Pilots

The job of a pilot is considered to be one of the most lucrative and glamorous ones in the aviation industry. Ask any little kid what they want to be when they grow up, and pat comes the reply, “pilot!” But despite the glamour quotient attached with the profession, it goes without saying that being a pilot comes with tremendous responsibility. The Wright brothers are widely regarded as the first pilots in the modern sense of the word though many before them had attempted to fly, often with disastrous results. Coming to more recent times, James H. Doolittle, Noel Wien, and Charles A. Lindbergh are counted amongst the best pilots of the early years of the 20 century. While initially flying was considered exclusively a man’s field, French woman Raymonde de Laroche broke all traditions to become the first woman in the world to receive an aeroplane pilot's licence. Not long after, American aviator Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Despite dying young, she played a major role in encouraging women to take up aviation. Intrigued to know more about pilots? Check out this section to know about some of most famous pilots of the world.
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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 Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes
6
Famous As: Entrepreneur, Investor
Birthdate: December 24, 1905
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Humble, Texas, United States
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.

 2 Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart
10
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.

 3 Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin
4
Famous As: Fighter pilot, Astronaut, Engineer
Birthdate: January 20, 1930
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Glen Ridge, New Jersey, United States
Buzz Aldrin became the second person to set foot on the Moon, as the pilot of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission, 19 minutes after Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon, on July 21, 1969. Aldrin has also been a U.S. Air Force officer and flew fighter jets in the Korean War.
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 4 Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin
4
Famous As: Cosmonaut
Birthdate: March 9, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Klushino, Russia
Died: March 27, 1968
Yuri Gagarin was the first man to travel into outer space when he completed an orbit of the Earth aboard the Vostok 1 in 1961. Following this, he became a national hero in Russia. He had previously served as an Air Forces pilot. He tragically died in a MiG-15 crash.
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 5 Manfred von Richthofen

Manfred von Richthofen
6
Famous As: Fighter Pilot
Birthdate: May 2, 1892
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: April 21, 1918
Manfred von Richthofen, also known as Baron von Richthofen and the "Red Baron,” was a German Air Force fighter pilot who won more than 80 World War I battles. He was part of the fighter wing unit Jagdgeschwader 1, which was also known as "The Flying Circus" or "Richthofen's Circus.”

 6 David Jason

David Jason
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 2, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Edmonton, London, England, UK
David Jason is an English actor, comedian, screenwriter, and executive producer who is famous for his role in the sitcom Only Fools and Horses. His other popular works include TV series A Touch of Frost, Open All Hours and Still Open All Hours and The Darling Buds of May. He was knighted in 2005 for services to acting and comedy.
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 7 Francis Gary Powers

Francis Gary Powers
4
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: August 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Jenkins, Kentucky, United States
Died: August 1, 1977

Francis Gary Powers was an American pilot. His Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) U-2 spy plane was shot down in what came to be known as the 1960 U-2 incident. He was performing photographic aerial reconnaissance deep inside Soviet territory when the incident occurred. He survived and later worked as a helicopter pilot for KNBC in Los Angeles.

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 8 Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova
4
Famous As: Pilot, Astronaut, Politician
Birthdate: March 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bolshoye Maslennikovo, Russia
Former cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova is currently part of the Russian State Duma. In 1963, she became the first woman to fly into space when she went on a solo mission aboard the Vostok 6. She has won many honors, such as the Hero of the Soviet Union.
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 9 Dean Paul Martin

Dean Paul Martin
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 17, 1951
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States
Died: March 21, 1987

Dean Paul Martin made his way into pop singing at the age of thirteen when he joined the pop group Dino, Desi & Billy. He earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance in Players. He also became a successful tennis player and competed in junior competition at Wimbeldon. At the age of 16, he obtained his pilot's license.

 10 William Conrad

William Conrad
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 27, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died: February 11, 1994

William Conrad was an American actor and filmmaker whose entertainment career in radio, television, and film spanned five decades. He achieved popularity after starring as Frank Cannon in the popular detective television series, Cannon. In 1997, William Conrad was posthumously inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame.

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 11 Paul Tibbets

Paul Tibbets
4
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: February 23, 1915
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Quincy, Illinois, United States
Died: November 1, 2007

 12 Douglas Bader

Douglas Bader
4
Famous As: Aircraft pilot
Birthdate: February 21, 1910
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: St John's Wood, London, England
Died: September 5, 1982

Sir Douglas Bader was a RAF pilot during World War II. Although he lost both his legs in an aerobatics accident in 1931, he recovered and rejoined the RAF. Following the war, he joined the oil industry. The film and book Reach for the Sky details his life.

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 13 Tom Harmon

Tom Harmon
4
Famous As: American Football Players
Birthdate: September 28, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rensselaer, Indiana, USA
Died: March 15, 1990

 14 Pappy Boyington

Pappy Boyington
4
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: December 4, 1912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Died: January 11, 1988

 15 Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson
3
Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: July 1, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died: January 5, 1941

 16 Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell
4
Famous As: Military General
Birthdate: December 29, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: February 19, 1936
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 17 Jock Mahoney

Jock Mahoney
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 7, 1919
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: December 14, 1989

 18 Dan Rowan

Dan Rowan
3
Famous As: Comedians
Birthdate: July 22, 1922
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Beggs, Oklahoma, USA
Died: September 22, 1987
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 19 Chesley Sullenberger

Chesley Sullenberger
3
Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: January 23, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Denison, Texas, United States

 20 Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor
0
Famous As: Actor, Pilot
Birthdate: August 5, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Filley, Nebraska, United States
Died: June 8, 1969
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 21 Hanna Reitsch

Hanna Reitsch
3
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.

