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Old 02-01-2009, 07:01 PM   #106
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Re: Today's Birthday...

It's not my birthday. Doc is just trying to smear my good reputation.



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Old 02-01-2009, 07:26 PM   #107
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Quote:
Originally Posted by furryforest View Post
Doc, you have peaked, a great dedication to The Man

Cap-we drink to your coffin. May it be built from the wood of a hundred year old oak tree that I shall plant tomorrow.
Thanks fuzzy! That's very nice. Too bad everyone is not as nice as you!





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Old 02-01-2009, 09:20 PM   #108
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Happy B-Day Cap!!! That story was hilarious!
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Old 02-01-2009, 10:52 PM   #109
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Re: Today's Birthday...

I bet Gerard never thought he was an author of comedies.



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Old 02-02-2009, 03:25 AM   #110
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Wahoo View Post
I bet Gerard never thought he was an author of comedies.
Believe me, comedies are better than comedos!
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:23 PM   #111
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingdoc View Post
Believe me, comedies are better than comedos!
Or Speedos, just ask Kevin.





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Old 04-21-2009, 10:34 AM   #112
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Re: Today's Birthday...

Unfortunately, the re-birth of this thread was delayed due to work commitments so I have missed a couple of days. Last year we finished at April 18, so today I will resume at April 19 and catch up...

April 19, 1949 - Larry Walters



Lawrence Richard Walters, nicknamed "Lawnchair Larry" or the "Lawn Chair Pilot", (April 19, 1949 – October 6, 1993) was an American truckdriver who took flight on July 2, 1982 in a homemade aircraft. Dubbed "Inspiration I,", his aircraft consisted of an ordinary patio chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons attached to it.

His intention was to attach a few helium-filled weather balloons to his lawnchair, cut the anchor, and then float above his backyard at a height of about 30 feet for several hours. He planned to use a pellet gun to burst balloons to float gently to the ground, but the chair rose to 15,000 feet and he was scared to shoot the balloons in case his chair tipped!

He had taken a parachute, a CB radio, sandwiches, cold beer, a camera and the pellet gun. He drifted into federal airspace over the approach to Long Beach Airport, creating a security scare and the ire of the federal authorities. When he did eventually shoot some balloons and descend his lines got caught up in power lines and caused a blackout in Long Beach. The police were on hand and he was arrested but made international headlines.

When asked by a reporter why he had done it, Walters replied, "A man can't just sit around."

The authorities added:
"We know he broke some part of the Federal Aviation Act, and as soon as we decide which part it is, some type of charge will be filed. If he had a pilot's license, we'd suspend that. But he doesn't."

Walters later went on to commit suicide in 1993.


April 19, 1922 - Erich Hartmann



Who was the most successful fighter pilot? Who was the number one ace? The ace of aces? - The highest scoring ace of all time was the great German Luftwaffe pilot Erich Hartmann with 352 aerial kills.


Hartmann was born in 1922, in Weissach, Wurttemberg. At age 19 (1941), he joined the Luftwaffe and was posted to Jagdgeschwader 52 on the Eastern Front in October, 1942. He scored his first kill in November, and only achieved his second three months later. In the first half of 1943, he worked out some of the tactics which would prove so successful later on. If he was attacked from behind, he would send his wingman down low and out in front. Then he would get behind the enemy and fire a short, quick accurate burst, waiting "until the enemy aircraft filled the windscreen." He would normally content himself with one victory; he was willing to wait for another day. His natural talents began to tell: excellent eyesight, lightning reflexes, an aggressive spirit, and an ability to stay cool while in combat.

He reached 50 victories by August of 1943. Within the month, he had reached 80, and was promoted to lead 9./JG52. Earlier in the war, 25 or 50 victories would have earned a German fighter pilot the Knight's Cross. By late 1943, Hartmann had to down 148 before he earned his Knight's Cross. By March 2, 1944, he had reached a total of 202, earning him the Oak Leaves. He was the fourth Luftwaffe fighter pilot to reach 250, the first to reach 300, and the only one to reach 350. He was awarded the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds for his accomplishment.

