Bumbaugh Works His Dirigible - 1910

This image of Hoosier aviator George L. Bumbaugh first appeared in the Sunday, April 17, 1910 Indianapolis Star and supported an amazing article written by the outstanding motorsports journalist Peter Paul "P.P." Wllis who reported on the growing field of entries for the upcoming June air show at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as well as the burgeoning interest in the Hoosier state for all things aeronautical.
Bumbaugh is shown working on this famous giant dirigible - named "The Indianapolis Star" - presumbably on the grounds of the Brickyard. Speedway Founder and President Carl Fisher had a grand vision of the track as not only a proving ground for automobiles but also aircraft. He foresaw a growing influence of aviation on the lives of people much as other recently developed technologies such as the automobile, telephone, light bulb and phonograph had already changed the lifestyles of people. As a result, Fisher, who was mentored by Bumbaugh in the fine art of ballooning, established an airfield in the center of the track's infield complete with an aerodrome facility that boasted a machine shop and high-ceiling hanger designed with aircraft in mind. Indeed, the photo may have been taken inside the aerodrome.
Bumbaugh and Fisher were undoubtedly good friends and shared a balloon, the Indiana, in the first competitive sports event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in June 1909. Fisher authored an account of their harrowing adventure when they were drawn into an intense thunderstorm. I have to note the gentleman ducking his head into the picture at the left side of the photograph - could he be the original photobomber?

Bumbaugh_Dirigible.jpg411.19 KB