William Piperairplane manufacturer
Birthplace: Knapps Creek, N.Y.
Called “the Henry Ford of aviation,” Piper mass produced affordable aircraft and is credited with popularizing airplanes as a method of transportation and as a hobby. Though he did not learn to fly until 1931, he formed the Piper Aircraft Corporation in 1929 and supplied aircraft for the war effort. Popular for their maneuverability, his Piper Cub planes were used in photoreconnaissance and in training new pilots. He had worked in construction and in his family's oil business before finding his calling in aircrafts; he remained president of his company until his death.Died: 1/15/1970