 22 Elliott Roosevelt

Elliott Roosevelt
3
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: September 23, 1910
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: October 27, 1990
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 23 Steve Fossett

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

Apart from being the first solo balloonist to circumnavigate the world, Steve Fossett also competed the first non-stop solo flight across the world. The adventurer also owned a securities company. His plane went missing on a 2007 mission in western Nevada, and he was declared dead on the discovery of the wreckage.

 24 Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran

Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran
0
Famous As: Founder and leader of the self-styled National Council of Iran
Birthdate: October 31, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

Reza Pahlavi is the oldest son of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, and his wife Farah Diba. He was the crown prince before the Iranian Revolution overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979. He is the founder of the self-styled National Council of Iran and a prominent critic of Iran's Islamic Republic government. 

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 25 Jake Pavelka

Jake Pavelka
3
Famous As: Television personality
Birthdate: January 27, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

 26 Ilan Ramon

Ilan Ramon
3
Famous As: Fighter pilot
Birthdate: June 20, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ramat Gan, Israel
Died: February 1, 2003

 27 Rick Husband

Rick Husband
3
Famous As: Astronaut
Birthdate: July 12, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Amarillo, Texas, United States
Died: February 1, 2003

 28 Mathias Rust

Mathias Rust
3
Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: June 1, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wedel, Germany
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 29 Roland Garros

Roland Garros
3
Famous As: aviator, rugby union player
Birthdate: October 6, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint-Denis
Died: October 5, 1918

 30 Richard Bong

Richard Bong
0
Famous As: Aircraft pilot, Military personnel
Birthdate: September 24, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Superior, Wisconsin, United States
Died: August 6, 1945
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 31 Beryl Markham

Beryl Markham
3
Famous As: Renowned aviator and author who was the first woman to fly an east-to-west solo route across the Atlantic Ocean
Birthdate: October 26, 1902
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rutland, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 3, 1986

 32 Edward O'Hare

Edward O'Hare
3
Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: March 13, 1914
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: November 26, 1943
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 33 Fred Trump Jr.

Fred Trump Jr.
0
Famous As: Aircraft pilot
Birthdate: October 14, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States
Died: September 26, 1981

 34 Eugene Bullard

Eugene Bullard
3
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: October 9, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Columbus, Georgia, United States
Died: October 12, 1961

 35 Sultan ibn Salman Al Saud

Sultan ibn Salman Al Saud
3
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: June 27, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

 36 Geraldyn M Cobb

Geraldyn M Cobb
3
Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: March 5, 1931
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Norman, USA
Died: March 18, 2019

 37 Charles Sweeney

Charles Sweeney
3
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: December 27, 1919
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lowell, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 16, 2004

 38 Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen

Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen
3
Famous As: Military officer, Aircraft pilot
Birthdate: October 10, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bartoszówek, Poland
Died: July 12, 1945

Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen was a German army officer. A flying ace in World War I, Richthofen was promoted to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall while serving in Luftwaffe, Wehrmacht's aerial warfare branch, during World War II. Widely regarded as a visionary in aerial warfare, Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen was honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Eastern Front Medal.

 39 Jacqueline Cochran

Jacqueline Cochran
3
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: May 11, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Muscogee, Cantonment, Florida, United States
Died: August 9, 1980

 40 Lydia Litvyak

Lydia Litvyak
3
Famous As: Fighter pilot
Birthdate: August 18, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: August 1, 1943

 41 Dieter F. Uchtdorf

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

 42 Don Herbert

Don Herbert
3
Famous As: Television Host
Birthdate: July 10, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Waconia, Minnesota, U.S.
Died: June 12, 2007

 43 Biju Patnaik

Biju Patnaik
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 5, 1916
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Asika Aska, Bihar, India
Died: April 17, 1997

One of Orissa’s political icons, Biju Patnaik had led the Indian state as its chief minister for two terms. Often regarded as the Hero of Kalinga, he had a major role in shaping the post-independence infrastructure of Orissa and was also part of India’s freedom struggle. He was also a skilled pilot.

 44 Ernst Udet

Ernst Udet
3
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: April 26, 1896
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: November 17, 1941

 45 Anthony Fokker

Anthony Fokker
3
Famous As: Aviator
Birthdate: April 6, 1890
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Blitar, Indonesia
Died: December 23, 1939

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.

 46 Mukul Dev

Mukul Dev
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 30, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Delhi, India

 47 Gabby Gabreski

Gabby Gabreski
3
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: January 28, 1919
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oil City, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 31, 2002

 48 William Stephenson

William Stephenson
3
Famous As: Fighter pilot, businessman and spymaster who served as the senior representative of the British Security Coordination (BSC) for the western allies during World War II
Birthdate: January 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: North Point Douglas, Winnipeg, Canada
Died: January 31, 1989

 49 Louis Blériot

Louis Blériot
3
Famous As: Aviator, Engineer, Inventor, Aerospace engineer
Birthdate: July 1, 1872
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cambrai
Died: August 2, 1936

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.

 50 Johnnie Johnson

Johnnie Johnson
3
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: March 9, 1915
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Barrow upon Soar, Leicestershire, England
Died: January 30, 2001