Richard Branson is an English business magnate. The founder of Virgin Group Ltd., which controls over 400 companies, Branson was named on Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People in The World. Branson has also had a major impact as a philanthropist; he set up a charitable organization called Branson School of Entrepreneurship to provide entrepreneurial training to youngsters.
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.
Indian business magnate and ex-politician Vijay Mallya, known for his flamboyant lifestyle, has donned many hats, from running the largest alcohol company in India; to owning a cricket team and an F-1 team; to launching an airline. Following a financial fraud scandal, he is now facing extradition from the U.K.
German general and inventor Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin is best-remembered for inventing the Zeppelin rigid airships and pioneering development of rigid airships during early 20th century. Zeppelin eventually founded the German aircraft manufacturing company called Luftschiffbau Zeppelin that played an instrumental role in the design and manufacture of rigid airships and emerged as the leading manufacturer of large lighter-than-air vehicles.
Though a high-school drop-out, Dutch aviation designer and entrepreneur Anthony Fokker showed his interest in mechanics quite early. He designed over 40 types of fighter aircrafts for the Germans during World War I. The aircraft that completed the first nonstop flight across the U.S. was also made by him.
British automobile and aviation pioneer Charles Stewart Rolls is remembered for co-founding Rolls-Royce. The Cambridge alumnus was the first pilot to fly across the English Channel and back without a halt. He died in a plane accident at age 32 and was the first British aviator to do so.
The founder of Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, Tony Ryan had to give up his studies at 18, following his father’s death, and take up jobs. He first tasted success in the aircraft leasing arena, with Guinness Peat Aviation. He also made significant charitable contributions to various Irish educational institutes.