AKA Lewis Strang
Louis Strang
Louis Strang
October 21, 1908
Library of Congress Collection, 11-20-07

Two Aviators Plunge to Death.
W. R. Badger and St. Croix Johnstone Meet Death
at Chicago Aviation Meet Tuesday
Both Fatalities Due to Accidents,
Badger Meets Death in Pit
Johnstone Falls 500 Feet Into Lake Michigan
Bangor Daily Commercial,
Wednesday, August 16, 1911
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 11-17-07
Two young aviators, William R. Badger of Pittsburg and St, Croix Johnstone of Chicago lost their lives at the international aviation meet at Chicago, Tuesday. In dying, both revealed the frailty of the craft in which two more aviators were curving and gliding about in the air with scarcely a pause for the deaths of their contemporaries.

Badger flew as he formerly drove racing automobiles, purely as an amateur. He was the stepson of John Goettman of Pittsburg and was 25 years old. He possessed an independent fortune and gratified a well developed speed mania. In the early days of automobiles he was among the first to make amateur records at Daytona and Palm Beach. He was an intimate of Louis Strang, the automobile driver who died beneath the engine of an automobile. Through Strang, Badger became interested in aeroplanes and both became amateur aviators. The meet here, which began last Sunday was Badger's first public appearance. The big mechanical sign board after his death recorded that he had flown up Tuesday, just two hours, 13 minutes and 19 seconds. The flight that ended his life had earned him possibly an hour more when he fell. He dropped just in front of the center of the grandstands and thousands of spectators were within a few hundred yards of the accident. Hundreds leaped the fence, fought past the line of police and into the pit where the wrecked aeroplane lay. There was a near-panic in the field and numerous heads were cracked by police clubs. The injury was announced through the megaphone and five minutes later while Badger was on his way to a hospital, attention and interest had reverted to the men still flying, many of whom offered possibilities of similar thrills and possible fatalities.

Through his friendship with Strang, Badger met Captain Thomas Baldwin. He bought an aeroplane outright and received his flying lessons at Mineola, N.Y. In June, he made a successful flight and was granted a pilot's license. Following this he made further flights and his aviation enthusiasm grew. He practiced with J. C. (Bud) Mars and decided to enter the meet with Mars, although his entry was distinct from the entries controlled by Captain Baldwin. He had planned to finish the meet here and then take the train to Wheeling, whence he wanted to make a triumphal flight in to his home, Pittsburg. He was entered at a coming meet in Boston.


Louis Strang
Strang in His Renault Car
October 21, 1908
Library of Congress Collection, 11-20-07

Louis Strang
Strang's Renault is "Dead" at The Start
Vanderbilt Cup Race - 10-24-1908
Library of Congress Collection, 11-20-07

     If you search for "Louis Strang" +racer, using the Google search engine, (11-18-07), you will find about 50 links. He was best known as a racing car driver. If you use "Louis Strang" +aviation" you will find just four links, only one of which is marginally helpful.

Aviator Starts for Wisconsin, Leaving Long Beach Meet in the Lurch.
     This brief newsclipping, a Special to The New York Times, July 24, 1910, Sunday, simply reports that Strang decided not to take part in a local meet in Long Beach. It does describe the Blériot aeroplane he had planned to fly. If you have registered on this New York Times website, you can read the entire clipping by clicking on the title. Registration is free.
     It is mentioned briefly that:

"They went to the Garden City airport and tried to hire Joe Seymour, George Russell and Philip W. Wilcox"


Lewis Strang, famous automobile racer, who was pinned under his car when
it turned turtle off a five foot embankment

Daring Auto Driver is Killed When Going
Only Five Miles an Hour

To read the whole story, click on the link above.

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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