Let’s Take It To The Skies With These Ten Iconic American Aviators!

Published on June 24, 2024

Credit: Lacie Slezak

To be able to fly has always been a shared dream of all of mankind. The very first humans must have longingly stared at the great blue sky with only one wish in their mind: to freely soar like a bird. And while a few daydreamers (ourselves included) still wait for the day we can sprout wings and fly on our own, the truth is that anyone alive in this day and age is now able to traverse the skies thanks to one of the most essential inventions of the 20th century: the airplane.

A really long time has passed from the Wright brothers’ first flight to the modern and comfortable airplanes we take today. Aviation history is filled with the tales of brave and unparalleled pilots who dared to reach new, previously unknown heights. So, we have decided to celebrate the accomplishments of 10 iconic American pilots with this article.


Amelia Earhart

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We’ll begin with someone who is probably America’s most iconic pilot. Born and raised in the city of Atchison, Kansas, Amelia Earhart always had the adventurous spirit that would make her the first female pilot to cross the Atlantic. Alongside her sister Pidge, Amelia would often go around exploring her neighborhood, embarking on outdoor adventures that included climbing trees, riding sleds downhill, and collecting bugs.

Amelia found her love for flying in her 20s, during an exhibition flight held in the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. According to biographers, a pilot dived at Earhart in an attempt to scare her, but Amelia held her ground, amazed by the power of that little red airplane. It is no wonder that Amelia would later nickname her iconic red plane her "Little Red Bus."


Charles Lindbergh & Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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Charles Lindbergh and his "Spirit of St. Louis" need no introduction: Lindberg’s nonstop flight from New York to Paris in 1927 marked a decisive turning point in the history of aviation. However, many of Lindberg’s accomplishments could have never been realized without the help of his wife and co-pilot Anne.

In 1929, the same year the couple married, Anne followed her husband’s steps and made her first solo flight. A year later, she became the first American woman to be granted a first-class glider pilot's license. Throughout the 30s, the Lindberghs explored and charted air routes, and became the first to fly from Africa to South America.


Chuck Yeager

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The early history of aviation truly moved in huge leaps: Only 63 years separate the Wright brothers' first flight to Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon. In between these two milestones, one conducted by American pilot Chuck Yeager in 1947 stands out: it was the very first time an airplane was able to break the sound barrier.

The tale of how Yeager was able to accomplish this feat is one filled with difficulties. A 24-year-old pilot at the time, he was selected to test the high-speed capabilities of a new experimental plane. While this alone was a very dangerous task, Yeager broke two ribs a few nights before the accident but failed to report it out of fear of being kicked out of the experiment. On the day of the test, Yeager was in so much pain that he had to close the plane’s hatch with a broom handle. Nevertheless, the test was a resounding success, and Chuck Yeager became the first pilot to break the sound barrier on October 14, 1947.


Bessie Coleman

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Known for her daring and dangerous air shows, Bessie Coleman earned many nicknames throughout her short life, like "Brave Bessie" and "Queen Bess". What’s more, Bessie is remembered to this date not only as a trailblazing pilot but also as a great source of inspiration to the African-American and Native American communities. At age 29, Coleman became the very first African-American and Native American woman to hold a pilot’s license.

Coleman learned to fly in Paris, where she took her pilot exam from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. In 1921, she flew back to the United States on her own plane and became a media sensation overnight. Coleman sadly passed away from a plane malfunction during an airshow, at the age of 34. Nevertheless, her name and daredevil spirit are forever inscribed in the pages of aviation history.


Edward O'Hare

Credit: Gary Wann

In 1942, naval aviator Edward O'Hare became the first American WW2 Naval ace pilot , after he single-handedly attacked a squadron of nine enemy bombers. Despite having limited ammunition, O’Hare was able to take down five enemy airplanes, earning him the Medal of Honor.

After this feat, O’Hare briefly served as a flight instructor before returning to combat in 1943. During an engagement with enemy planes, his airplane was shot down and was never found. In 1949, the city of Chicago decided to rename its airport to the "Chicago O'Hare International Airport" , a name it still has to this very day.


Howard Hughes

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Besides being a business magnate, an aerospace engineer, a philanthropist, and a film producer, Howard Hughes was also an outstanding pilot . He set many world records during his lifetime, particularly air speed records, and won both the prestigious Harmon and Collier Trophies for his aviation exploits.

One of Hughes’ most remembered contributions to aviation history is his H-4 Hercules plane, also known as the "Spruce Goose." The Hercules is to this day the largest flying aircraft ever built , although it only made a single test flight in 1947.


Harriet Quimby

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Just like Howard Hughes, American pilot Harriet Quimby was also known for her contributions to journalism and screenwriting. However, in 1911 Quimby achieved an incredible milestone for both aviation and gender equality: At the age of 36 years, she became the first American woman to receive her pilot’s license.

