Calbraith Perry Rodgers (January 12, 1879 – April 3, 1912).
Calbraith Rodgers was best known as a Deaf American aviation pilot who made the first transcontinental airplane flight with several stops across the U.S. from September 17, 1911 to November 5, 1911. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He became deaf due to scarlet fever which left him deaf in one ear and hard of hearing in the other ear.
He became interested in aviation when he visited his cousin, John Rodgers, at the Wright Company factory and flying school in Dayton, Ohio. From there, he obtained aviation training which he received 90 minutes of flying lessons from Orville Wright, and on August 7, 1911, he became the 49th aviator licensed to fly. He was one of the first civilians to purchase a Wright flyer.
Regarding the first transcontinental airplane flight, Publisher William Randolph Hearst offered the Hearst prize, US $50,000 to the first aviator to fly coast to coast, in either direction, in less than 30 days from start to finish. Calbraith Rodgers took up on the challenge and had the Armour and Company sponsor his flight. To thank Armour and Company for sponsoring his flight, he named the plane, a Wright Model Ex after Armour’s grape soft drink Vin Fiz. Although he was successful in making the transcontinental airplane flight, he missed the prize deadline by 19 days.
Soon after making his first transcontinental flight across the U.S, he became well known for this but unfortunately, a few months later in California at an exhibition event, he died in a crash as a result of a bird strike.