Airplanes @ IMS 99 Years Ago


The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted their first and only aviation meet 99 years ago this week. The Wright Brothers were the marquee names of the meet, but one of their pilots, 21-year-old Walter Brookins, emerged as the star of the show. Brookins amazed onlookers with his pirouettes in the sky and by setting a new world altitude record of over one mile in the sky. To appreciate the accomplishment, recognize the equipment he was working with. He used an early Wright Brothers bi-plane with canvass stretched over a skeletal from of metal tubing and wood. A good analogy might be to describe the equipment as a motorized kite - with the pilot pulling strings to adjust flaps for direction. Amazing stuff. Interesting, too, that Speedway Carl Fisher took a ride with Orville Wright at one point in the meet. Fisher was a daredevil and a man who savored the sensations of living.