Capsule Biographies

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Born 1919. Died April 16, 1978.

Frank Gifford Tallman III
Notable film work in "The Carperbaggers," "Lafayette Escadrille," "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," and many other big-screen and television features. Died when his Piper Apache was inadvertently directed into a mountain during IFR conditions by controllers.


Born at Bentonville AR, November 12, 1905. Died November 9, 1979.

Louise McPhetridge Thaden set a number of speed and endurance records in the early years of aviation. Switching careers from journalism to physical education, she went with the Travel Air Corporation in 1927 as a salesperson. She received her pilot license in May 1928, and on Dec 7 of that year, set a new altitude record of 20,260' in a Hisso-powered Travel Air 3000. Three months later she set a new US women's endurance record, remaining aloft in the same Travel Air for 22h:03m.

In 1929 she earned the coveted transport pilot license #1943, the fourth woman to do so. That year she won the National Women's Air Derby in a Travel Air B-4000 [R571H], then set a refueling duration record (with Frances Marsalis) of 196 hours, a lightplane speed record, and a new east-west speed record. 1929 was also memorable for her as the year of her marriage to pilot and aero engineer Herbert Von Thaden. The Thadens moved to Philadelphia, where his Thaden T-4 all-metal prototype was purchased by the Pittsburgh Metal Airplane Corp, in which she worked as P/R Director. She also flew the Thaden plane [C502V] in the 1931 NAR Cross-Country Derby, placing fifth. (GMC acquired that company later that year, merged it with Fokker, and moved operations to New Jersey.)

Throughout the '30s she continued to set new altitude, endurance, and speed records. Another endurance flight followed and another record fell, that one on Aug 14, 1932—8d:4h:5m in a Curtiss Thrush (with Frances Marsalis) [NR9142]. She and three other women flyers toured the nation in 1935 for the Bureau of Commerce, advocating air-marking of towns as cross-country piloting aids, and obtained approval from every state to the amount of 16,000 markers at a cost of more than $1 million. In 1936 she became the first woman to win the National Air Races' Bendix Trophy (with Blanche Noyes), flying a Beech C17R [NR15835]—time: 14h:55m from NYC's Floyd Bennett Field to Los Angeles' Mines Field—for which she received aviation's highest honor, the Harmon Trophy. After that, the Beech factory hired her as a demonstrator pilot.

Thaden was co-founder with Amelia Earhart of the Ninety-Nines organization of women pilots in 1931, serving as an officer for six years, and later was closely associated with the Civil Air Patrol and Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service (1959-61). She retired from full-time competition in 1938 to spend more time with her family. Bentonville's airport is named after Louise Thaden in 1951 and the National (Beechcraft) Staggerwing Museum was named after her in 1974. (— Peter Bergen)

  -- High, Wide, and Frightened; autobiography (? 1938)

Enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame 1999.


Born near Stockton CA, June 20, 1912.

John Willard Thorp



Otto William Timm.



Thomas Towle was a mechanical engineer and the primary designer of the Ford Tri-Motor. Graduating from Yale University in 1920, Towle worked as an engineer for a number of aircraft companies, including Dayton- Wright (1921-22), Martin (1922-23), Aeromarine (1923-24), and Stout (1924-25), before joining Ford Motor Co's Airplane Division in 1925. There Towle designed a three-motored aircraft to replace the Stout Air Pullman, the rights to which Ford purchased when it acquired Stout in 1925. He left Ford in 1927 to form his own company, Towle Marine Aircraft (1927), and later Towle Aircraft Co (1928-32). He briefly worked for Monocoupe (1933) and Lambert Aircraft (1933-35) before leaving the aircraft industry.



Juan Terry Trippe was best known as co-founder of Pan American Airways and its guiding influence for more than 50 years. Entered Yale in 1917, where he founded the Yale Flying Club, left to join the USN during WW1, then returned to complete his studies. Trippe and former members of the Yale Flying Club purchased seven surplus naval aircraft and formed Long Island Airways (1923). In 1924 he formed Colonial Air Transport, which served the New York-to- Boston route on the first US Air Mail contract.

He left Colonial in 1926 and joined with Cornelius Whitney and John Hambleton to form a new service that won the first international air mail contract (1927), between Florida and Cuba. In 1927 this company merged with PAA, a company formed by Richard Bevier and Grant Mason to compete for the Florida-Cuba airmail contract. Trippe served as Chairman and CEO of the operating company of PAA Corp for 41 years (1927-68). Following WW2 Trippe advocated low-cost air travel, introduced low-fare service on PAA's North Atlantic routes and the two-class seating arrangement later adopted by all major operators. In 1949 the holding and operating companies of PAA Corp merged as Pan American World Airways. Despite attempts to depose him, Trippe remained in control of PAWA until he resigned in 1968. He remained honorary chairman and an active member of the board until 1975, and continued to work a full schedule until suffering a stroke in 1980, passing away a year later.

Enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame 1970.


Born at Greenup IL, January 7, 1906.

When Evelyn "Bobbi" Trout saw her first airplane fly overhead, it was love at first sight. She was 12 years old, and said, "Some day I'll be up there." Her first ride in a plane came on Dec 27, 1922, in a Curtiss Jenny at Rogers Field in Los Angeles. On New Year's Day 1928 Bobbi began her training at Burdett Fuller's School of Aviation in Los Angeles, and four months later earned pilot license #2613, then went on to become the fifth woman in the US to receive a transport license.

Trout then went after the women's endurance records. After setting the first endurance record on Jan 2, 1929, lasting for 12h:11m, she bested Viola Gentry's eight-hour flight, but her record would not last for long. Only 29 days later, Elinor Smith beat her record by an hour. From then on it was back-and-forth for the two. On Feb 10, Trout extended the record by almost four hours to 17h:24m. It was also the first all-night flight by a woman. However, Smith came back to reset the record to almost 26 hours.

They continued battling one another through the summer until someone suggested that they team up on an endurance flight with mid-air refueling, so Smith and Trout joined forces in November in an attempt to beat the endurance record set by two men in July of that year. It would be a grueling flight that began with three aborted takeoffs, the first because of a heavy radio unbalancing the plane, the second because wire rigging began to fail. On a third try they were up 18 hours when, during a try at refueling, Trout was soaked and swallowed some gasoline, requiring her to be hospitalized briefly. On the final attempt, Nov 27, 1929, they succeeded in refueling several times and set a new endurance record of 42h:3m:30s.

In a second endeavor, with Edna May, Trout set a new refueled endurance record starting on Jan 4, 1931. Despite rough weather conditions, the two were airborne for 122h:50m while covering 7,370 miles at an average 60 mph.

Trout remained active in aviation even after her piloting days ended. With "Pancho" Barnes she formed the Women's Air Reserve to aid in disasters where the only access to the people in need of medical attention was by plane. Because of her achievements, she received several awards, a notable one being the OX-5 Pioneer Woman of the Year Award in 1976, and was invested into the Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame in 1984. Honored at the 1999 Van Nuys (CA) Air Show for her 70 years of contributions to aviation.


Born at Corinth MS, September 1895. Died June 23, 1970.

Applied for Air Service in World War I, but was rejected because of his lack of a college education, so enlisted as an ambulance driver in May 1917. Then in October he applied for transfer to the Air Service and was that time accepted for flight training in balloons and aircraft, being honorably discharged in 1919 as a 1st Lieutenant.

He bought a surplus Standard H-1 and joined the cadre of post-war barnstormers, developing his image of sartorial splendor by designing the special uniform that would become his trademark costume. His flashing smile and easy personality, the eye-catching uniforms, his penchant for self publicity, his sleek aircraft and major sponsors all went toward the creation of a popular image. However, in the Turner's case, it was not all smoke and mirrors—he lived up to the image.

After a few years of movie flying and airline operations—while with Nevada Airlines in 1929 he also became a Colonel in the Nevada National Guard... hence his adopted title#151;Turner began making a mark in the world of air racing that was never equaled by any other flyer in that colorful early era.

Among his many accomplishments were numerous transcontinental records, both west-east and east-west, and local dashes. In 1933 he won the Shell Speed Races and the famous Bendix Trophy. He was also first to cross the finish line in the Closed-Course Thompson Trophy Race, but was technically disqualified for a pylon infraction. In 1934 he won the Thompson, was second in the Shell Race, and finished second in the Speed Division of the MacRobertson International Air Race from London to Melbourne. In 1935 he came in only 23.5 seconds behind the winner in the Bendix Race, and led the Thompson until the last half lap when his engine overheated.

In 1938 he placed second in the Golden Gate Trophy Race, and won the Thompson Trophy for the second time. At the close of the 1939 National Air Races, at which he had won the Thompson Trophy for a third time, he announced his retirement from active competition to found a flying school at Indianapolis IN. During WW2 he was responsible for training 3,300 military pilots.

As America's premier speed flyer, Turner was multiple winner of the Harmon and Henderson Trophies, and received a special Distinguished Flying Cross from Congress in 1952 for his contributions to aviation. The Corinth municipal airport was renamed in his honor in 1961. Beyond his valuable contributions to the sport or racing and advancement of aviation technology, Colonel Roscoe Turner was a legendary personification of a golden era in aviation history.

Enshrined in National Aviation Hall of Fame 1975.

  -- Roscoe Turner: Aviation's Master Showman; Carroll V Glines (Smithsonian 1995)
  -- Win Your Wings (Vol 1 & 2); Col Roscoe Turner & Jean H Dubuque (Drake 1940)