In early May 1945, the Luftwaffe command ordered Hartmann, then Gruppenkommandeur of JG 52 to fly to the British sector but he disregarded this order, remaining loyal to Jagdgeschwader 52's pilots, ground crew, and family members. After destroying the unit's aircraft they mobilized westwards and surrendered to the US Army. Unfortunately, the US Army then handed over all these soldiers and civillians to the Russian Red Army and they were deported to Siberia. Hartmann was sentenced to 50 years of hard labor and was pressured by the Soviets (under threat of kidnapping his wife and daughter who were living in West Germany) to spy against the west. He refused and was eventually repatriated to Germany in 1955, where he became Kommodore in the the West German Luftwaffe.

Erich Hartmann died in 1993: Of all his accomplishments, he was proudest of the fact that he never lost a wingman.
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Old 04-21-2009, 11:23 AM   #113
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Re: Today's Birthday...

April 20, 1919 - Richard Hope Hillary



Richard Hillary was an Australian Spitfire ace who was famous as one of pioneer plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe's Guinea Pig Club and the author of "The Last Enemy". He was killed in WWII.

Born in 1919 in Sydney, early in his life he came to England, was educated at Shrewsbury, and proceeded to Trinity College, Oxford. Possessed of a personality that courted daring and danger, he joined the University Air Squadron in 1938 and was called up to the Royal Air Force in 1939. He was handsome, flirtatious, and a bit unthinking. He flew brilliantly, but took risks. Flying Spitfires with 603 Squadron, he achieved 5 victories but, in August 1940, his plane was hit by gunfire, exploding and catching fire. He was able to open the canopy before passing out, and bailed out into the North Sea, horrifically burned. Spending three excruciating months in hospital, he underwent a series of experimental plastic surgeries. He was eventually released, his striking face somewhat rebuilt, but still bearing the scars.

His muscles were irreparably damaged and his movements forever impaired, but he insisted on resuming flying, despite being barely able to manipulate a knife and fork at the dinner table and despite all recommendation to the contrary. Hillary's last fatal flight was 'round midnight, 8 January 1943, wintry and windy. Shortly after take-off his Bristol Blenheim straightaway ran into difficulty. The undercarriage would not come down for landing and the fuel was running low. Hillary and his navigator were instructed to circle a beacon near the centre of the aerodrome.

'Are you happy?', came the somewhat unusual question from the radiotelephone operator, querying their dire situation. 'Moderately', replied Hillary. 'I am continuing to circle'. Minutes after, the plane began losing altitude and soon smashed into the ground, killing both.


April 20, 1901 - Adolph Buseman


Adolph Buseman (1901-1986) was a German aeronautical engineer who devised swept wing technology for high-speed flight.

The laws governing airflow over surfaces do not operate at near-mach speed. This was appreciated in the 1930's by Adolph Buseman who first propounded a theory which applied the sweep-back of wings to improved aerodynamic performance at near-supersonic flight in 1935. The theory also allowed development of high-speed propeller technology.

Straight wings are advantageous for short takeoffs and landings, low speed, and fuel-efficient flight, but swept wings are ideal for high-speed, particularly supersonic, flight. Sometimes aircraft are required to do things that demand design features that oppose each other. The best example is an aircraft that can fly at high supersonic speeds but still needs to be able to land at relatively low speeds, such as on the deck of an aircraft carrier (viz F-14 Tomcat).

His theory, supported with research by Dr. Albert Betz of the Göttingen Aerodynamics Research Institute, led Messerschmitt to begin developing a variable-sweep wing design, the P-1101, in 1942. The war ended before the aircraft could be produced. It is also doubtful that existing engines provided high enough speed for the design to make an appreciable difference in performance. After the war, he was taken to the USA where he continued to work in aeronautical design - his theories were realized in the Bell X-5 project. He died in 1986.




