Alexander defeats the Persians, Destruction of PompeiiThe Crusades, The Black Death...Salem Witch TrialsWriting the Declaration of Independence, Battle of Lexington...Escape from slavery, Death of President Garfield..Battle of Gettysburg, Death of Lincoln...Custer's Last Stand, The Death of Billy the Kid...San Francisco Earthquake, Sinking of the Titanic...
Death of an air ace, Gas attack...Attack at Pearl Harbor, D-Day...Freeze Frame of HistoryPhotographic Gateways to HistorySounds from the pastFilm Clips from the PastList of ContentsReturn to Home Page


Flying Ace , 1918


Eddie Rickenbacker mans the controls of his French-built Spad airplane in 1918. Rickenbacker was America’s highest scoring air ace in World War I with a total of 26 enemy planes and observation balloons shot down.

The Spad first flew in April 1917. It had a top speed of 138 mph and boasted two forward-firing machine guns. The plane was used by most Allied air forces and by all the French aces. The U.S. produced no combat aircraft of its own and relied on French and British models.

Rickenbacker achieved fame as a race car driver before the war. This experience persuaded Billy Mitchell, head of the American Aviation Section, to select Rickenbacker as the driver of his 12-cylinder staff-car. Rickenbacker soon used the influence of his boss to transfer to flying school, even though – at age 27 – he was two years over the age limit. After the war, he became president of Eastern Airlines and served from 1938 to 1963. He died in 1973.

Ancient World | Middle Ages/Renassiance | 17th Century | 18th Century | 19th Century | Civil War | Old West | 20th Century
World War One | World War Two | Photo of the Week | SnapShots | Voices | History in Motion | Index | Home
Copyright © Ibis Communications, Inc.