist. She has received much negative media attention for the mistreatment of her staff. 

 44 William C. McCool

William C. McCool
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Famous As: Officer, Astronaut, Aviator
Birthdate: September 23, 1961
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Diego
Died: February 1, 2003

 45 Bruno Mussolini

Bruno Mussolini
3
Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: April 22, 1918
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milan
Died: August 7, 1941

 46 Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Dieter F. Uchtdorf
3
Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: November 6, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ostrava

 47 James Irwin

James Irwin
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Famous As: Officer, Astronaut, Aviator
Birthdate: March 17, 1930
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pittsburgh
Died: August 8, 1991

 48 Story Musgrave

Story Musgrave
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Famous As: Astronaut, Statistician, Aviator, Officer
Birthdate: August 19, 1935
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boston

 49 Wiley Post

Wiley Post
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Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: November 22, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Grand Saline, Texas, United States
Died: August 15, 1935

 50 Sabiha Gökçen

Sabiha Gökçen
3
Famous As: aviator
Birthdate: March 21, 1913
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bursa
Died: March 22, 2001