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Biographical entry Gatty, Harold Charles (1903 - 1957)

5 January 1903
Campbell Town, Tasmania, Australia
30 August 1957
Air navigation engineer and Naturalist


Harold Gatty devised the ground-speed and drift indicator which formed the basis of the automatic pilot now standard equipment on most aircraft. He flew around the world with Wiley Post in 1931 and founded Pacific Airways Ltd in Fiji in 1951.


Cadet-midshipman, Royal Australian Naval College, Jervis Bay 1918-20, apprenticed ship's officer, Patrick Steamship Company of Sydney 1920-23, various jobs 1923-27, chief mate, Goodwill 1927-28, opened laboratory repairing navigation instruments, including aircraft compasses, and making air-route maps for the Pioneer Instrument Co. in Los Angeles from 1928, navigator with Rocoe Turner in a record 19 hour non-stop flight from Los Angeles to New York 1929, accompanied Harold Bromley in an unsuccessful attempt on the first flight across the Pacific 1930, flew around the world with Wiley Post in 8 days, 15 hours and 51 minutes 1931, senior air navigation engineer, United States Army Air Corps 1931-34, Pan American World Airways 1935-42, director of air transport for the United States Army Air Corps in the South West Pacific 1942-43, polar navigation work with the United States Navy 1943-45, South Pacific regional manager, Pan American Airways1946-48, tuna fishing industry, South Sea Marine Products Ltd 1948-51, founded Fiji Airways Ltd 1951. Commemorated by a monument to his round the world flight, erected in Campbell Town 1961.

Archival resources

Private hands (Nolloth, D.)

  • Harold Charles Gatty - Records, 1903 - 1957; Private hands (Nolloth, D.). Details

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Warden, Alan, 'Gatty, Harold Charles (1903-1957), air navigator, naturalist, adventurer and writer' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle, eds, vol. 8 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1981), pp. 630-631. Details


McCarthy, G.J.