|Died||13 December 1923 (aged 30)|
|Known for||invention of the first autopilot and artificial horizon|
Lawrence Burst Sperry (21 December 1892, Chicago, Illinois, United States – December 13, 1923, English Channel) was an aviation pioneer.
He was the third son of the gyrocompass co-inventor, Elmer Ambrose Sperry, and his wife Zula. Sperry invented the first autopilot, which he demonstrated with startling success in France in 1914. Sperry is also credited with developing the artificial horizon still used on most aircraft in the early 21st century.
In 1918 he married film actress Winifred Allen, and Flying Magazine reported that they were "the first couple to take an aerial honeymoon" after they flew from Amityville to Governors Island.
On 13 December 1923 Sperry took off amid fog in a Verville-Sperry M-1 Messenger from the United Kingdom headed for France but never reached his destination. His body was found in the English Channel on 11 January 1924.
A website using the name Mile High Club regards the "Club's" "founder" as pilot and design engineer Lawrence Sperry, along with "socialite Mrs. Waldo Peirce" (Dorothy Rice Sims)  citing their flight in an autopilot-equipped Curtiss Flying Boat near New York in November 1916.
Why, Mrs Peirce and I didn't have what you might dignify by calling a real accident. It was only a trivial mishap. We decided to land on the water and came down perfectly from a height of 600 feet and would have made a perfect landing had not the hull of our machine struck one of the stakes that dot the water, which staved a hole in it.
In 1979, Sperry was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.
Sperry was inducted into the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, in 1992.
Another son, Lawrence B., lost his life in 1925 while flying over the North Sea in a plane of his own design. ...
Although she fell 800 feet in a hydro-aeroplane and was held fast for more than a minute in mud and wreckage seven feet under water, and suffered a fracture of the pelvis and other injuries, Mrs. Waldo Pierce(sic), daughter of Mrs. Isaac L. Rice, donor of the $1,000,000 fund for the Isaac L. Rice Hospital for Convalescents, has no intention of giving up flying.