AKA John Domenjos & Jean Domenjoz & Upside Down Domenjoz
John Domenjoz
John Domenjoz - 1920
Via email from Jean-Claude Caillez, 4-18-06

John Domenjoz
DOMENJOZ     Biplan Farman moteur Gnôme 50 HP
Collection of Dave Lam, 9-3-07

Via email from Jean-Claude Cailliez - 4-18-06
Dear Ralph
     Looking through your Early pilots web site, I saw you need the above picture of John Domenjoz. I would say his christian name is John (not Jean) and "John" was "a la mode" in the 1880-1900 in Geneva.
     Looking at a question of Gian Picco about how Domenjoz reacted during WW I :
     After barnstorming in Spain, Domenjoz was barnstorming in South-America, (Argentina, Chile, Brasil), when the WW I began. He went back to France, (his official address), and found no mail saying he was called to return in Switzerland to join the army or the new and very small just created Swiss airforce. So, he bought a new Blériot XI airplane, (hard to get because of the war), and returned to South-America (Argentina, Uruguay, etc) and got a chance to do stunts in New York where he was at the end of September 1915. He made many demonstrations and stunt flights, including one over the Statue of Liberty, etc. His Blériot is now on display in the National Air and Space Museum
     At the end of 1916, he came back to France to be a test pilot for the SPAD-VII, before it was used by the army pilots. Then, the USA came into the war. Domenjoz was called to train US pilots at Park Field in Memphis, Tennessee. At the war's end, Domenjoz began barnstorming tours in the US until October 1920 when he returned to France.
     Domenjoz returned to the US in the 1930's and became an American citizen .. and an Early Bird.. He died February 27, 1952. His grave was in the East Cemetery in Manchester, Connecticut, but has since been removed. He had no children.
     Domenjoz is quite unknown in his native city in Geneva. His story includes the discovery of looping with Pegoud in September.1913. Both were pilots for the Bleriot school and test pilots for Louis Blériot. When Pégoud tried looping, ("the youngest, the last to come to work in the firm; if he dies during tests, no problem.....we will keep on and continue with Domenjoz and Peyreon", L.Blériot remarked). A few days later, Domenjoz did better, but Pégoud had the favour of the press and he started to perform stunts all over Europe until Aug.1914. When Peyreon died testing a Blériot airplane a few weeks after the first looping, Domenjoz left Bleriot and also started barnstorming, beginning in Spain, where there was nobody like him at that time (Dec.1913).
Jean-Claude CAILLIEZ
Historien de l'aviation
75, avenue de Mategnin
CH-1217 Meyrin, Suisse

Via email from Jean-Claude Cailliez - 8-20-03
     A few words about John Domenjoz (1886-1952) :
     He was a Swiss citizen, a barnstormer in N.Y and the US during 1915-1920. He became an American citizen in 1937, and is a member of the Early Birds .
     His Blériot airplane is still on public view and is the only Blériot at the National Air And Space Museum, Washington.
     He was the sixth man on earth to "loop the loop". He was not an engineer or a discoverer, but a good stunt pilot who earned money while barnstorming.
     He died old for a stunt pilot of this pre-war time. He never flew in Switzerland ... but was born where I live today.

Via email from Gian Picco, 10-19-05
     Jean Demonjoz - apparently the only one on the continental US performing loop-a-loops with a Breuget airplane, in 1915 and again in 1920, as an exhibition flyer, a certain John C. Jockel acting as his representative.

Via email from Gian Picco, 11-21-05
Extracted from the website,
Le site des pionniers de l'aéronautique à Genève
"Un certain nombre de pilote, frustrés, n’ont pas été mobilisés, à Genève c’est Emile Taddéoli, Paul Wyss, John Domenjoz, etc.. La sélection a exclu les hommes mariés sauf si leur carrière les rendaient indispensables comme Parmelin qui reçoit des offres anglaises et russes et qui se voit alors mobilisé. Plusieurs pilotes font des offres, y compris les frères Dufaux, mais il ne leur sera même pas répondu. Qu’aurait-on fait d’eux, sans avions, sans structures ? Certains s’embaucheront dès 1914 dans les forces françaises, allemandes, italiennes ou même américaine." Jean-Claude Cailliez, historian journalist

Translated version courtesy of Gian Picco
"A number of pilots weren't mobilized in Geneva, including Emile Taddeoly, Paul Wyss, John Domenjos, etc. Selections excluded married men, except if their background made them indispensible as in the case of Parmelin who received offers on part of the British and the Russians and who thereupon is part of the draft. Several pilots offer their services, including the Dufaux brothers, but didn't even receive a reply. What use would they have been serving, without airplanes and without infrastructure? By 1914 some ended up entering service with the French, the German, the Italian and even the American forces."

     Domejoz's mention is interesting in this context, because it raises the question, whether Monsieur Jean-Claude has found further information that suggests that the aviator did fly in Switzerland, or whether his more recent note suggests that he decided to go abroad for pilot training, after his application to the Swiss Air Corps was either turned down or ignored for too long.

     Using the Google search engine on "John Domenjoz", (10-22-05), you will find about 25 links. Perhaps the most helpful is the following.

     This page on the Maine Aviation Historical Society's website offers a very comprehensive biography of John. You will find descriptions of many of the most interesting events in his life and career. You will find mention of his association with many other pioneers including Pegoud, Perreyon, Baxter Adams, and Harry Jones. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

     On this page of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum , you will find a beautiful photograph of his fully restored Blériot XI and a comprehensive history of him and the plane. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

1930 DOMENJOZ GLIDER (Original)
     This page on the THE COLLECTIONS OF THE OWLS HEAD TRANSPORTATION MUSEUM website offers a very nice picture of his glider and a brief description of his experiences at the time. You can access the page by clicking on the title above. A description of the museum is as follows.
     "The Owls Head Transportation Museum has one of the finest collections of pioneer-era aircraft and automobiles in the world. More than 100 historic aircraft, automobiles, bicycles, carriages and engines are on permanent display. The Aircraft Collection contains replicas and originals representing the first century of flight, from Cayley’s unmanned glider (1804) to the legendary Curtiss Jenny of the barnstorming era. An outstanding collection of automobiles spans the late 19th Century and early 20th century, and includes the 1963 Prototype Mustang and a 1935 Stout Scarab (called the world’s first mini-van, one of only six ever made).'
     I heartily recommend that you visit the homepage and take advantage of viewing photos, with explanatory notes, of some 28 examples of aircraft from 1804 to 1946. If time permits, you will also be rewarded by checking the other types of vehicles and engines in the collection.

John Domenjoz died in 1952
From The Early Birds of Aviation
Roster of Members
January 1, 1993

Editor's Note:
If you have any information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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