Flying Fearless: The 1910 Atlantic City and Asbury Park Airshows

Timeline created by atlanticcitylibrary
In History
  • Atlantic City Aero Club Accepts Airshow Propositions

    The Atlantic City Aero Club officially accepts airshow event propositions from Glenn Curtiss and the Wright Brothers.
  • Atlantic City Treasury Accepts Airshow Application

    The Atlantic City Aero Club presents its formal airshow application to the Atlantic City Treasury Department. The application is approved.
  • Public Financing for Atlantic City Airshow Begins

    A major public campaign to finance the Atlantic City Airshow begins. Private enterprises including Young’s Million Dollar and Ocean Pier; Atlantic City’s Steel Pier; the Marlborough-Blenheim hotel; Haddon Hall – Chalfonte; the Traymore Hotel Company; the Hotel Dennis; the Hotel Shelburne; the Seaside House; the Hotel Chelsea; the Hotel Dunlop; Galen Hall; the Somers Lumber Company; and the Exposition P.E. Lane collectively donate $18,100. The City seeks an additional $6,900 from its citizens.
  • Construction of an Aerodrome in Atlantic City Inlet Commences

    Construction of an aerodrome, near the Atlantic City inlet, commences. When complete, the aerodrome is 75 feet by 300 feet in dimension, with 200-feet-long starting rails running from different sections of the building. It is expected that each day of the air meet, the aviators proceed from this point to the beach where they perform their exhibition flights.
  • Atlantic City Airshow Funds Increase $1,000 in a Single Day

    Atlantic City Airshow funds increase by $1000 in a single day raising the total to $19,130. An article in the Atlantic City Daily Press implores, “Draw your checks to the order of the Atlantic City Aero Club and send them to A.T. Bell, Chairman at Chalfonte. If you have made up your mind to give, please do so promptly. Your example will influence others to do the same.”
  • Airshow Funds Reach $20,133

    The Atlantic City Airshow fundraising purse reaches $20,133. Glenn Curtiss arrives in Atlantic City in preparation for the airshow.
  • The First Airplanes Arrive in Atlantic City for the Airshow

    The first airplanes arrive in the city. The aircraft are stationed and exhibited at the Million Dollar Pier and Young’s Ocean Pier.
  • Spectators Watch as Curtiss' Aircraft is Assembled

    Spectators Watch as Curtiss' Aircraft is Assembled
    Thousands of spectators watch as Glenn Curtiss’ mechanics assemble his biplane on the Ocean Pier. The interested spectators become so numerous that a cordon of police is placed around the machine to prevent injury to its delicate wires and parts. Curtiss’ mechanics, Elmer Robinson, Chris Hellman and Robert Patterson, continue to adjust the machine for the upcoming flights in spite of the crowds.
  • First Day of the Airshow: Curtiss' First Atlantic City Flight

    First Day of the Airshow: Curtiss' First Atlantic City Flight
    At 1:34 pm, Glenn Curtiss attempts his first flight in Atlantic City. 100,000 people watch as Curtiss takes off on the beach. Curtiss flies approximately half a mile, and two accidents nearly occur when spectators try to cross in front of the plane. He declares it the most dangerous flight of his career.
  • First Day of the Airshow

    First Day of the Airshow
    A major airshow opens in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Participating aviators include: Glenn Curtiss, Walter Brookins, Charles Hamilton, Clifford Harmon, Fred Coffyn, and J.A.D McCurdy.
  • Day Two of the Airshow: Curtiss Flies Over the Atlantic Ocean

    Day Two of the Airshow: Curtiss Flies Over the Atlantic Ocean
    Curtiss’ biplane is caught in an air eddy and sends him plummeting to within 10 feet of the surf. The plane is slightly damaged, but easily repaired, and Curtiss is in the air again at 6:36 pm. 50,000 witnesses watch as he circles near the Million Dollar Pier and flies out half a mile over the Atlantic Ocean. This eight and a half minute flight is believed to be the first flight ever made over the Atlantic Ocean. Charles Hamilton arrives in Atlantic City.
  • Day Three of the Airshow: Curtiss' Airplane Smashed by a Wave

