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LINCOLN AVIATION PERSONALITIES BEFORE 1930

Lincoln can boast of a colorful parade of fliers in aviation's formative decades: Joe and Bob Westover were mechanics for Ruth Law, pre-World War I aviatrix. The Nebraska National Guard produced Capt. Ralph McMillen, killed at a Kansas air show in 1916, and Lt. Edgar (Happy) Bagnell, WWI flier. In the 1920's Ray and Ethel Page operated the Lincoln Standard Aircraft Company, which included a factory and training school. Its barnstorming Aerial Pageant attracted talented pilots: Pete Hill, Earl Barnes, Eyer Sloniger, and Ira O. Biffle, Charles Lindbergh's flight instructor. Equally noted were parachutists and wing walkers Dick Hazelrig, Lt. Charles and Kathryn Hardin, Milo Siel, teenage Harlan Gurney, and Encil Chambers. Other Lincoln Standard personalities included John (Salty) Saltzman, head mechanic, and veteran of the NC flying boat Atlantic crossing; Ernest S. Sias, school administrator; Otto Timm, pilot and designer; and Nelson Gotshall, executive. Errol G. Bahl, Lark Monoplane designer, barnstormed the area. John (Augie) Pedlar, pilot in the Dole-sponsored California-Hawaii race of 1927, was lost in the Pacific.

Page (1882-1933), a native of Friend, Nebraska, and his flying student Lindbergh stand out as major figures in Lincoln's early aviation years. Though Lincoln's promise as an aviation center faded and the industry centered elsewhere, memories of its intrepid aerial pioneers remain.

 

Friends of Lincoln Aviation
Lincoln Scout Troop 63
Nebraska State Historical Society
Lincoln Municipal Airport
Lancaster County
Historical Marker 224

 


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Last updated 4 June 2004

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