I need a photo of him. If you can help, please contact me.
In 1914, The Aero Club of St. Louis conducted its first major balloon race in four years. Sporadic heavier-than-air activity progressed at Kinloch Park and Tom Benoist continued his airplane manufacturing concern in the city. The pioneer aviation industrialist had even scored a historic "first" on March 1, 1912, when he participated in the first parachute jump ever made from an airplane. The idea for the stunt was conceived by Benoist, who also built the biplane that was used for the flight. Tony Jannus and Albert Berry (the celebrated St. Louis balloon pilot and manufacturer), too off from Kinloch Field at 2:30 that afternoon and flew 17 miles to Jefferson Barracks in South St. Louis, over which the jump was to be made.
     E.S. Cole of St. Louis had made only 21 flights, but he held the distance record for balloons of 40,000- cubic-foot capacity, established on a 375-mile flight in 1910. With R.E. Emerson as his aide, he would pilot the 80,000-cubic-foot San Francisco in 1915.

In the year following the end of the Great War, St. Louis moved into its readjustment by once again turning to the aeronautic activity which had made the city one of the primary air centers in the United States. In 1919, balloon racing returned to St. Louis in the form of two significant events. They were conducted by the Missouri Aeronautical Society, the successor to the Aero Club of St. Louis.
     The inter-service event was scheduled to start on September 26, 1919, from the grounds of the Missouri Aeronautical Society at Meramec Park (Formerly Priester's Park) at Grand Boulevard and Meramec Street. This contest was to be "the first of its kind ever held in this country" and it was planned as an annual affair.
     Each branch of the service had entered three contestants, vying for military prestige, as well as the silver trophy, which would be awarded to the winning department.
     The Naval contingent was composed of: Lieutenant H.W. Hoyt and Ensign F.W. Reichelderfer, Akron Ohio; Ensign J.H. Stevens and Lieutenant W.R. Reed, Pensacola, Florida; Lieutenant Junior Grade R. Emerson and Ensign F.L. Sloman, Washington, D.C.
     Lieutenant Emerson and Ensign Sloman of Washington crossed Lake Michigan in the Navy #52, but were brought roughly to earth at 10:20 a.m. September 27, when their drag rope caught in a tree and caused the balloon to rip itself open as it came to the ground.
     The Geological Survey in Washington computed the distances of the four contestants who had actually competed in the race, and on October 9 announced the results:
1) Army #1 - Captain E.P. Phillips, pilot and First Lieutenant
Byron T. Burt, aide. 491.8 miles to Door Peninsula, Michigan.
2) Navy #52 - Lieutenant R. Emerson, pilot and Ensign F. L.
Sloman, aide. 486.4 miles to a point two miles northwest of Stitts-
ville, Michigan
3) Navy #50 Ensign J.H. Stevens, pilot and Lieutenant W.R.
Reed, aide. 479 miles to a point four miles north of Menominee,

Lieut W Reed (left) and chief rigger Kit Mallenax (right) at Pensacola, 1922,
flyers of Navy balloon used in Milwaukee race that year.

     So frequently we are asked: who attended the first EB meeting, where was it held, and when? You also might like to have this information, so we are listing below the time, place, attendance, and officers on that first occasion.
     The meeting was held in Chicago on that famous date in history --- December 17, 1928 --- the 25th anniversary of the first Wright flight at Kittyhawk.
On hand and elected to membership were;
  *Ernie Jones
*Capt. Horace Wild
L. A. Vilas
*Richard H. Depew, Jr.
Ivan J. Gates
*Col. Chas. de F. Chandler
*P. G. B. Morris
Capt. J. F. deVillard
*Anthony H. B. Fokker
Dr. H. W. Walden
Chas. Dickerson
Marjorie Stinson

Members elected to office were as follows:
*P. G. Morris, President
Gen. B. Foulois, Vice President
*A. H. G. Fokker, Vice President
J. F. deVillard, Vice President
Lt. Col. H. C. Richardson, Treasurer
*E. L. Jones, Secretary
*R. H. Depew, Jr.
Raffe Emerson
*Earle Ovington
Dr. H. W. Walden
*Walter Brookins
     The asterisks indicate those who have passed away --- a vivid example of how the ranks are thinning.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP
July, 1956, Number 54

from Bob Davis, 1-3-08
Who's Who of Ballooning by Robert J. Rechs, November 21, 1983, 361 pages shows Emerson as a pilot in both the 1919 and 1920 U S. National Balloon Races and he was born in Austin, Texas on an unspecified date and his license was an 'original' "issued on/about 14 Aug. 1908." The first 58 appear to have been in the original batch.

Raffe Emerson died in 1962
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP
January 1973, Number 79

City of Flight
City of Flight : The History of Aviation...
The History of Aviation in St. Louis
by James J. Horgan
The Patrice Press.

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