    Curtiss again has difficulties with his preliminary flight. His propeller breaks when it is smashed by a wave. A new propeller is brought onto the scene, repairs are made and Curtiss makes a flight that is 5 miles long and lasts 12 minutes and 13 seconds. The airshow funds reach $21,119, and the first airplane sale ever made in Atlantic City takes place when Clifford Harmon, the noted amateur aviator, places an order for a Curtiss aircraft.
  • Day Four of the Airshow: Brookins and Coffyn Arrive; High Winds Prevent Flying

    Walter Brookins and Frank Coffyn arrive in Atlantic City with two Wright Brothers airplanes, and Charles Hamilton’s monoplane arrives. High winds prevent Curtiss from attempting any exhibition flights. To satisfy the gathered spectators interests, a Wright biplane is hauled onto Young’s Ocean Pier where it is displayed. $500 more dollars are added to the airshow fund and its total reaches $21,619.
  • Day Five of the Airshow: Competitive Flight Begins; Curtiss Disappears

    Day Five of the Airshow: Competitive Flight Begins; Curtiss Disappears
    Competitive flight events between Curtiss and Brookins begin. At 6:00 pm,Curtiss flies southward toward Ventnor, leaving the line of site of both spectators and officials. Rumors spread that Curtiss’ plane has crashed. Approximately 90 minutes after his disappearance, Curtiss finally phones airshow headquarters to say he landed in Ventnor in order to meet Lt. Hugh Willoughby of Philadelphia, a friend and aviator who is building his own aircraft.
  • Day Six of the Airshow: Brookins Breaks the World Record for Altitude

    Day Six of the Airshow: Brookins Breaks the World Record for Altitude
    Curtiss makes an exhibition flight lasting 10 and a half minutes. It is announced that the aviators will make attempts to break the world’s altitude record. Brookins registers a record-breaking 6,175 feet and wins $5000. Brookins’ flight is wrought with danger. As he reaches his highest point in altitude, his gasoline runs out and he is forced to glide his plane to the ground. In the evening, Brookins is the guest of honor at a party given by the manager of the Ocean Pier, W.E. Shackleford.
  • Day Eight of the Airshow: Curtiss Breaks the Record for Speed Over a 50 Mile Course

    Day Eight of the Airshow: Curtiss Breaks the Record for Speed Over a 50 Mile Course
    Curtiss sets out to break the speed record for a 50 mile flight, with the added caveat of it being a continuous flight over water. The 50 mile course runs between the residence of Joseph N. Shellenberg at 9 South Dover Avenue and Julius Hershon’s rolling chair stand at Massachusetts Avenue and the Boardwalk. Curtis completes the 50 miles in 1 hour, 21 minutes and 5 seconds, establishing an American biplane record. For his performance and heroism, he wins a prize of $5000.
  • Day Nine of the Airshow: Curtiss Wages "War" on Atlantic City

    Day Nine of the Airshow: Curtiss Wages "War" on Atlantic City
    In the final event of Atlantic City’s aviation week, Curtiss gives a demonstration of how airplanes might be used in combat. Curtiss substitutes oranges for bombs and yachts for war vessels, and he wages “war” on the coast of Atlantic City. Brigadier General William Allen Jones, U.S. Engineer Corps, attends the show as a semi-official representative of the Federal Government and is the first to shake Curtiss’ hand. All of the aviators leave Atlantic City by the evening.
  • Day Ten of the Airshow: The Airshow Ends

    The Atlantic City Airshow ends and all of the planes are shipped to their respective destinations.
  • Mechanics Prepare for Asbury Park Airshow

    Mechanics, under the direction of the Wright brothers, spend the day assembling aircraft and preparing for the Asbury Park Airshow. Walter Brookins makes two pre-airshow exhibition flights, and Fred Owens demonstrates flight in his dirigible balloon. Charles Hamilton and Glenn Curtis, once an aviation team, formally split when Hamilton serves Curtiss an injunction to restrain Curtiss from interfering with Hamilton’s flying. This dissolves the contract between the two aviators.
  • First Day of the Airshow

