Edson Fessenden Gallaudet

Edson Fessenden Gallaudet

Edson Fessenden Gallaudet  (1871-1945), Aviation Pioneer/Aircraft Manufacturer

In 1898, four years before the Wright Brothers, he constructed and flew a glider, now in the Smithsonian, which embodied the principle of the warping wing.  In 1911 he learned to fly at the Wright school, earning US pilot’s license #32 and a similarly low number in France.  In addition to designing seaplanes for the Navy,  Gallaudet Aircraft produced D-2s for the Army Air Service, assembled Curtiss flying boats and refurbished a number of DH-4s after the war. Before its demise in 1924, Gallaudet had developed designs of almost every conceivable type; seaplanes, landplanes, biplanes, monoplanes, triplanes, fighters, bombers, reconnaissance, airliners and mail planes. Gallaudet Aircraft’s factory in East Greenwich was the first purpose-built aircraft factory in America; the company was merged into Consolidated Aircraft in 1923, and is considered the earliest aviation predecessor to General Dynamics.

Gallaudet’s grandson lives in Colorado, and said that before his death in 1945 Edson was working on plans for a jet that would go 1500mph.

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