In 1900, the Quimby family moved to San Francisco, where Harriet began writing for several newspapers like the "San Francisco Chronicle." While attending an air show in Elmont, New York in 1910, she became interested in aviation, and a year later, she was granted a pilot’s license. One year after that, in 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to successfully fly across the English Channel.


Susan Oliver

Credit: Rafael Garcin

American actress Susan Oliver has a long list of film and television roles spanning a career of thirty years: Most notably, she appears in the pilot episode of the quintessential science-fiction show, "Star Trek". However, Oliver’s other great love was flying . Her most prominent feat in this area was an odyssey that took her to Canada, Greenland, Iceland, and Denmark, becoming the fourth woman to fly a single-engined aircraft solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Perhaps most importantly, Oliver’s aviation career is a story of overcoming fears: In 1959, she experienced a near-fatal accident that caused her to avoid flying, even if it meant losing job offers. However, thanks to the persistent encouragement of a friend, she became interested in personal airplanes and gained her private pilot certificate in 1966.


Steve Fossett

Credit: Aaron Burden

Let’s step away from airplanes for just one entry, and focus on another impressive yet slightly different record-breaking aviator. In 2002, American pilot and businessman Steve Fossett made the first non-stop solo flight around the world, in any kind of aircraft. What’s even more remarkable is the type of vehicle Fossett chose for this endeavor: a 10-story high hot air balloon called "Spirit of Freedom."

Fossett’s adventure saw him leave Northam, Australia on June 19, 2002, and return 13 days later to Queensland. The flight was not without perils: The only component that survived the landing was the balloon’s capsule, currently displayed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.


The Wright brothers

Credit: History in HD

We’ll end this article at the very beginning of the history of aviation. In 1903, the town of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina became the landscape of an event that would change the world forever : brothers Wilbur and Orville made the very first controlled and engine-fueled flight on a heavier-than-air aircraft.

What’s curious about this milestone in aviation history is how short it was. After winning the right for the first flight in a coin toss, Orville took the "Wright Flyer" to the air for a 12-second maiden voyage, reaching a height of 120 feet at a speed of only 6.8 miles per hour. Regardless, the brothers (and soon, the whole world) knew how much of a titanic achievement this short flight was, and luckily recorded it on an iconic photograph now featured on the North Carolina state quarter.


You Should Be Listening To These Podcasts

Published on June 24, 2024

Credit: Mohammad Metri

Ever since podcasts were created, their popularity has grown non-stop and the reasons are plenty. For starters, podcasts allow you to learn new stuff while you do something else. Podcasts keep you entertained as you get something else done .

Moreover, podcast productions today range from history to science, from literature to gossip. Even psychology is a whole different category within podcasts. And these can be quite helpful if we are trying to get some useful advice on how to lead a better and more balanced life . So, here are ten podcasts you should be listening to if that is your case!


The Doctor’s Farmacy

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Hosted by M.D. Mark Hyman, this podcast is within the category of health, but it goes far and beyond that. In this podcast, Hyman leads listeners on an exploration of the profound link between food and health . Maybe you are thinking: "Oh, not another dieting podcast," but this is not the case.

Hayman’s approach is rooted in functional medicine, a discipline that addresses the root causes rather than just providing treatment for different illnesses. He has a holistic perspective that focuses on human and environmental well-being as he understands that true health encompasses more than just what we put on our plates, it is all about nurturing our bodies and minds within the natural world .

You can listen to new episodes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning.


Ten Percent Happier

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Hosted by Dan Harris, this podcast offers a unique and refreshing take on mindfulness and meditation . After having a panic attack on live national television, Harris gave meditation a chance despite his skepticism. This podcast is a testimony of his journey and how his initial stand on meditation turned into a powerful transformation.

"Ten Percent Happier" is different from other podcasts due to its pragmatic approach . Interviews with researchers, teachers, neuroscientists, and leaders are the means to show how practical tools and techniques can make your life easier.

Harris doesn’t shy away from addressing the challenges and misconceptions surrounding meditation , nor does he claim to have all the answers. Instead, he invites listeners to join him on a journey of exploration and self-discovery. Listen to new chapters every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning!


Feel Better, Live More

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"Health has become overcomplicated, I aim to simplify it," states its host, Rangan Chatterjee. Today, considering how fast the world moves, the quest for well-being can seem like an elusive pursuit. This podcast works as a refreshing antidote to the chaos, providing practical advice and actionable strategies for navigating life’s challenges with grace and resilience.

Chatterjee acknowledges the deep connection between mind, body, and soul and he takes a holistic approach with a keen focus on addressing the root causes of health. Listen to inspiring stories from health leaders and personalities that aim to debunk common myths surrounding well-being.

