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Born Frankfurt, Germany
June 26,1898September 15,1978
At the age of 14, Willi Emil Messerschmitt made his first flight in a glider and just three years later constructed and flew an unpowered craft of his own design. At 25, while still a student of engineering, he established his own corporation, which was to become the leading aerospace industry of Germany. During this period of growth an impressive procession of transport, trainer, and sports aircraft emerged.
The famed BF-109, an advanced fighter, produced in massive numbers, and favored fighter of the Luftwaffe in World War II, will forever remain a monument to his eminence in aeronautics. One of these aircraft established a world speed record for piston-engined aircraft of 755 kilometers per hour, a record that although often assaulted, remained unbroken for more than thirty years. His visionary concepts produced the first operational jet aircraft, the ME-262, and the first operational rocket powered aircraft, the ME-163.
With the rebirth of German aerospace industry following World War II, Professor Messerschmitt, again assumed the duties of Chairman of the Board of Messerschmitt Bolkow-Blohm GMBH, where he remained until his retirement in 1973.
Willi Messerschmitt's genius spanned the aerospace industry. From sailplanes to giant transport gliders, from piston sport planes to jet engines, Willi Messerschmitt contributed much to the advance of aero science.
Invested 1979 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame
From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984
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