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Old 04-21-2009, 11:41 AM   #114
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Re: Today's Birthday...

April 21, 1917 - Marie Ethel Sharon


Marie Sharon was a WASP who gave her life in service of her country, as a ferry pilot in WWII.

Born April 21, 1917 in Forsythe, Montana, MArie Sharon was schooled in Portland, Oregon before beginning her training to become a WASP on February 14, 1943. She graduated from Avenger Field in Swee****er, TX on August 7, 1943. She was then stationed at Long Beach Army Air Base, California and assigned to the 6th Ferrying Group. She and her instructor were killed on April 10, 1944 near Tecumseh, Nebraska, while flying a B-25 on a night flying instrument training mission.

The WASPs provided invaluable war service ferrying new aircraft to their operational units and often assisted in converting pilots to new aircraft types.



April 21, 1917 - Kenneth Campbell, VC.


Kenneth Campbell (21 April 1917 - 6 April 1941) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Ken Campbell was 24 years old, and a Flying Officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, serving on No. 22 Squadron RAF, during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 6 April 1941 over Brest Harbour, France, Flying Officer Campbell attacked the German battle-cruiser Gneisenau with the utmost daring. He flew his Bristol Beaufort through the gauntlet of concentrated anti-aircraft fire from about 1000 weapons of all calibers and launched a torpedo at a height of 50 feet. The battle cruiser was in a heavily defended harbour backed by high sloping ground so that even if the aircraft managed to penetrate the defences, it would be almost impossible, after delivering a low-level attack, to avoid crashing into the rising ground beyond.

The attack had to be made with absolute precision: the Gneisenau was moored only some 500 yards away from a hill in Brest's inner harbour. For the attack to be effective Campbell would have to time the release to drop the torpedo close to the side of the hill. That Campbell managed to launch his torpedo accurately is testament to his courage and determination. The ship was severely damaged below the waterline and was obliged to return to the dock whence she had come only the day before, she was out of action for 6 months, which thus allowed allied shipping to cross the Atlantic without any threat.

Generally, once a torpedo was dropped an escape was made by low-level jinking at full throttle. Because of rising ground surrounding the harbour Flying Officer Campbell's Beaufort was forced into a steep banking turn, revealing its full silhouette to the gunners. The aircraft met a withering wall of flak and crashed into the harbour. The Germans buried Campbell and his other three crew mates, Sgts. J P Scott (Canada), R W Hillman and W Mallis, with full military honours. His valour was only recognised when the French Resistance managed to leak news of his brave deeds to England.

The RAF named their original Vickers VC10 aircraft after Victoria Cross holders. XR808 is named after Kenneth Campbell.
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:06 AM   #115
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Re: Today's Birthday...

April 22, 1944 - Steve Fossett


James Stephen Fossett was an American millionaire businessman who was famed as an aviator, sailor, and adventurer. He held many world records, including five nonstop circumnavigations of the Earth and being the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon.

Fosset was an adventurer from an early age and became an Eagle Scout at age 13. Whilst not a team sports player, he showed great aptitude in endurance events and was a keen climber and swimmer - indeed, he has swum the English Channel, run Alaska's famed Iditarod Dogsled Race, driven the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race and finished the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. After taking a degree in economics he worked in computers before finding his niche in financial markets and amassed a personal fortune renting membership on stock exchanges. A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club, Fossett set 116 records in five different sports, including 93 aviation world records ratified by Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.

He was well known for his world records and adventures in balloons, sailboats, gliders, and powered aircraft. He was an aviator of exceptional breadth of experience. He is best remembered for finally becoming the first person to circumnavigate the globe solo in a balloon on his 6th attempt in 2002. With co-pilot Terry Delore, he set 10 of the 21 Glider Open records. His achievements as a jet pilot in a Cessna Citation X include records for U.S. Transcontinental, Australia Transcontinental, and Round-the-World westbound non-supersonic flights. Prior to Fossett's aviation records, no pilot had held world records in more than one class of aircraft; Fossett held them in four cl*****.

On February 21, 1995, Fossett became the first to make a solo balloon flight across the Pacific Ocean and in August 29, 2006 he set the world altitude record for gliders over El Calafate, Argentina at 50,722 feet (15,460 m).

In 2005, Fossett made the first solo nonstop and unrefueled circumnavigation of the world in 67 hours in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, a single-engine jet aircraft.

In 2006, he again circumnavigated the globe nonstop and unrefueled in 76 hours, 45 minutes in the GlobalFlyer, setting the record for the longest flight by any aircraft in history with a distance of 25,766 statute miles (41,467 km).

In 2002, Fossett received aviation's highest award, the Gold Medal of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and in July 2007, he was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Balloon and Airship Hall of Fame and was named America's Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in 2002. He received the Harmon Trophy, given annually "to the world's outstanding aviator and aeronaut", in 1998 and 2002.

On September 3, 2007, Fossett made world headlines when he was reported missing after the plane he was flying over the Nevada desert failed to return. His disappearance resulted in the largest search & rescue effort in US history and cost the State of Nevada 1.6 million dollars. Despite a month of searches by the Civil Air Patrol and others, Fossett could not be found, and the search by CAP was called off on October 2, 2007. Privately funded and privately directed search efforts continued but, after a request from Fossett's wife, he was declared legally dead on February 15, 2008. On September 29, 2008, a hiker found Fossett's identification cards in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, and the crash site was discovered a few days later. After much speculation over his mysterious disappearance and amid claims that he may have faked his own death, his remains were confirmed by DNA analysis. It is likely that he crashed in windy conditions as he attempted to clear a mountain rise.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:09 PM   #116
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Re: Today's Birthday...

April 23, 1951 - Captain Gonur Gopinath


"Captain Gopi" was the founder of India's first low-cost, no-frills airline, Air Deccan. He is now running for office in Indian national politics.


Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar Gopinath was born into an intellectual family in a remote village of Gorur in Southern Karnataka. Starting his studies in a village school, he completed his schooling and went on to the distinguished National Defence Academy. He graduated from the Indian Military Academy as a commissioned officer in the Indian Army. He then went on to serve the Army for eight years, reaching the rank of Captain (he is not a pilot).

After leaving the military, he went to work his family's land. The original farm was submerged by a new dam and the government had re-settled his family to a barren plot of desert. After several failed crops, he rejected traditional farming measures and began cultivating silkworms using revolutionary new ideas that cut costs and made the exercise very profitable. He won a Rolex International Award for his contributions to sericulture in 1996.

Now quite wealthy, he and his family moved to Bangalore where he found one of his old Army buddies, a helicopter pilot, unemployed. Astonished and recognising the potential for a helicopter charter company, he established Deccan Aviation with just one helicopter. The business grew quickly, and in 2003 Captain Gopi decided to start the first Low Cost, No Frills Airline of India. Launched on 25 August 2003, Air Deccan revolutionized air travel in India. With a vision to connect hitherto unconnected parts of India, Air Deccan made it possible for everyday Indians to be able to afford to fly.

In 2007 Air Deccan merged with Kingfisher and the low cost arm became KingFisher Red.

The French government has bestowed the award of Chevalier de la legion d’Honneur on Gopinath, in recognition of his contribution to the development of Indo-French cooperation in the field of aviation.

Capt. Gopinath is hailed to have revolutionized air travel in India and is enormously popular. He has currently entered Indian national politics.
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Old 04-26-2009, 11:57 AM   #117
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Re: Today's Birthday...

April 24, 1898 - René Leduc



René Leduc (1898–1968) was a French engineer who created the first aircraft to fly under the power of ramjets alone, the Leduc 0.10.

