"Willy Messerschmitt was born on June 26, 1898 and died September 15, 1978. He was a German designer and manufacturer of aircraft. As a young man, Messerschmitt built flying models and later, he built hang gliders." It was quite apparent that Willy had a special interest in aircraft while growing up. Later in life, Messerschmitt enrolled in the "German Military where he then received a medical discharge in 1917." After his time spent in the service, Messerschmitt went to the Technische Hochschule of Munich Germany, where he studied aviation and engineering.
[Pictured above from left to right: Fritz Wendel, who piloted the Me262's maiden flight and Willy Messerschmitt.]
When Messerschmitt finished his work at the institution, he became "employed as chief designer and engineer at the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke in Ausburg." Later, he establised a company of his own where he constructed and designed his first military aircraft, the Me109 (also known as the Bf109). "His first aircraft turned out to be a success which was demonstrated when it set the world speed record at 481mph. Messerschmitt then designed and produced many more sophisticated combat aircrat such as the Me110, a two-seater bomber and night fighter; the Me163, which was the first operational rocket-propelled aircraft." And perhaps one of the most important aircraft ever to be constructed, "the Me262, which was Germany's first operational jet-propelled aircraft."
"After World War II, Messerschmitt factories were devastated. Following the capitulation of Nazi Germany, he was arrested in 1945 for his involvement in the Hitler regime. Messerschmitt was then tried in a Nazification court in 1948 where he was found to be a "reluctant beneficiary" of the regime. "His company temporarily left aviation due to the postwar ban on aircraft production, and his firm produced prefabricated housing and sewing machines." However in 1958, Messerschmitt returned to his life long love of making aircraft and between 1968 and 1969, the Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm company was built with Messerschmitt as honorary chairman. His firm then "produced aircraft, missiles, spacecraft, and highway vehicles."