Australian Harry Hawker made his mark on aviation history through the company which bears his name, famous today for such aircraft as the Hurricane and the Harrier. In Britain, as chief test pilot for Thomas Sopwith, Hawker achieved a number of early endurance and altitude records. The following year, he was credited with performing the first controlled recovery from a spin - an exceedingly dangerous manoeuvre which had almost claimed Hawker's life after an earlier crash.
On 18 May, 1919, Hawker attempted a transatlantic flight in a single-engined Sopwith Atlantic biplane. Leaving from Newfoundland with his navigator, the plane was to suffer radiator failure, forcing the plane down in rough seas in mid-Atlantic. Miraculously, they were spotted by a passing Danish vessel which rescued them and delivered them to Scotland six days later.
Hawker's luck was finally to run out on 16 July, 1921. Practicing for the round-London Aerial Derby race, his plane caught fire and crashed for reasons which remain unknown.http://h2g2.com/approved_entry/A15850514