Francis T. Evans

Ranked #36 on the list Best Military Person of All Time

Based on 3 votes

About Francis T. Evans

  • Participated in conflicts: Vietnam War

Francis Thomas Evans, Sr. (3 June 1886 - 14 March 1974) was a pioneer aviator. He was one of the earliest United States Marine Corps aviators, the first person to perform a loop in seaplane, and a pioneer of stall and spin recovery techniques. Evans was born in Delaware, Ohio, on 3 June 1886. He became one of the earliest United States Marine Corps aviators, being designated Marine Aviator Number 4. By early 1917, Evans was the most experienced Curtiss N-9 floatplane pilot in the world. Although the consensus among aviators and even the N-9's manufacturer was that the N-9 could not be looped, Evans believed it was possible. On February 13, 1917, he flew an N-9 over the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola, Florida, and began attempts to loop it. He succeeded on his fourth try, becoming the first person ever to loop a seaplane. Lacking witnesses, he flew over Naval Air Station Pensacola and repeated the feat. In 1936, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for this achievement. More important, however, were the stall and spin recovery techniques he discovered that day. During his first three loop attempts, the N-9 stalled before he reached the apex of the loop and fell into a spin. He

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