William Edward Boeing: Sky king
On Jan. 2, 1910, leading aviators from around the globe converged on Dominguez Hills near Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Air Meet. During the 10-day event, 226,000 spectators saw a dazzling display of airplanes and flight. Many world records were shattered; one pilot soared to 4,164 feet, while Glenn Curtiss hit a blistering 55 mph with a passenger on board. The planes so fascinated one onlooker, 29-year-old William Edward Boeing, that he left a lucrative business and embarked on a new career, aviation, and forever changed the world of flight. Born in Detroit in 1881, Boeing came from a wealthy family with extensive mining and timber interests. He attended Yale but left in 1903, a year before graduating, to pursue a future in timber and logging in Gray's Harbor, Wash.