Saturday, January 9, 2010

First Air Meet in USA: 100 Years Ago

ON January 10, 1910, the first Air Show in the USA took place right here in Los Angeles. Dominguez Field--now the site of Cal State University Dominguez Hills, was the location of the Los Angeles International Aviation Meet.

To imagine it, you must remember that air planes were brand new. The Wright Brothers' famous flight at Kitty Hawk had happened only seven years before. There were no standards, no "typical" planes. 

The 1910 air show featured balloons, dirigibles, ornithopters, and a few skeletal biplanes. Aircraft pioneers who took part included Glenn Curtiss, Charles Willard, Lincoln Beachey, and Roy Knabenshue. Didier Masson and Louis Paulhan of France came too. They all competed for thousands of dollars in racing prize money and set some world records while a quarter-million spectators watched.

You can read about it in Air & Space Magazine . Hopefully the LA Times will have a piece too. Or you can go to CSUDH's special features on the air show.

The picture below is from the CSUDH archive, and shows a Farman Biplane in the starting square, piloted by Louis Paulhan. The two dirigibles in the picture were designed by other aviation luminaries: Lincoln Beachey and Roy Knabenshue (Knabenshue was one of the organizers of the show). The balloon banner advertises the Los Angeles Examiner. Product placement...isn't it comforting to know that some things don't change?

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