Wright Exhibition Team
The Wright Exhibition Team was a group of early aviators trained by the Wright brothers
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur , were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903...
at Wright Flying School
Wright Flying School
The Wright Flying School, also known as the Wright School of Aviation, was operated by the Wright Company from 1910 to 1916 and trained 119 individuals to fly Wright airplanes.-History:...
in Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery is the capital of the U.S. state of Alabama, and is the county seat of Montgomery County. It is located on the Alabama River southeast of the center of the state, in the Gulf Coastal Plain. As of the 2010 census, Montgomery had a population of 205,764 making it the second-largest city...
in March 1910.
HistoryThe group was formed in 1910 at the suggestion of Augustus Roy Knabenshue
Augustus Roy Knabenshue
Augustus Roy Knabenshue was an American aeronautical engineer and aviator.-Biography:He was born on July 15, 1875 in Lancaster, Ohio....
The team made its first public appearance on June 13, 1910 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana in the United States, is the home of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the Brickyard 400....
The team performed aerial shows and set records for altitude
Altitude or height is defined based on the context in which it is used . As a general definition, altitude is a distance measurement, usually in the vertical or "up" direction, between a reference datum and a point or object. The reference datum also often varies according to the context...
(4939 feet) and endurance.
Pilots were paid $20 per week and $50 a day when flying. By August there were five separate teams flying at one time with $186,000 in receipts. Ralph Johnstone
Ralph Johnstone was a pioneering early aviator who died in a crash.-Biography:He was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1886. He started as a vaudeville trick bicycle rider. With a signature finale of performing a mid-air forward somersault. He became a Wright exhibition team pilot...
was the first to be killed.
After attempting another altitude record over Denver's Overland Park in November, Johnstone put his plane into Walter Richard Brookins
Walter Richard Brookins
Walter Richard Brookins was the first pilot trained by the Wright brothers for their exhibition team.-Biography:...
' 'spiral dip' dive, and he never recovered. The plane plummeted to the ground, and Johnstone was crushed.
A month later, on New Years' Eve, 1910, Arch Hoxsey was killed in an identical crash. Although the team had lost its star fliers, newer pilots trained by Welsh joined the team and continued performing around the country at 25 locations.
Troubled by the deaths of the pilots, the group was disbanded in November of 1911.
- Leonard Warden BonneyLeonard Warden BonneyLeonard Warden Bonney was a pioneering aviator with the Wright brothers.-Biography:He was born in Wellington, Ohio in 1884, possibly as Warden Leonard Bonney. He attended Oberlin College. In 1910 and 1911, he flew for the Wright Exhibition Team and was the 47th licensed pilot...
- Walter Richard BrookinsWalter Richard BrookinsWalter Richard Brookins was the first pilot trained by the Wright brothers for their exhibition team.-Biography:...
- Frank Trenholm CoffynFrank Trenholm Coffyn- Biography :He was born in Charleston, South Carolina on October 24, 1878 to George M. Coffyn, a banker.He married Louise D. Adams around 1900 and had the following children: Nancy Lou Coffyn and Kingsland A. Coffyn ....
- Howard Gill (1883–1912) †
- Archibald HoxseyArchibald HoxseyArchibald Hoxsey was an aviator for the Wright brothers.-Biography:He was born in Staunton, Illinois on October 15, 1884. He moved with his parents to Pasadena, California and by 1909-1910 his mechanical ability led to a meeting with the Wright Brothers...
- Ralph JohnstoneRalph JohnstoneRalph Johnstone was a pioneering early aviator who died in a crash.-Biography:He was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1886. He started as a vaudeville trick bicycle rider. With a signature finale of performing a mid-air forward somersault. He became a Wright exhibition team pilot...
- Augustus Roy KnabenshueAugustus Roy KnabenshueAugustus Roy Knabenshue was an American aeronautical engineer and aviator.-Biography:He was born on July 15, 1875 in Lancaster, Ohio....
(1875–1960), he managed the team.
- Philip Orin ParmeleePhilip Orin ParmeleePhilip Orin Parmelee was an American aviation pioneer trained by the Wright brothers and credited with several early world aviation records and "firsts" in flight...
- James Clifford TurpinJames Clifford TurpinJames Clifford Turpin was a pioneer aviator with the Wright Exhibition Team.-Biography:He was born on May 6, 1886. He attended Purdue University, the first graduate to receive a pilot's license. Turpin joined the Wright Exhibition team in 1910, flying demonstrations across the country. The group...
- Arthur L. WelshArthur L. WelshArthur L. "Al" Welsh was a Jewish, Russian-born American pioneer aviator who became the first flight instructor for the Wright Brothers. He was killed in an aircrash in 1912.-Early life:...
(1875 or 1881–1912) †, Welsh was killed in a crash while demonstrating a Wright model C airplane for the U.S. Army in 1912
- Spencer Crane - mechanic
- James Davis - mechanic
- Clifford Turpin - engineer
† Died in flight crashes.
- 1910 Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayIndianapolis Motor SpeedwayThe Indianapolis Motor Speedway, located in Speedway, Indiana in the United States, is the home of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and the Brickyard 400....
on June 13
- 1910 November - Ralph Johnstone dies at Denver's Overland park.
- 1910 Death of Arch Hoxsey on December 31
- 1911 May - Walter Brookins leaves the flight team.
- 1911 Chicago in August
- 1911 November - The Wrights release the team, keeping Welsh on as a test pilot.