I need a picture of him. If you can help, please contact me.


Kansas City Times
Kansas City, Missouri: September 21, 1912, Saturday
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 6-17-04
Kansas City Flier Killed at Fall at Shenandoah, Ia.,
Fatal to Russell G.Blair. Had Been in the Business Only a Month
First Flight at Overland Park - Balky Engine Caused the Accident
     Fifty feet above a carnival crowd at Shenandoah, Ia., yesterday an aeroplane bucked suddenly in a gust of wind, the wings crumpled and the machine fell heavily to earth. Death came to Russell G. Blair, Kansas City, 22 years old, chauffeur and aviator. He fell, pinioned beneath the 140-pound motor, his neck broken and his body cut by the propeller. Death was instantaneous.
     Blair was making his second flight of the afternoon - his contract called for but one. The engine of his Curtiss-Farman type biplane, which was built in Kansas City by J. C. McCallum and Frank W. Smith, was working poorly. He descended to a field to investigate the trouble. Soon he started back to the aviation park. His machine struck an air pocket and fell.
Was a Chauffeur for Ernest Jaccard
     A year ago last spring Blair, the son of Frank Blair, an employee of the post-office living at 404 East Twenty-seventh Street, became a mechanician for McCallum. He had been a motor car driver for several years and was a student of gas motors. When the machine McCallum was perfecting was completed Blair learned to fly it. In Coffeyville, Baldwin and Fort Scott, Kas., and Butler, Mo., he made several exhibition flights. In Fort Scott his machine struck a tree and fell eighty feet. It was damaged but Blair was not injured.
     The McCallum company discontinued operations finally and Blair became chauffeur for Ernest Jaccard of the Jaccard Jewelery Company, last summer McCallumand Smith rebuilt their machine, using a Smith 40-horsepower motor. Its speed was forty-five miles an hour. On August 27 Blair made two 18-mile flights at Overland Park and a dozen shorter ones. But his engine gave him much trouble and often burned out. A week ago he was saved from injury only by alighting in a corn field near the park. Blair and McCallum left for Shenandoah Wednesday night and expected to return Sunday.
Information provided by:
Sara J. Nyman, Special Collections Librarian,
Missouri Valley Room
Kansas City Public Library
14 W. 10th Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64105


Editors, Historic Aviation Magazine
Product Details
Softbound: 103 pages; 8 1/2" x 10 7/8"
List Price: $55.00
Publisher: Cub Flyers Publications,
Kansas City, ca. 1974
"AVIATION HISTORY IN GREATER KANSAS CITY" was compiled by the editors of Historic Aviation Magazine, illustrated by photographs, sketches and 3-view drawings of the planes and flyers of the area. Kansas City's first aerial adventure occured in 1869 with a balloon ascension, and it hasn't stopped yet! Their International Balloon Race of 1911 is given coverage, then early flights by heavier than air craft, barnstorming,and finally aircraft construction. The local pilots are covered quite thoroughly, many of whom are still well known today in aviation circles.
The staples have come loose from the cover of this used copy, and it shows some wear and soiling in a few places, but is still a sound and complete copy internally. A hard to find history of early aviation in the American Midwest.
A used copy of this book was available from the Aviation Activities website. ( 1-6-05) You may access the site by clicking on:
Aviation Activities

J. C. McCallum
Three paragraphs extracted from
by Bob Davis, 6-17-04
     "The first successful airplane "made in Kansas City" was a tractor biplane designed, built and flown by J. C. McCallum of Overland Park, Kansas. McCallum's first flight in the Farman-like craft occurred in August, 1910, and he reached a height of 30 to 35 feet and flew a quarter of a mile. Later in the week a flight of three-quarters of a mile was made.
     First tests of the craft, powered by a 70-hp engine, were made in secret in the middle of a large Kansas wheat field. When the biplane had demonstrated its ability to fly, it was moved to Overland Park, where the successful flights were made in August.
     Besides its tractor propeller arrangement, the McCallum aircraft differed from the Farman and Curtiss biplanes in that the entire wing could be tilted to change the angle of incidence in a turn. Ailerons were also incorporated in a manner similar to the Curtiss arrangement. It was reported that the tilting wing enabled the biplane to execute tighter turns with less roll, thereby producing a more stable and more maneuverable machine.

I have no information as to the dates of his birth or his death.
Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Flier,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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