Bumbaugh Leads Balloon Practice

Recognized in Indianapolis as the "go to guy" for balloon pilot training Captain George Bumbaugh was working with aspiring entrants to the June 5, 1909 national balloon championship at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Several of the men wanting to compete had not yet obtained their pilot's license. Bumbaugh was working with those men, among them Speedway President Carl Fisher. The licensing process required aspiring pilots to complete 10 flights to obtain a license. One flight had to be taken at night and two without a recognized pilot.
This article, published May 18, 1909 in the Indianapolis Star reports on a practice flight Bumbaugh was supervising for Dr. Goethe Link and Russe "R.J." Irvin. Link, an Indianapolis surgeon, had an observatory named in his honor. The men used Charles A. Coey's balloon, the 40,000 cubic feet Chicago and ascended from the Indianapolis gas plant at 21st Street and Fall Creek Boulevard. The ride must have been harrowing as the trio hit a cold air current which contracted the balloon dramatically and forcing an abrupt descent. Comical if not for the circumstances the men frantically threw everything they could overboard - including stripping to their underwear.
The article also reports that entries for the national championship event had closed. Those entered were: the New York with A. Holland Forbes and Clifford Harmon; the Cleveland with A.H. Morgan and J.H. Wade, Jr.; the Indiana with Fisher and Bumbaugh and the St. Louis with A.B. Lambert and H.E. Honeywell. The first man liast as associated with the balloons in bold was the pilot, the other as aid. Two other entries came without balloon names or assistants. The pilots entered were Charles Walsh and John Berry. Note that Forbes' assistant, Clifford Harmon was extremely accomplished in aviation and went on to establish the prestigious Harmon Trophy in 1926.

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