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Gorrell, Edgar Staley (03 February 1891–05 March 1945), aviator and industrialist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Charles Edgar Gorrell, a carpenter, and Pamelia Smith. He entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1908, graduating in 1912 with a commission as a second lieutenant of infantry. In 1915 he attended the army’s Signal Corps Aviation School in Coronado, California, where he became a pilot. While serving with the First Aero Squadron during the Mexican Punitive Operation in 1916, he came to the attention of Brigadier General ...

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Lear, William Powell (26 June 1902–15 May 1978), electrical engineer and aeronautical entrepreneur, was born in Hannibal, Missouri, the son of Reuben Lear, a carpenter and teamster, and Gertrude Powell. His parents separated when Lear was six, and his mother married a plasterer in Chicago. The family’s meager income represented a lifelong goad to Lear to become financially secure. After finishing the eighth grade, he left school and found work as a mechanic. At age sixteen Lear decided to leave home and enter military service. Lying about his age, he signed up in 1918 with the navy and was posted to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, where he was trained in radio technology. After the armistice, he found employment with a succession of electrical and radio businesses and developed several technical improvements while gaining valuable experience in a rapidly developing industry. During the early 1920s he built and patented the first practical radio for autos but lacked financial support to go into production and sold the design to Motorola in 1924....

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Warner, Edward Pearson (09 November 1894–12 July 1958), aeronautical engineer and aviation consultant, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Lyon Warner, an electrical engineer, and Ann Pearson. Warner was raised in a professional environment—his father had been educated at Cornell—and attended the elite Volkmann School in Boston after his father accepted a position in Cambridge. Early in his education, Warner displayed a remarkable aptitude for mathematics, and since he was interested in aviation he turned his attention to solving the problems of flight. In 1911 he and a friend won a soaring competition in Boston, Warner designing the glider and his friend piloting it. Warner attended Harvard University, receiving a B.A. in engineering with honors in 1916. He then pursued additional work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), earning a B.S. and then an M.A. in 1919....