Promises Broken: Charles Forster Willard

This image first appeared in the Indianapolis Star on September 26, 1909. It was published in association with an article within an attachment to my "Big Aero Dreams" article found elsewhere on First Super Speedway.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Founder and President Carl Fisher was a leading advocate to position his track as the American capital of aviation. The economic benefits to Indianapolis of being the center of a burgeoning industry were obvious and got civic leadership excited.
While Speedway management had recently consumed a bit of crow by having to cancel a much ballyhooed aviation show that was planned for October 14 they continued to pursue the opportunity to host the 1910 international air show featuring the James Gordon Bennett Cup for airplanes. This effort would fail also as Belmont Park in New York hosted that contest. The landmark inaugural edition of that event had been staged in Rheims, France just weeks earlier in August.
Part of the hype leading up to the October 1 cancelation of the fall air show was the promise of attracting some of the top aviation pilots of the day. This image is of one of them, Charles Forster Willard, who is credited with being one of the key organizers of the first Los Angeles aviation show. Willard also raced cars as many of the men who pariticpated in motor racing were interested in both automobiles and airplanes. Willard was also one of aviation superstar Glenn Curtiss' first students for pilot training.

C.F. Willard.jpg1.29 MB