1885-abt 1920's
René Simon
René Simon & Emile Aubrun
Library of Congress Collection, 7-3-11

René Simon
SIMON sur Monoplan BLÉRIOT
Collection of Dave Lam, 10-10-05

By email from Dave Lam, 1-25-03
     René Simon was on born December 8, 1885 in Paris. He earned his French license # 177 on August 9, 1910 in a Blériot.

     From the 22nd to the 30th of October, New York played host to twenty-seven of the world's leading flyers in a memorable three-nation tournament held at the Belmont Park racetrack on Long Island.
     A total of $72,300 in prize money was a stake--of which $10,000 was earmarked for the winner of a race around the Statue of Liberty. Another $1,000 was thoughtfully set aside "to be distributed among the mechanics of the aviators as a recognition of their services." Top billing, however, was given to the second contest for the Gordon Bennett trophy--and the first on American soil.
     American hopes were pinned on an all-star Wright delegation: Walter Brookins, selected to pilot the dark-horse Model R racer, of Orville's creation --a junior-size "headless" machine, lacking a front elevator and with a 21-foot wing span and an eight-cylinder, 60-hp engine; Ralph Johnstone, a specialist in high flying; his rival in altitude, Arch Hoxsey (who had taken up former President Theodore Roosevelt at St. Louis on October 11); and either Phillip O. Parmalee or J. Clifford Turpin. In the Curtiss camp were Charles F. Willard; James C. (Bud) Mars, a former balloonist and parachute jumber; J.A.D. McCurdy, charter member of the Aerial Experiment Association; and Eugene Burton Ely, whose later exploits were to earn him a place in America's Aviation Hall of Fame. Charles K. Hamilton entered his Hamiltonian--a biplane modeled on the Curtiss and powered by an eight-cylinder, 110-hp motorcar engine designed by Walter Christie. Captain Thomas Baldwin appeared with the Red Devil, constructed on the same order; and Clifford Harmon cast his lot with a Henry Farman. Flying Blériots were John B. Moisant, who in August had made the front pages by carrying his mechanic and a yowling kitten, Mademoiselle Parce, from Parks to London in just under three weeks; and J. Armstrong Drexel, fresh from European successes. Todd Shriver, Curtiss's former mechanic, was named pilot of a confection known as the Howard-Dietz biplane. And millionaire Harry S. Harkness, who had taken his license just three days before the meet, was enjoying the distinction of being the only man in America to own an Antoinette. (continued)
     France entered Alfred Leblanc, Count Jacques de Lesseps, Emile Aubrun, René Simon and René Barriere, all flying Blériots.
Extract from CONTACT
The Story of the Early Birds
by Henry Serrano Villard
(page 107)

     The new daredevils captured the attention of the entire country, and Louisiana was no exception. While many marveled at the very act of flying, others quickly saw business potential. In New Orleans a committee under the leadership of Crawford H. Ellis envisioned aviation not only as a new tool for business, but also as an excellent way of promoting the city itself.
     For over a week, spectators turned out at City Park to watch aviators perform stunts and attempt to break altitude, speed, and duration records. In a Blériot monoplane French aviator René Simon broke the world's record for one mile in 57 seconds. In a land-air race with an automobile, Moisant came in a close second. (continued)
Excerpt from the Early Aviation in Louisiana website.

René Simon
René Simon
South Bend, Indiana, 1911
     French aviator René Simon completed the first successful flight in South Bend before a crowd of 30,000 excited onlookers in 1911
Photo & Text from the South Bend Regional Airport website.

René Simon
AUG. 31-1911---- FREEPORT, ILL, ----

Collection of Jerry Blanchard, 9-16-07

Rene Simon
Fred Heegel
---- FREEPORT, ILL, ----
Collection of Jerry Blanchard, 9-14-07

AIRSHOW, Houston, Texas 1911
Sitting, l-r: Joseph Seymour, John Frisbie, Rene Simon ('flying fool'),
Edmund Audemars, Rene Barrier, Roland Garros, Peter Young (manager),
and Charles Hamilton (standing)
From AIRSHOW, Houston, Texas 1911
By permission of Story Sloane, 10-12-09

     Moisant's International Aviators had a cosmopolitan caast of characters. There were a trio of Frenchmen, Roland Garros (who had been more and underestudy than a star at Belmont), a sympathetic type who played the lead for Moisant and was billed as "The Cloud Kisser"; René Simon, whom the press agents called "The Fool Flyer"; and René Barrier--touted (with more imagination that realism) as "Record Holder of Flights over Cities." Then there was Edmond Audemars, of Geneva, Switzerland, whose short stature, toothbrush moustache, and bow tie inevitably earned him the name "Tiny"--pilot of "the smallest and most dangerous aeroplane in the world." (continued)
Extract from CONTACT
The Story of the Early Birds
by Henry Serrano Villard
(page 115)

James Radley
Monjau - Audemars - Radley - Moissant - Aubrun - Simon
Edmond Audemars - John Moissant
Emile Aubrun - René Simon
Library of Congress, 7-13-08

     If you search for "René Simon", using the Google search engine, (9-16-07), you will find about 39,000 links!!! One I used to good advantage is the following.
Genealogy Trails
Stephenson Co IL
"Aviation in Freeport"
     This website is a rich source of information and discusses the careers of several of the pioneers including Fred Heegel, John J. Frisbie, Daniel A. Kreamer, and René Simon. It covers the period from 1910 to 1929 and includes many photographs which illustrate the stories. You can access the site by clicking on the title.


The Story of the Early Birds
Man's first decade of flight from Kitty Hawk to World War I
Henry Serrano Villard

Foreward by S. PAUL JOHNSTON
Director, National Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian Institution

In today's age of space probes and moon rockets, it is hard to believe that the aeroplane is scarcely sixty years old. Here Henry Serrano Villard, who knew many of the pioneer pilots and flew in their "bits of stick and string,"re-creates the romantic era when man first dared the miracle of flight. His anecdotal account, illustrated with 125 photographs--many from his personal album--covers the decade and a half of aeronautical history from the Wright brothers' exploits at Kitty Hawk to the outbreak of World War I.
Editor's Note:

I had the pleasure of knowing Henry for several years before his death. I found him to be a delightful companion and a remarkable source of information on the entire field of aviation. I can recommend his book, without hesitation, as an essential resource for anyone interested in the history of early aviation.

René Simon
Au Capitaine René Simon, chef pilote à la première école d'acrobatie aérienne.
Les anciens pilotes de chasse 1914-1918.

       In a new book CHASING ICARUS: THE SEVENTEEN DAYS IN 1910 THAT FOREVER CHANGED AMERICAN by Gavin Mortimer, it's stated on page 263 that Rene Simon was killed in a flying accident sometime in the 1920s. It doesn't say what year, but I'm still trying to find that out.
Pete Jones. 5-25-11
Editor's Note:
If you have any information on this Early Flier,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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