Photo Gallery: Stylish Pilots of the Early 20th Century

It’s disputed whether French aviator Adolphe Pégoud flew the first loop in an airplane 100 years ago this month on September 21, 1913, or if Russian pilot Pyotr Nesterov did it two weeks earlier. Either way, it’s been a century since somebody pulled off the aerobatic maneuver, and helped kick-start a new era for flight.

German pre-war postcard depicting Pégoud's loop
German pre-war postcard depicting Pégoud’s loop

Pégoud, whose nickname was Roi du ciel (King of the Sky), died in an air battle during the First World War — shot down by a German pilot he had trained before the war — but his accomplishments and his distinctive sense of style will live on, just like the good clothes and general badassery of the following other pilots from the first half of the last century.