Frank Johnson
Ralph Johnson
Ralph Johnson
     Air Mail Pilot Ralph Johnson, motor quit at low altitude account of weather conditions, struck this farm house at 9:30 P.M. The farmers were all in bed asleep when this took place. The aircraft was a Liberty Powered Douglas. Johnson was not injured. The farmers said afterward that they thought a cyclone had hit the house.
Photo and text from collection of Lester Bishop
Courtesy of David Balanky

Mail Plane
Ralph Johnson

Photo and text from collection of Lester Bishop
Courtesy of David Balanky

"In Flights at Montreal, The Wright Brothers' Machines Carried off the Honors, a Former Bike Rider Doing EspeciallySpectacular Stunts."
Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: June 28, 1910
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 9-23-03
"Montreal, June 27. - Eight successful flights were made by heavier-than-air machines at Aviation Park this evening, the feature of the day's performance being the work of the Wright biplanes. Four of these machines are here and each was in the air today for periods varying from five to thirty-five minutes.
     The longest flight was made by Ralph Johnston, the former trick bicycle rider, who went through an amazing series of spectacular tricks. He was up thirty-five minutes, soared to a high altitude, came down again, dipped his machine - made quick turns and rocked the machine from side to side in the way that recalled his handling of a bicycle.
     DeLesseps, in his Bleriot monoplane, a less powerful machine than the one he will use later on, did the same two turns in 4:35. The Count made two very successful flights during the afternoon."
Bob Davis

Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: July 1, 1910
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 9-23-03
Montreal, July 2. - "The holiday crowd of 20,000 people which attended the aviation meet at Lakeside today saw eleven flights. One made by Walter Brookins, in his Wright biplane, lasted forty-five minutes. He attained an officially certified height of 3,150 feet.
     Ralph Johnson, one of the Wright aviators, smashed his machine beyond repair while making a landing."
Bob Davis

     If you search for "Ralph Johnson" using the Google search engine, (11-7-03), you will find about 343 links.

     On this page of Nancy Allison Wright's Airmail Pioneers website, you will find an entry for Ralph which shows him serving from August 25, 1924 to June 30, 1927. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.
     If time permits, you should take the opportunity to sample some of the many others features on this site. You can access the homepage by clicking on the name above.
Alice's Memories of the Pilots
     "The pilots who were friends of my father and who ate my mother's chicken dinners went on to make more aviation history: E. Hamilton Lee, David L. Behncke, and a little known pilot, Ira Biffle, who taught a young man named Charles Lindbergh to fly. A little later, a young pilot named Elrey B. Jeppeson joined their ranks. Even though I was very young and saw them briefly at both the McGirr and later Waterman airports, I recognized these friends of our family as heroes, and I remember them well. "
     The paragraph excerpted above from the website will serve to introduce the stories of the memories of pilots who Alice knew as a young lady. It includes a few brief remarks on Ralph Johnson. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.
Journal of the Retired United Pilots Association
     This pdf file of The RUPANEWS, Journal of the Retired United Pilots Association has a mention of Ralph Johnson. This issue of the journal is dated April, 2001, which implies that Ralph was alive up to that date. Although I don't know the date of his birth, the fact that he was flying the airmail in 1927 suggests to me that he might have been 90 years old at the time. I will contact the officers of the association to ascertain if the Ralph Johnson of their group is the same person as described on this webpage. You can access the journal by clicking on the title. You may want to use the FIND function to locate his entry point.
I have not been able to find the dates of his birth or his death.
Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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