Edward Rickenbacker, also known as Eddie, is one of the most successful US flight captains from WW1.
Eddie was born on October 8, 1890 in Columbus, Ohio. He was one of eight children in the household. Eddie lost his dad at age fourteen. He reportedly died on a construction site. Immediately after his dad's death, Eddie dropped out of school and went to work to support his family.
Eddie grew up around all sorts of automobiles. Historians believe that this is what led up to his history-making future.
"Aviation is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible."
Eddie volunteered for war at age 26, too old to enter flight training. Even though he was making 40,000 dollars a year, he still insisted that he participate in the war. He convinced the flight captain that he was 24 and successfully got into flight school. He was an out cast, he was much more mature then the other students.
After only 17 days in flightschool, he graduated. He succeeded in flying. His technique was to approach carefully and he always dared to get closer than the other pilots.
He had a very successful career in flying. He was named Captain of the 94 on October 1. He ended his career with 26 official victories against the German aircraft. Through out all of the successes he always stayed humble. All of his piers and coworkers said they'd never seen someone so humble with the amount of success he had.
He faced many challenges during his flying career. On July 10 he was diagnosed with some severe abscesses. On September 14 he finally got back into flying. He downed a Fokker D. VII.
He ended his career with the Medal of Honor, 300 combat hours, and 134 survived aerial encounters.
Eventually he left the flying career, stopping his active flying duty. He got promoted to major due to his lack of duty.
After leaving the 94 he went into the automobile business. He served as the Indianapolis Motor Speedways president until after WWII. Not only was he successful, he made more money than before the war.
Indianapolis Motor Speedways
On February 26, 1941 Eddie was aboard a PC-3 headed towards Atlanta. The plane crashed into a row of trees. Both pilots and 11 passengers lost their lives to this crash. Eddie survived but was in critical condition for many months. It took him over a year to reconvene officially. From then on he walked with a limp.
Eddie was always one to stick with the past. He always used his lessons from his past. Eventually Eddie opened up his own heros newspapaed. He called it the "Great Silver Fleet News." It included personal flying advice, working adivice and personal life advice. His newspaper mirrored many papers from the past.
Eddie passed away on July 27th of 1973 in Zūrich, Switzerland. Eddie sure did die with a great life lived.