Art Smith
ART SMITH - 1915
Photo from the collection of Randy Harter
Fort Wayne, IN, 4-2-04
     Using the Google search engine on "Art Smith +aviation", (4-3-04), you will find about 333 links. If time permits, you may want to check a number of the links. The most comprehensive revue of Art's early life and career is found in the article just below.

By Rachel Sherwood Roberts
     This article was originally published in the fall 1998 issue of TRACES OF INDIANA & MIDWESTERN HISTORY, a publication of the Indiana Historical Society. It is perhaps the most comprehensive to be available online.
     The author, Rachel Sherwood Roberts, is writing a book-length biography of Art Smith which will be published by McFarland & Company. To access the story, which is currently, (4-3-04), available on Nancy Allison Wright's remarkable Air Mail Pioneers website, click on the title above.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Magazine, April 23, 1939
Richmond Air Show of 1909
By Woolner Calisch
       In 1915, however, Richmonders were given their final initiation into the art of flying through the exhibitions of a young daredevil by the name of Art Smith. Aviator Smith was Richmond's first stunt pilot, and, although he received a terrific buildup, he warranted it and pleased his public no end. The reporter for the Times-Dispatch went overboard for him, based on the following excepts from his stories:
     "The first real sensation came when Art Smith, aviator, soaring in his aeroplane at a height of about 1,000 feet over the northwestern section of the race track, seemingly lost control of his machine. The aeroplane, which in the preceding quarter of an hour had skimmed and curved its way as easily and gracefully as a humming bird on the wing, suddenly halted abruptly in the air and threw a somersault. Hundreds of those among the spectators a thousand feet below joined in a gasp of horror. Another gasp went up a minute later when it was seen the plane was righting itself and the daring aviator was in his seat. This time, it was a gasp of relief. The next minute, Smith was steering far another loop, and it became apparent to the bewildered throng below that the first quick loop was not accidental. Amazement grew in the succeeding five minutes, which the daredevil airman devoted to putting his craft through a series of somersaults. He described in the air the orbit known as the loop nine consecutive times without entirely righting his machine." And that night, Art Smith made more aviation history for Richmond when he gave the first after-dark exhibition.
     Let the Times-Dispatch reporter of that day again tell you about it. "With bated breath and tense with excitement, thousands of fairgoers last night witnessed the most daring aerial flight ever seen in Richmond, when Art Smith, daredevil aviator, shot, meteorlike, through the air and executed the thrilling evolutions that have made him famous as a birdman the world over. Rising slowly from the far end of the race track to the south of the grand stand, the aeroplane glided easily and gracefully into space, starting on its flight northward after sailing several hundred feet into the air. Intermittent streams of fire blazed out from the rear of the machine as it sped along its course. After circling the race track twice, the flames became continuous, and, comet-like, the machine blazed its way into space. Then the thrilling evolutions began. First swooping downward, as if to come to earth, the daring aviator regained his equilibrium and proceeded to 'loop the loop.' Following up this sensational flight, Art Smith executed the 'side roll,' flew upside down and did all kinds of stunts that made the man in the grand stand hold his breath and wonder what was coming next.
     Smith made flights and performed stunts on the next two days and nights of the fair, and the reported story includes the following:
     "Among the feats he performed were flying his plane wing over wing, executing the side roll, flying the plane tail first, throwing the back flop, looping the loop, and, finally, describing in a vertical descent an almost perfect spiral."
     Editor's Note: These paragraphs were selected from the whole article which describes in detail the Richmond Air Show of 1909. To read the entire interesting article, which includes references to many pioneer aviators, just click on:
Richmond Air Show of 1909
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Art Smith
Loop the Loop
Mr. & Mrs. Art Smith
The first Couple in the world to elope in an aeroplane
View Copyright 1914 Crawford Studios Hillsdale Mich
Contributed by W. J. Deane, 1-14-12
Cupid Enters Aviation
in Plane Elopement

from an unidentified newsclipping
Collection of Todd McVickar, 6-26-07
     Cupid played his part early in the history of aviation.
     The first airplane elopment took place in 1913 when Art Smith and Amie Coar, of Fort Wayne, Ind., flew to another state and got married.
     Smith had made his mark in the field of aviation.
     His father, a cabinet-maker, assisted him in building his first airplane. Smith's mother sewed the canvas for the wings.
     Smith entered the Chicago Air Show in 1912, flying out of Cicero Field and Hawthorne Race Track, where several of the events took place. He also was a frrequent visitor to the community.
     On March 13, 1915, he became the first pilot to "loop the loop" at night, and was also the first to perform sky-writing with smoke emitted from jets on wingtips.
     He later became an air mail pilot and was killed at Bryant, O., while flying his regular mail route.

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