performed what was essentially the first bombing test bydropping weighted bags at markers located on the ground.Charles K. Hamilton was one of the first aviation barnstormers. He took up hot air ballooning and parachute jumping at circuses and fairs at the age of 18. By the 1910Aviation Meet, he had been piloting dirigibles with RoyKnabenshue, toured Japan in a dirigible and in 1909 had become an exhibition pilot for Glenn Curtiss. After the Meet,he went on to win $10,000 ($220,000)
for flying from NewYork City to Philadelphia in June and participated in the NewYork International Air Meet in October. He joined theMoisant’s International Aviators touring the U.S. in 1911.While performing in El Paso, Tex., he used his plane to observetroop movements over Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, betweenMexican Government troops and rebels – one of the earliestrecorded uses of a plane for military purposes.Arace car driver and Harvard graduate, Charles Willardwas one of Glenn Curtiss’first students. He went on to becomeGlenn Martin’s chief engineer and help design flying boats for Curtiss.Roy Knabenshue was one of the first dirigible pilots, piloting the “California Arrow” at theSt. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. In 1909 he becamethe manager of the Wright Brothers ExhibitionFlying Team responsible for booking their events.Lincoln Beachey and Glenn Curtiss are wellknown for their aviation exploits, so are notaddressed in this article.
The Los Angles International Aviation Meetkicked off on January 10, 1910, as scheduled. Anopening day crowd estimated at 20,000, includingmost of Los Angeles’prominent business men andsociety people, witnessed a display of aerial featsfrom early afternoon until dark. According to the
Los Angeles Times
, all went home “wild over avia-tion.” Over the course of the 11-day event it is esti-mated that more than 225,000 people attended themeet. Financially it wasa success with gatereceipts totaling morethan $137,000 ($3M),which do not includeancillary revenues for food and transportationgenerated by the event.The 1910 Meet wasconsidered by many tohave helped alleviate a perceived economicdrought in the area. It isconsidered by some tohave been instrumentalin launching the aviationindustry in the L.A. basin that would grow toinclude Douglas, Northrop, Lockheed,and North American,among others.Paulhan and Curtiss would go on to win most of the prizes,with the other participants putting in a competitive showing.The unofficial results and prize money awards are shown in theaccompanying table as presented in the January 21, 1910,
Los Angeles Times
. Published results from other sources indicatethat Paulhan’s total winnings were $14,000 ($66,300), whileCurtiss took home $6,500 ($143,000).
Figures shown in parenthesis are the current dollar valueequivalents in today’s money. Editor’s note: California State University Dominguez Hills is conducting a fund raiser to honor the 100th anniver- sary of the Los Angeles International Aviation Meet. These funds will go to producing a PBS quality documentary along with a companion coffee table book, DVD, and a physical/dig-ital archive. For more information go tohttp://csudh.edu/1910airmeet/fundraiser.
AAHS FLIGHTLINE No. 170, First Quarter 2010
PRIZES and WINNERS
Best Speed during Meet (10 laps)First$3,000 ($66,000)Glenn Curtiss – 23:43.4Second$2,000 ($44,000)Louis Paulhan – 24:59.4Third$500 ($11,000)Charles K. Hamilton – 30:34.6Endurance, best during MeetFirst$3,000 ($66,000)Louis Paulhan – 1:58:32 / 75.77 milesSecond$2,000 ($44,000)Glenn Curtiss – 1:35:05 / 37.05 milesThird$500 ($11,000)Charles K. Hamilton 39:40 / 19.44 milesHeight at any time during MeetFirst$3,000 ($66,000)Louis Paulhan – 4,165 ft.Second$2,000 ($44,000)Charles K. Hamilton – 626 ft.Third$500 ($11,000)Glenn Curtiss – (not recorded)Slowest lap during Meet$500 ($11,000)Charles K. Hamilton – 3:36.4Quickest takeoff$250 ($5,500)Glenn Curtiss – 6.4 sec.Shortest takeoff distance$250 ($5,500)Glenn Curtiss – 98 ft.Starting & Landing in Square$250 ($5,500)Charles F. WillardCross-Country (distance)$10,000 ($220,000)Louis Paulhan – 45 miles / 1:02:42.8
* Numbers in parentheses are the current-day, dollar-value equivalents.
Aviators walk the track in front of the grandstand. (l-r) Jerome Fanguilla(Glenn Curtiss' manager), Glenn Curtiss, Didier Masson, Louis Paulhan,Charles Miscarol and Charles Willard. (From the CSUDominguez Hillsarchives)