Leighton W. Hazelhurst

Charles B. Winder
Pilots in Training at College Park, Maryland
(l. to r.) National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Charles B. Winder, Ohio:
Army Lieutenants Leighton W. Hazelhurst Thomas Milling, and Paul Beck.
At the control is Curtiss instructor Charles F. Walsh, civilian,
who flew exhibitions in Nebraska before Worlod War I. (Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

Jewish Aviator & Pilot to Be Honored
Friday Night, December 5, 2003
     On December 5, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHSGW) will join Adas Israel in honoring the memory of synagogue member Arthur Welsh (z'l), an aviation pioneer who flew for the Wright Brothers. Beginning at 8:30 PM in the Kogod Chapel, we will hear the relatively unknown story of Arthur Welsh's role as an aviation pioneer, his relationship with the Wright Brothers, and his life as a member of Washington, DC's Jewish community.
     Welsh became interested in aeronautics after he observed Orville Wright's flights at Ft. Myer, VA, in 1909. In 1910, Orville and Wilbur Wright accepted him into their first flying class, where he worked closely with them, first as a student and, subsequently, as a pilot and instructor at the Wright Flight School in Dayton, OH. Among the people Welsh trained were Henry H. (Hap) Arnold, who later became a five-star general and U.S. Army Air Chief of Staff during WWII.
     In 1912, the Wrights sent Welsh to the U.S. Army Signal Corps in College Park, MD, to serve as a civilian test pilot for a new plane for the War Department. On June 11, 1912, Welsh, accompanied by Signal Corps Lt. Leighton W. Hazelhurst, was attempting to complete final military tests of the Wright Model C airplane when the airplane buckled under its 450- pound load. Both men were killed instantly, the first-ever fatalities at College Park. The Washington Times, Jewish Forward, and various aviation publications, including Fly and Aero: America's Aviation Weekly, covered Welsh's death. He is buried in the synagogue's Alabama Street cemetery in Southeast Washington.
     The service will include a discussion of Welsh's life as a Jewish Washingtonian as well as the milieu of early aviation. Several never-before-seen photographs and momentoes of Welsh's work from the JHSGW archives, including a small black and white photograph depicting Welsh preparing for a two-hour test of the Wright military planes on June 3, 1912, will be on display. An Oneg Shabbat reception follows the service.
     We thank Laura Apelbaum and the Jewish Historical Society for helping us honor and remember an important member of our congregation and community.
from the Chronicle, Vol 66, No. 5, December 2003

     If you search for "Leighton W. Hazelhurst +aviation", using the Google search engine, (8-6-10), you will find about 322 links. Back in 2004, there were only nine. Thanks to the internet, you can now learn as much about his life and career as you want.

       Arthur Welsh crashed and died on June 11, 1912, when the Wright Model C aeroplane he was testing failed.
from the Chronicle, Vol 66, No. 5, December 2003
Leighton W. Hazelhurst
Military funeral, Lt. Hazelhurst, 1912
Library of Congress Collection

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

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