Aeronautical Engineers Born in March


Kalpana Chawla                          Image Credit: NASA
Robert L. Curbeam, Jr.                  Image Credit: NASA
Michael Fincke                                Image Credit: NASA


March is overflowing with birthdays of engineers who made history in the United States, and we want to highlight the achievements of these inspiring engineers:

Kalpana Chawla was born March 17, 1962 in Karnal, India. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering in India, and later on moved to the United States to continue her education and received a Master’s degree in aerospace engineering. After being naturalized in the United States, she became an astronaut, engineer, and the first woman of Indian descent to go to space. Chawla lost her life during the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, but her legacy continues to live on through her work. Her research helped other astronauts understand health and safety during spaceflight. She continues to be an inspiration for many immigrants who are chasing the American dream.

Robert Lee Curbeam, Jr. was born March 5, 1962. He is an African-American astronaut, engineer, military officer, and aircraft pilot. Curbeam was a Captain in the United States Navy, and during his Naval career he was deployed to many locales including the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. After completing his term, he returned as an instructor for the Weapons and Systems Engineering Department. During his NASA career, Curbeam broke the record for the astronaut with the most space walks on a single flight.

Michael Fincke was born March 14, 1967. He is an astronaut, engineer, and military officer. Fincke was a member of the United States Air Force stationed at the Air Force Base in Los Angeles, California. While in the Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center Department, he worked as a space system and space test engineer, working on many flight test programs and holding a colonel rank. During his NASA career, Fincke held many titles, such as Mission Specialist, International Space Station Spacecraft Communicator, and Flight Engineer. During one of his missions, he broke the American record for the most time spent in space.

Engineers Who Have Contributed to the Development of Aviation

November is National Aviation History Month. While we may be focused on the upcoming holidays, many people are fascinated with aviation and the pioneers who’ve contributed to and helped shape aviation in today’s society.

If you’ve ever wondered about the first pioneer engineers behind aviation, read on.

In the early days, prior to designing and executing the first flight, engineers conducted many experiments and extensive research to determine the four component forces that enabled design and/or flying of an aircraft, which are thrust, lift, drag, and weight. This was the birth of aeronautical technology.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “aeronautical engineers work with aircraft. They are involved primarily in designing aircraft and propulsion systems and in studying the aerodynamic performance of aircraft and construction materials. They work with the theory, technology, and practice of flight within the Earth’s atmosphere.”

The following aeronautical engineers are some of the pioneers who changed aviation history:

  • Jules Henri Giffard studied the notes of an inventor named Pierre Jullien who display a cigar-shaped model airship at the Paris Hippodrome. Jullien’s design helped Giffard became the first person to build a full-size airship;
  • Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright are known for executing the first flight, which lasted 12 seconds;
  • Charles Lindbergh is known for performing the first solo transatlantic flight; and
  • Amelia Earhart is a known aviation pioneer and was the first solo female aviator to complete a transatlantic flight.

For more information about aviation pioneers, visit: