June 16, 1916
Aviator, explorer and inventor Donald Beatty made his first solo flight in a small plane he built using a motorcycle engine in Tarrant. An expert in radio technology, Beatty installed the first voice radio stations in Alabama, obtained numerous patents and constructed the first-ever system for air-to-ground voice communications. In 1931, he led an expedition into the Ecuadorian Amazon that captured the first photographs and video recordings of the native Jivaro people, known as head-hunters, earning a fellowship with the Royal Geographical Society. He was inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame in 1992.
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For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.