    An airshow is held in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Aviators such as Walter Brookins, Clifford Harmon, Duval La Chapelle, Fred Owens, Johnny Mack, Ralph Johnstone and Arch Hoxsey are featured in the airshow program. While the events are hosted by the city of Asbury Park, the exhibition field is actually located in Interlaken, New Jersey.
  • First Day of the Airshow: Brookins Crashes

    First Day of the Airshow: Brookins Crashes
    On the first day of the Asbury Park Airshow, Walter Brookins crashes into a crowd, injuring 7 people. Brookins, himself, is severely injured, breaking his nose and several teeth. The accident is the first in America in which an airplane crashes and injures spectators. Arch Hoxsey, in an attempt to “keep the show going,” flies the second exhibition flight of the day. Harsh winds force Hoxsey’s aircraft to dart around the field. Onlookers find his flight so terrifying that no one stays to watch.
  • Day Two of the Airshow: Ticket Sales Increase; Hoxsey and Johnstone Fly

    In spite of – or, perhaps, because of – the previous day’s events, the 11th of August sees a 100% increase in ticket sales. Wilbur Wright attends the meet in order to watch his aviators and to be sure that none of them take any chances that may result in a crash. Arch Hoxsey and Ralph Johnstone fly, and Johnstone accomplishes the feat of accurately landing his airplane on a prearranged target.
  • Day Three of the Airshow: Tragedy Strikes

    Day Three of the Airshow: Tragedy Strikes
    New Jersey Governor John Franklin Fort presides over the air meet . The day opens with Arch Hoxsey making a ten minute flight. Frank Coffyn is expected to perform, but a cable snaps on his airplane and his is grounded. Hoxsey and Ralph Johnstone show off some of their acrobatic flying, Tragedy strikes when Benjamin Prince, parachuting from a balloon piloted by Johnny Mack, falls to his death. Prince’s parachute fails to open when he jumps from the aircraft which is floating at 6,000 feet.
  • Day Four of the Airshow: Johnstone Flies Above the Ocean

    Day Four of the Airshow: Johnstone Flies Above the Ocean
    Ralph Johnstone exhibits extraordinary flying. For 35 minutes, at heights continuously above 5,000 feet, he flies out over the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Day Six of the Airshow: Wrights Unveil a New Aircraft

    In order to replace the airplane that Brookins crashed on the first day of the meet, the Wright Brothers ship in an additional plane. This substitute plane is a new model with engineering that is dramatically different from previous Wright Brothers aircraft. It is designed to hold more passengers and to travel greater distances.
  • Day Seven of the Airshow: Scientists Day, Edison in Attendance

    Day Seven of the Airshow: Scientists Day, Edison in Attendance
    August 16th is deemed “Scientists Day” at the Asbury Park Airshow, and Thomas A. Edison is in attendance as the guest of honor. In spite of wind and rain, and against the wishes of airshow officials, Hoxsey and Johnstone make exhibition flights.
  • Day Eight of the Airshow: Rainstorms Ground the Aviators

    The rainstorm from the previous day continues and worsens. The aviators remain grounded for the day.
  • Day Nine of the Airshow: Johnstone Crashes, Brookins Returns

    Day Nine of the Airshow: Johnstone Crashes, Brookins Returns
    Ralph Johnstone’s aircraft crashes, hitting an automobile. Johnstone survives the crash unscathed. Brookins, despite his injuries, reintroduces himself to the airshow and flies for 4 minutes at 200 feet.
  • Day Ten of the Airshow: First Night Flight

    Brookins and Coffyn perform exhibition flights showcasing their prowess as aviators. In the evening, Ralph Johnstone and Arch Hoxsey make the first public nighttime flights. Soaring through the dim sky in Wright Brothers aircraft, the two men fly over Asbury Park and Interlaken, New Jersey.
  • Day Eleven of the Airshow: Final Day of the Airshow

    This is the final day of the Asbury Park Airshow. It is officially confirmed by the Kew Observatory, that J. Armstrong Drexel broke Walter Brookins’ world record for altitude in flight. On August 12th, 1910, J. Armstrong Drexel flew to a height of 6,752 feet in Lanark, Scotland. Ralph Johnstone later shatters Drexel’s altitude – and Brookins’ record for altitude flown on American soil – when he flies to a height of 8,471 feet at the Belmont Park Air Show on August 12, 1910.