January 1, 1895 - September 1, 1954
  "Acosta, as a pilot, is in a class by himself. He understands ships, particularly heavy ships, better than any man I know. He is a marvelous test pilot, and has an uncanny gift for discovering, within a few seconds, the strong and weak points in a plane." Lt. Lester Maitland, first to Hawaii (1927)

By 1916, Mr. Acosta was a major Aviation Test Pilot and considered by his peers to be the first legitimate light aircraft and heavy air transpor Test Pilot. He was the first to test the all-metal JL-6's in America as well as the bigger cargo planes, such as the Hadley-Page 0/400T, the Fokkers, and passenger ships, such as the Curtiss 'Eagle', all forerunners in cargo and passenger aircraft. He was at the forefront of test piloting all of his professional life. He was highly respected and much in demand, a major influence in the development of early cargo and heavy aircraft due to his intimate knowledge of aircraft in the air. His ability to quickly analyze and articulate recommendations were skills manufacturers direly needed.

In August 1917, he was appointed Captain in the Army Air Service as Chief Instructor and Director of Flying and engineering, responsible for flight instruction and the development and testing of the Liberty engine, the engine reputed to have won WWI. He was promoted to Director of Testing and Advisory Engineer of Design and Construction of all experimental types, also rating other Aeronautical Engineers. In this capacity he was entrusted as the sole pilot testing and approving all aircraft put into action in WWI. In November of the same year, he was promoted to Asst. Director and Director of Aircraft Production, Naval Stations, overseeing the Naval Stations at Buffalo, NY, Dayton, OH and Washington D.C.

June 1922 - He was Consulting and Advisory Senior Engineer and Test Pilot for the following companies: Curtiss Airplane and Motor Co. - J.L. Aircraft, -Remington-Burnelli Corp, -Beckmans Aircraft, -Netherlands Aircraft (Fokker), Aeronautica Ansaldo, S.V.A., Italian, and Wright Aeronautical Corp. These companies were at the forefront expanding the scope of Aviation. Mr. Acosta wrote in his resume to the Navy: "I have flown during these business connections practically every type of foreign and American types including seaplanes, boats, pursuit, bombing and commercial ever constructed. Approximate time in the air equals 6,000 hours." By this time, he had flown and tested well over 100 different types of planes. His aeronautical "genius" (his peers' description) was critical to early Aviation and its success.

Further, his record states, he was the first aviator to be commissioned a Captain, Army Air Service, and a Lieutenant in the Navy. He set many national and world records. Speed (first to achieve 200 MPH), several Intercontinental Distance Records (such as first Transcontinental round-trip); Many Weight Airlifted records, (first to lift 15,000 lbs of aircraft, cargo and personnel - Atlantic crossing of 1927 - Mr. Acosta was at the controls thirty-six hours of the 42 hour flight in the most severe weather conditions); Endurance 51 hrs plus in air, first to map airmail routes; first European airmail delivery; Racer; winner of the much coveted 1921 Pulitzer Trophy and Chief Instructor for Curtiss and the Canadian (1916) (instructed over 400 pilots without an accident - another record) fledgling air command, and a Pioneer Pilot (built and flew his own plane in 1910, San Diego, CA).

Aviation ;progressed and advanced due to Mr. Acosta's acumen as a unique test Pilot and Aeronautical Engineer. His life was Aviation and in those days, Aviation was Bert Acosta, as authenticated by the accolades of his contemporaries. He was undeniably Aviaton's first legend. He is worthy of inclusion and would be a stellar addition as an enshrined member in the National Aviation hall of Fame.

Excerpt from George Carroll's article, American Mercury magazine, 1955; "As far as that goes, every person who rides an American-built transport here or abroad - should hold Acosta's memory in respect. It was he who demonstrated in the Western Hemisphere the all-metal parent of the sky-liners we know in 1953, the German-manufactured Junkers. Acosta demonstrated the Junkers in 1919 - and nobody can estimate how much he did thereby to foster the practical coming of the Air Age."
Document Courtesy of J. J. Snyder, 11-6-07

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