Nutrition, lifestyle, and more, this podcast will help you incorporate small (and not so small) habits into your daily routine to make mindful choices to lead a better-balanced life.


The Minimalists

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This name may ring a bell to you and that is because The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn, T.K. Coleman, and Ryan Nicodemus are Netflix stars and New York Times bestselling authors.

The Minimalists aim to show people how simplicity and purpose can be a transformative experience.

Through this podcast, the group explores the profound intersection of minimalism and intentional living , offering a roadmap to a life filled with greater joy, meaning, and fulfillment. Even if a part of it tries to convince listeners to declutter their physical spaces, its final goal is much deeper than that: it tries to show us how the minimalism principles can be also applied to other areas of our lives .

Whether they are discussing the liberating power of letting go of material belongings or the importance of cultivating meaningful connections, their message resonates deeply with listeners seeking a more meaningful way of living.


Best Laid Plans

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In her podcast, Sarah Hart-Unger shares insights, tips, and personal experiences related to planning, productivity, and intentional living . She discusses various aspects of planning, including time management, organization, goal-setting, and self-care. Sarah’s approach is practical and relatable, she draws on her own experiences as a busy working mother, physician, and podcaster now.

One of the strongest points of the podcast is Sarah’s ability to blend productivity strategies with self-reflection and mindfulness. Through candid conversations and solo episodes, she encourages listeners to get things done , but also to cultivate a sense of intentionality and purpose in their daily lives. This podcast covers a wide range of topics of modern busy life, listen to a new chapter every week!


Radio 1’s Life Hack

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This podcast is produced by BBC Radio 1, and hosted by VickHope and Katie Thistleton. In it, they cover a wide range of topics and offer advice on various aspects of life including mental health , relationships, career development, and personal finance.

Vicky and Kate provide a friendly approach to discussing these topics, often sharing their own experiences and inviting guests to offer their expertise and insight . Delving into how personal growth intersects with broader societal issues, the podcast aims to provide practical advice and support to help listeners navigate daily life more smoothly and efficiently .

Even if its target audience skews towards young adults, its insights are universal and resonate across age demographics.

Mind you, this podcast ended in the fall of 2020, but it came back with a few post-pandemic mini-series with some useful tips to make your life more eco-friendly.


Ask a Clean Person

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If you are handling your personal organization just fine, if you are an expert at handling anxiety and meditation is already a habit for you, but you struggle with cleaning, then this podcast is for you.

In it, Kerr offers practical advice, tips, and tricks for cleaning and maintaining a tidy living space . Listeners can submit their cleaning-related questions to Jolie who answers them with expertise and humor. Whether it is tackling tough stains, organizing cluttered spaces, or finding the right cleaning solution, Jolie provides helpful guidance to help listeners achieve a clean and organized home .

This podcast doesn’t air new episodes anymore, but the more than a hundred already posted are enough to get you going!


Do It Scared

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In a world where fear often holds us back from pursuing our dreams and reaching our full potential, this podcast serves as a beacon of hope and encouragement . Hosted by Ruth Soukup, Do It Scared offers an empowering and transformative journey for listeners seeking to overcome fear and live a life of purpose and fulfillment . With a warm and relatable approach, Ruth dives deep into the heart of fear, exploring its roots, its impact on our lives, and most importantly, how to conquer it.

Whether it is starting a new business, pursuing a passion project, or making a major life change, Soukup guides listeners to overcome adversity, sharing valuable insight and strategies for building confidence . Learn how to harness the power of fear and turn it into fuel for pursuing your dreams.


Habit Based Lifestyle

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This podcast hosted by Jesse Ewell covers a wide range of topics like nutrition, fitness, marriage, relationships, kids, business, and spirituality. Before creating this podcast, Jesse Ewell had a more than twenty-year career as a personal trainer and gym owner but decided to take a turn and go after a new life.

This new life includes inspiring people to learn about how a habit is formed and how we can all benefit from strong foundations when it comes to big changes and decisions. He understands that long-term choices require commitment and certain strategies to keep a sustainable approach.

Jesse maintains engaging discussions and expert interviews to break down complex concepts into easy-to-understand principles.


Huberman Lab

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This isn’t an average neuroscience podcast, it’s a deep dive into the inner workings of the human brain, led by neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman. With a focus on understanding how our brain influences everything from perception to behavior and health , this podcast offers a fascinating journey into the complexities of the nervous system.

In his podcast, Huberman translates complex scientific concepts into digestible insights for listeners. He discusses the influence of vision and breathing on human behavior and explores some tools for optimizing neural plasticity .

An interdisciplinary approach is the key, neuroscience, psychology, and physiology together blend into a holistic approach to understand how the brain interacts with the body and the environment.

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