Burdette S. Wright was born in New Albany, Indiana, and received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1915. He later attended George Washington University and obtained a law degree, and in 1925 received his Master's degree from Purdue. His aviation career began during World War I where he was an observer in France for the Army Air Corps. Following the war, Wright became General William (Billy) Mitchell's aide until 1922. When Mitchell was court-martialed in 1925, Wright testified in his defense. Wright set up the first system of air routes in the United States, and introduced various new features for safety and navigation. In 1928, Wright left the army and after two years of practicing law, he accepted a position with the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, of which he became president in 1933. Following the merger of the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company with Wright Aircraft Company, Wright became vice president of manufacturing. Wright retired in 1950 and died in 1961 at the age of 67.