What is a Pioneer?

A pioneer is someone who sees potential, an innovator who is willing to try new things. A pioneer pushes boundaries to advance a cause or idea or break a record. These men and women have experienced success in their field, sometimes by overcoming great challenges. This exhibition focuses on the pioneers of the 1920s and '30s who paved the way for the pioneers of today.


  1. Boldness/Courage: Jimmy Doolittle dared to fly blind with only instruments.
  2. Vision: Charles and Anne Lindbergh envisioned new routes for commercial aviation.
  3. Dedication/Persistance: Despite systematic descrimination, Cornelius Coffey learned to fly, taught other African Americans to fly, and promoted African American pilots.
  4. Creativity: Robert Goddard experimented with the world’s first liquid-fueled rockets.
  5. Passion: The Douglas World Cruiser pilots flew around the world to show that America could.
Pioneers today share these same traits. Who do you think is a pioneer in aviation or spaceflight today? Join the conversation on social media using #PioneersofFlight. 


Learn More About These Pioneers

Pioneers continue to break boundaries and try new things. Read about past and present pioneers in the blog posts below. Some are featured in the exhibition, some are in the news today.