There have been many famous aviators throughout history. These are a few fine examples of those who have made their marks as pilots.

1) The Wright Brothers

Famous for inventing and piloting the world’s first fixed-wing aircraft and making the first flight, the brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright, made their first powered flight in 1903. Though their primary passion was as inventors rather than as aviators.

Orville and Wilbur Wright Flying Machine

Orville and Wilbur Wright Flying Machine

2) Bessie Coleman

Breaking gender and racial barriers, Bessie Coleman was the first female pilot of African American heritage. She was the first person, male or female, of African American and Native American Ancestry to hold an International pilot’s license. She was known for her thrilling stunts and flamboyant flying style.

3) Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart’s claim to fame was as the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Her attempt at being the first female pilot to fly around the world was the last that was ever heard of Amelia Earhart. While many theories remain, there has been no evidence found to determine her fate.

Amelia Earhart: first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean.

Amelia Earhart: first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean.

4) Charles Lindbergh

The son of a congressman, Charles Lindbergh enlisted in the US Army in 1924 for training as an Army Air Service Reserve Pilot. Upon completion of his military training he was employed by the Robertson Aircraft Corporation to fly mail from St. Louis to Chicago. His first claim to fame was as the pilot who flew the Spirit of St. Louis from New York to Paris.

5) Howard Hughes

Among the many hats Howard Hughes wore in his life, among those hats were ones belonging to an aviator and aerospace engineer. He set many records as a pilot including the record for completing a flight around the world in 91 hours.

6) Chuck Yeager

Chuck Yeager set many records as a test pilot before becoming the first to break the sound barrier. Who serves as a P-51 fighter pilot during World War II and later commanded squadrons both in Germany and Southeast Asia. He retired from the US Air Force with the rank of Brigadier General.

7) Neil Armstrong

Of course the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, should make any list of aviators. He was a test pilot and naval aviator, among other things, before becoming an astronaut.

Neil Armstrong: First man to walk on the moon.

Neil Armstrong: First man to walk on the moon.

8) Steve Fossett

Steve Fossett was an avid aviator and the first to fly solo around the world in a balloon. Fossett was also an accomplished sailor and broke several speed records for flights in fixed-wing aircraft.

9) Richard Branson

Richard Branson is perhaps more famous as the founder of Virgin Group, a conglomerate consisting of more than 400 companies. But he is also an avid pilot of balloons and jets. He considers himself as somewhat of a daredevil and has made international headlines for his interest in space and the creation of the world’s first commercial “spaceliner” with the stated goal of “democratizing access to space.”

10) Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III

Perhaps one of the most famous commercial aviators in history, Sully Sullenberger became a household name in the U.S. after going to extraordinary efforts to save lives by making a water landing in the Hudson River after the aircraft he was piloting became disabled due to a goose strike after taking off. His actions saved all passengers and crew aboard the flight.