Coeys at Balloon Practice

This image was published in the Indianapolis News on Saturday May 29, 1909 as part of the paper's coverage of events leading up to the June 5, 1909 national balloon championship hosted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Pictured are Charles A. Coey and Mrs. Coey, wife of the aviator who was also the first woman to ascend from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a balloon. Mr. Coey, according to the report, is the man seated in the balloon near the woman, his wife. Coey was the pilot for the largest balloon in the race, the massive 110,000 cubic foot Chicago. The balloon was so large it did not conform to regulations for the national championship race and had to be confined to the secondary handicap trophy race.
The Indianapolis News was an evening paper and I believe this photo is same-day coverage of a practice event that occurred that day. This event was the maiden voyage of the Captain George L. Bumbaugh-designed "Hoosier," which was piloted by Captain Thomas L. Baldwin in the race. However the newspaper is not clear about exactly when the photos were taken or the specifics of the event so it is possible this image is part of a photo essay of events from a week earlier during the very first balloon ascensions from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. My money, however, is on the guess that these are images captured at the Hoosier christening. Follow the links above for articles on those events for more detail.

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