Unlike others of his generation, Leduc came to aviation by accident, when he started working for the Breguet company in 1924. Leduc's participation in the design of the steel-based fuselage of the Breguet 27 prototype pushed the young engineer to focus his energies on the study of metals and their resistance to high heat. At the time, knowledge of jet propulsion was theoretically-based, and several solutions had been proposed to deal with associated problems. Drawing on the theories of Robert Esnault Pelterie and Rene Lorin, Leduc had formulated a design for thermopropulsion, later called ramjet by the 1930's.

Although his research was disturbed by the outbreak of WWII, he eventually was able to begin work on a prototype in 1942. French pioneering in this field was overtaken by the USA by the war's end and suffered many setbacks due to lack of funding.

By 1949, the first prototype, model 010, was ready to fly and was launched from atop a modified Languedoc 161 transport plane. It crashed three years later, following a separation incident with the mother ship. Several more models, each improving on earlier designs, flew, but by 1958, the government cut funding. One model, 016 ended up at the Musee de l'Air in Le Bourget, where it can be seen today identified as an "010" model (missing several parts, it looks more like its predecessor).

By the time Charles de Gaulle came to power, one aircraft builder, Marcel Dassault, had gained the upper hand in the development and supply of new fighters, none of which was a ramjet. (Ramjets only work at high speed and best at about Mach 3 or up - they are better suited to missiles than manned aircraft)

Testing was cancelled in 1958, and René Leduc was forced to give up his work as an aircraft manufacturer. His company persists to this day as a manufacturer of hydraulic components.


April 24, 1893 - Hugh Caswell Tremenheere Dowding


Air Chief Marshal Hugh "Stuffy" Dowding was commander of Fighter Command, RAF during the Battle of Britain.

Dowding was born in Scotland, but moved with his family to England at age 15. He entered the Royal Military Academy and joined the Royal Artillery, in which he served extensively abroad. In 1913 he obtained his pilot's licence and joined the Royal Flying Corps.

He served as commander of 16 Squadron in France in WWI but clashed with his superiors and was sent home after the Battle of the Somme but promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. He became Air Vice Marshall in the newly-created RAF after the war and was heavily involved in training and supply. In 1933 he became Air Marshall and was knighted.

Under his command as Air Chief Marshall in the years leading up to WWII, Dowding introduced the Hurricane and Spitfire into service. He also conceived and oversaw the advance warning system that saved the UK during the Battle of Britain.

This comprised an integrated air defence system which included
(i) radar (whose potential Dowding was among the first to appreciate),
(ii) human observers (including the Royal Observer Corps) who filled crucial gaps in what radar was capable of detecting at the time (the early radar systems, for example, did not provide good information on the altitude of incoming German aircraft),
(iii) raid plotting, and
(iv) radio control of aircraft.

Due to retire in June 1939, he was asked to stay on until March 1940 due to the tense international situation. He was again grudgingly permitted to continue, first until July and finally until October 1940. Thus, he fought the Battle of Britain under the shadow of retirement.

Fighter Command pilots came to recognise "Stuffy" Dowding as a distant figure, but one who cared for his men and had their best interests at heart. Dowding's subsequent downfall after the Battle of Britain has been attributed to his prickly temperament and lack of diplomacy and political savvy. Although his strategy was very successful, he was embroiled in arguments with other senior RAF officers about tactical matters and was removed from his post by Peter Portal in November 1940.

Further decorated, Dowding was sent on special duty in the United States for the Ministry of Aircraft Production, where he made himself unpopular with his outspoken behaviour. He retired from the Royal Air Force in July, 1942 and was honored with a baroncy the following year.

He remained bitter about the circumstances of his removal from Fighter Command and withdrew from society, concentrating on newfound spiritualism. He died at the age of 87 and his ashes are held at the Battle of Britain Memorial Window at Westminster Abbey.
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Old 04-26-2009, 12:34 PM   #118
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Re: Today's Birthday...

