Bumbaugh Family

This image was published in the Indianapolis Star on May 18, 1909. It shows the wife and daughter of expert balloon constructor and pilot Captain George Bumbaugh who was working with Dr. Goethe Link and Russe "R.J." Irvin. Link was an aspiring entrant 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 photo accompanied an article Star and reported on the practice flight. 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.
Another of Coey's balloons, the Kathleen, which was used in the first aerial ascension from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was named after Bumbaugh's daughter, Kathleen Bumbaugh.

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