Art Smith: Pioneer Aviator

Front Cover
McFarland, Jul 16, 2003 - Transportation - 220 pages
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By 1915, pioneer aviator Art Smith was as celebrated as any movie star might be today. He thrilled audiences with his barnstorming feats, doing "death spirals," sky writing, "loop-the-loops," and night flights using phosphorus fireworks. He was a consummate showman and had he not died in 1926, his name probably would be familiar to most Americans. He glamorized and popularized aviation while testing the boundaries of aeronautical principles. As a boy he longed to fly before he had ever seen an airplane. His parents believed in him, and he was fortunate to have a best friend named Al Wertman who helped him build an airplane. His fame spread around the globe and in 1916, the Japanese offered him $10,000 for a series of exhibitions. His flying skills inspired a young Wiley Post to a life of aviation. After Smith's death, when Lindbergh flew over Fort Wayne and dipped his wings, he gave credit to the "Bird Boy" Art Smith. The story of this rising star in American aviation is one of adventure, romance, scandal and history. Using Smith's own autobiographical writings, the story is also a factual account of events in early aviation. The book includes photographs and postcards in Art Smith's own handwriting mailed to Al Wertman.
 

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Contents

2 The Mortgage1910
12
3 The Smashup Kid1910
22
4 The Birdboy1910
28
5 Midwestern Flights1911
34
6 New Heights1911
41
7 Not on Calhoun Street1912
48
8 Elopement1912
55
9 Hometown Celebrity1913
63
15 Scandal Surgery and Business19161917
120
16 A Second Trip to Japan1917
125
17 World War I and Military Preparedness19171921
134
18 The Mail Service and Ohio Lights19211926
141
19 Tributes19261928
146
20 Smith Field and Beyond1926 to the Present
154
21 An Unknown Love1995
161
22 Letters19231926
166

10 Fame19131914
70
11 The San Francisco Exposition1915
77
12 King of the Air1915
85
13 San Diego Other Towns and Headlines1915
95
14 A Celebrity in Japan1916
106
23 A Final Word
188
Notes
191
Bibliography
205
Index
207
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Rachel Sherwood Roberts also wrote Crisis at Pemberton Dike in 1984 and Auburn Is A Dancing Lady in 1999. Her work has appeared in regional and national publications. For fifteen years, Roberts wrote the "View and Review" column for the Evening Star in Auburn, Indiana. She has written a number of cover stories for Traces of Indiana including one about Art Smith (fall, 1998). Roberts lives in Auburn.

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