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Carl Crane, aviation pioneer, makes first automated landing

August
23
1937

On this day in 1937, Texan Carl Joseph Crane made the world's first fully automated landing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. This aviation pioneer and inventor had witnessed the birth of aviation in Texas when, at Fort Sam Houston, Capt. Benjamin Foulois first flew the only airplane owned by the United States government. Crane graduated from the United States Army Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field in 1925, and in 1929 he teamed with William C. Ocker to devise revolutionary flying systems and to write the world's first manual for instrumental flight, Blind Flight in Theory and Practice (1932). He designed the instruments for the first automated landing in 1937, and he held more than 100 patents when he died in 1982.

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