April 25, 1961 - Frank De Winne


Frank, Viscount De Winne is a Belgian Air Force officer and an ESA astronaut. He is Belgium's second man in space.


De Winne graduated from the Royal Military Academy with the degree of engineer in 1984. After graduating from the Belgian Air Component flight school at Goetsenhoven, he flew Mirage 5 airplanes for the Air Force until he was attached to SAGEM in Paris to work on the safety of the Mirage. In 1991, De Winne completed the Staff Course at the Defence College in Brussels with the highest distinction. In 1992, De Winne received his degree as test pilot from the Test Pilot School in Boscombe Down, U.K., receiving the McKenna Trophy as well.

From December 1992, Major De Winne operated as a test pilot for the Belgian Air Force and served a year's attachment as senior test pilot at Edwards AFB in California. On February 12, 1997 De Winne encountered motor problems while flying in an F-16 over densely populated area near Leeuwarden. After the onboard computer failed, De Winne was faced with the choice of crashing in the Ijsselmeer or of ejecting over densely populated area. However, De Winne was able to land his crippled plane at a Dutch Air Base, a feat which earned him the Joe Bill Dryden Semper Viper Award, the first non-American ever to get this award.

De Winne commanded the Dutch-Belgian Deployable Air Task Force During the NATO Operation Allied Force in the Balkans. For his achievement during this operation, the Dutch government awarded him the degree of Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau. De Winne has collected over 2.300 flying hours in Mirage, F-16, Tornado and Jaguar. He currently holds the rank of Brigadier General in the Belgian Air Force.

In October 1998, Frank De Winne was selected as an astronaut candidate by ESA. He graduated as an astronaut in 2000 and served aboard Soyuz spacecraft as a flight engineer to the International Space Station in 2002. He is scheduled to become the first astronaut from the ESA to command a mission (Expedition 21) later this year.


April 25, 1868 - John Bevins Moisant


John Moisant (at right) was an American pioneer aviator who built the first all-metal construction plane and was first to fly a passenger across the English Channel.

John Moisant was born in Illonois to French Canadian parents. They moved to El Salvador where the family fortune was created growing sugar cane. Upon a request from the Nicaraguan president to investigate airplanes, Moisant went to an airshow in France, where he took flying lessons from Louis Blériot. He won a number of aviation races and contests. He designed, built and flew the first metal aircraft, an experimental aluminium plane, in 1909.

On August 23, 1910, he flew the first flight with a passenger across the English Channel. His passenger was his mechanic, Albert Fileux, and he also took his cat called Mademoiselle Fifi.

Three of his siblings also became aviators, including his sister, , who was the second American woman to get a pilots licence. With his brother, Alfred Moisant, he formed the Moisant International Aviators, a flying circus which went barnstorming around the United States. At the 1910 Belmont Air Show at Belmont Park, New York, he flew his Blériot monoplane around a balloon 10 miles away and returned to the racetrack in only 39 minutes, winning an $850 prize. At the same show, he competed in the race to fly around the Statue of Liberty which he won by 42.75 seconds, but was later disqualified because officials ruled that he had started late, and the $10,000 prize was awarded to British aviator, Grahame-White.

His short but distinguished career as an aviator came to an end on December 31, 1910 in New Orleans; whilst landing a preparatory flight in his his Blériot monoplane in an attempt to win the Michelin Cup and its $4,000 prize, he was caught in a gust of wind and was thrown from his aircraft, landing on his head. He was not wearing a seat belt and, ironically, the aircraft came down in a cemetery.

The international airport of New Orleans, Louisiana was originally named Moisant Field in his honor, though it has since been renamed Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The airport retains its "MSY" identifier, derived from the airport's origins as "Moisant Stock Yards" the name given to the land where Moisant's fatal airplane crash occurred, and upon which the airport was later built.
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