Donald Douglas: Aviation innovator
Southern California was the home of most of America's great aviation titans: Curtiss, Martin, Lockheed, Northrop, Ryan and Vultee. Kevin Starr, in his book "Material Dreams," wrote: "By the late twenties, Los Angeles was unquestionably the aviation capital of the United States." At the top of California's aviation pyramid was a slim New Yorker of Scottish descent -- Donald W. Douglas. Born in Brooklyn in 1892, Douglas developed an interest in airplanes after a visit to the Smithsonian Institution where an experimental aircraft engine was on display. The interest was fine-tuned on July 30, 1909, when he saw Orville Wright test fly the Wright Flyer for the U.S. Army.