Rodgers, Calbraith Perry "Cal"

Air pilot
First deaf (or severely hard-of-hearing) airplane pilot. Descendant of famous Navy commanders Oliver H. Perry and Matthew C. Perry. Father died before Cal's birth; Cal was deafened by scarlet fever at age 6; mother denied and tried to ignore his deafness, claiming it was hereditary, from his father. Graduated Mercersburg Academy, but aspirations to the U.S. Naval Academy were thrwarted by his deafness. Cal learned to fly from the Wright brothers in 1911, bought a Wright biplane, and participated in an air show. Made an attempt to win the Hearst Prize for the first coast-to-coast airplane flight in his airplane, named Vin Fiz. After 84 days and many crashes and other problems, he finally succeeded in completing the flight, making history in the process, but did not win the prize due to a technicality. Killed four months later in San Diego when a seagull flew into his airplane, jamming the rudder; buried in Pittsburgh, PA. Books about him include Cal Rodgers and the Vin Fiz (1989) and Flight of the Gin Fizz (1997).
Great Deaf Americans, The Second Edition, p.160-163.
12 January 1879-3 April 1912