With the invention of planes, aviators and engineers were eager to test the limits of their flying machines. Egged on by competition, these “birdmen” flirted with death while pushing their machines to the limit. The daring do of stunt pilots was not without consequence, however, as legions of their number perished in crashes during 1910 alone. With aviator deaths climbing to epidemic proportions, an October 30, 1921 New York Herald headline screamed: DEATH THE CERTAIN FATE OF STUNTING AVIATORS. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
|December 24, 1910||Los Angeles hosts first United States' International Air Meet at Dominguez Field.|
|December 31, 1910||Arch Hoxsey and John Moisant are both killed in separate accidents.|
|January 1, 1911||Looking back at 1910 as the worst year for deadly accidents. 30 famous aviators were killed while preforming stunts.|
|December 26, 1912||Lincoln Beachey, immensely popular stunt flier, races aeroplane against "Dare Devil" in automobile.|
|March 15, 1915||Lincoln Beachey is killed in stunt flying accident.|
|October 30, 1921||The easiest way to count "stunt" fliers is to count their tombstones": media's backlash against the recklessness of some aviators.|