Press Release

All-Time Top 100 Stars of Aerospace and Aviation Announced

By SpaceRef Editor
June 18, 2003
Filed under ,

Wright Brothers, Werhner von Braun Earn Top Ranking as Most Important and
Influential Ever in Aviation Weekís “Top 100 Stars of Aerospace” Poll

NEW YORK, NY – In the year commemorating the 100th anniversary of The Wright
Brothers historic flight, Wilbur and Orville Wright, followed by Wernher von
Braun, Robert Goddard, Leonardo da Vinci, Glenn Curtiss, Charles A.
Lindbergh, William L. “Billy” Mitchell, Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson, Neil A.
Armstrong, Daniel Bernoulli were voted the top 10 luminaries in aviation and
aerospace history in a poll of industry professionals unveiled today.

Aviation Weekís Aviation Week’s “Top 100 Stars of Aerospace” poll, a
first-ever initiative to identify the most important, most interesting and
most influential people in the global aerospace community — past and
present – was revealed today at a gala event of industry professionals in

As voted by their peers, the most important aviation and aerospace
personalities of all-time are as follows:

  1. Wilbur and Orville Wright
  2. Wernher von Braun
  3. Robert Goddard
  4. Leonardo da Vinci
  5. Glenn Curtiss
  6. Charles A. Lindbergh
  7. William L. “Billy” Mitchell
  8. Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson
  9. Neil A. Armstrong
  10. Daniel Bernoulli
  11. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager
  12. Otto Lilienthal
  13. Buzz Aldrin
  14. William Boeing
  15. Alan B. Shepard, Jr.
  16. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold
  17. Manfred von Richthofen
  18. Samuel P. Langley
  19. Igor I. Sikorsky
  20. Jules Verne
  21. John K. Northrop
  22. Herb Kelleher
  23. Edward V. “Eddie” Rickenbacker
  24. Jacques-Etienne and Joseph-Michel Montgolfier
  25. tie Christopher Kraft / Antoine de Saint-ExupÈry
  26. Curtis LeMay
  27. Ernst Mach
  28. Juan Trippe
  29. Elbert “Burt” Rutan
  30. Theodore von Karman
  31. Alberto Santos-Dumont
  32. James Van Allen
  33. Alexander Graham Bell
  34. Ben Rich
  35. Alvin M. “Tex” Johnston
  36. Richard Branson
  37. Yuri Gagarin
  38. Octave Chanute
  39. James “Jimmy” H. Doolittle
  40. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel
  41. Robert “Bob” Crandall
  42. Space Shuttle Challenger Crew
  43. Louis Bleriot
  44. Donald Douglas
  45. Claire L. Chenault
  46. Will Rogers
  47. James A. Lovell, Jr.
  48. Robert “Bob” Hoover
  49. tie Thomas H. Kelly / ClÈment Ader
  50. Hugh Dryden
  51. Pierre-Georges LatÈcoËre
  52. tie Marcel Bloch (Dassault) / Roger BÈteille
  53. Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom
  54. Ferdinand von Zeppelin
  55. Jacqueline Auriol
  56. Arthur C. Clarke
  57. Isoroku Yamamoto
  58. Daniel and Harry Guggenheim
  59. Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  60. Robert J. Collier
  61. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington
  62. Elmer Sperry
  63. James “Jimmy” Stewart
  64. Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan
  65. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
  66. tie Patricia “Patty” Wagstaff / Frank Whittle
  67. tie Carl Sagan / Sergey Korolyov
  68. Albert Boyd
  69. RenÈ Leduc
  70. John W. Young
  71. Gene Roddenberry
  72. Valentina Tereshkova
  73. Thomas E. Braniff
  74. Walter C. “Walt” Williams
  75. Jean Mermoz
  76. Henri and Maurice Farman
  77. Paul Poberezny
  78. Jean Bertin
  79. Sally K. Ride
  80. Roland Garros
  81. Osborne Reynolds
  82. Amelia Earhart
  83. Georges Guynemer
  84. H.G. Wells
  85. Jean-Pierre HaignerÈ
  86. tie James S. McDonnell, Jr. / Robert Esnault-Pelterie
  87. tie Allan and Malcom Loughhead (Lockheed) / Marcel Bouilloux-Lafont
  88. Richard Bong
  89. John H. Glenn, Jr.
  90. tie James E. Webb / Freddie Laker
  91. Lawrence Sperry
  92. Douglas Bader
  93. Howard Hughes
  94. Willy Messerschmitt
  95. Louis Breguet
  96. William A. Moffett
  97. William “Bull” Halsey
  98. George Mueller
  99. Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe
  100. Boris Petrov

“These men and women are the dreamers and doers who have changed the way we
live. Every aspect of modern life is affected because of their
accomplishments, inspiration and vision of flight,” said Aviation Week Group
Executive Vice President/Publisher Kenneth E. Gazzola. “The list is truly
global – 20 from France alone – which demonstrates that the desire to go
higher and faster is shared by people all over the earth.”

Additional information, including biographical sketches and the top three
finishers in 15 different categories, is available at

The Top 100 program, part of Aviation Week’s The Next Century of Flight
(NCF) education and outreach initiative, is produced in partnership with the
International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences (ICAS) and its U.S.
affiliate, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

The voting website, designed and hosted by IBM, featured more than 760
candidates in 15 categories. To ensure the credibility and professional
caliber of the Top 100 results, the ballot was only open to ICAS and AIAA
affiliates and members, Aviation Week group subscribers and Next Century of
Flight program partners.

About Aviation Week
With nearly 50 products and services and a core audience of some one million
professionals and enthusiasts, Aviation Week, a division of The McGraw-Hill
Companies, is the world’s premier multimedia information and service
provider to the aviation and aerospace market. The Next Century of Flight
leverages all of the assets of the Aviation Week group to promote aviation
education and aerospace careers around the world. The program is currently
supported by these partners:

  • Air Transport Association of America and participating ATA member airlines: Alaska Airlines, America West Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Midwest Express Airlines
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Evolution of Flight
  • Be A Pilot
  • Bombardier Aerospace
  • Centurion Press, Ltd.
  • Civil Air Patrol
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • GIFAS, the French Aerospace Industries Association
  • McGraw-Hill Education
  • National Business Aviation Association’s AvKids program
  • Parker Hannifin
  • Society of British Aerospace Companies
  • U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission – Women in Aviation International
  • Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
  • Plus the ongoing collaboration of NASA

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a global information services
provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and
business information markets through leading brands such as Standard &
Poor’s, BusinessWeek and McGraw-Hill Education. The Corporation has more
than 320 offices in 34 countries. Sales in 2002 were $4.8 billion.
Additional information is available at

About IBM

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is one of the largest providers worldwide in the field of
information technology (hardware, software and services). The company
employs approximately 310,000 people worldwide and is active in more than
160 countries. IBM and its partners provide their clients with a complete
range of products in advanced information technology: from hardware and
software through services and complex application solutions through to
outsourcing projects and training facilities. Further information can be
obtained about IBM on

SpaceRef staff editor.