1877 - 1912
Charles Walsh
Charles Walsh
CHARLES F. WALSH, abt 1892
Collection of Ernie Sansome
Collection of Ernie Sansome
CHAPTER 1. Charles Walsh!.....Who's Charles Walsh!
     Charles Walsh born, Oct., 1877, Early Days in Mission Valley, California, Charlie marries Alice, Sept., 1903, Seeking gold in Goldfield, NV, Goldfield Dies, 1907, Charlie works for the Union Pacific, News of the Wright Brothers, 1908, State Senator Wright supports Walsh
CHAPTER 2. Charlie Builds his First Aeroplane
     San Diego Aeroplane Mfg. Co., Sept., 1909, Dominguez Air Meet, Jan, 1910, San Diego Air Meet, 1910.
CHAPTER 3. Charlie's First Flight
     Charlie's second airplane, Charlie solos, 1910,
CHAPTER 4. Ed Pickell Offers Engine, Harry Harkness Finances
     Playa del Rey Motordrome Meet, 1910, Charlie helps Glenn L. Martin, Macomber Rotary Engine
CHAPTER 5. 1st Family Airplane Flight
     Charlie's First Family Flight, Feb., 1911
CHAPTER 6. Exhibition Aviator
      Charlie Fails Flying Test, April, 1911, Charlie becomes solvent, Charles F. Walsh...Exhibition Aviator, First exhibition flights, May, 1911, First License in California
CHAPTER 7. Curtiss Exhibition Company
     Curtiss Exhibition Company, Aug., 1911, Exhibition in Cuba, Dec., 1911
CHAPTER 8. Walsh Tests Plane for Army
     Lincoln Beachey banned by Army, April, 1912, Charlie completes tests, Charlie applies for FAI license,April, 1912, Charlie returns to fair circuit, 1912,
CHAPTER 9. The Final Curtain
     Charles' last letter to Alice, Charlie crashes, Oct. 3, 1912,
CHAPTER 10. Epilogue
     Epilogue, Alice Marries Antone Martin, Desert Christ Park

from Michael J. Floriani, 8-29-05
     Michael has found and copied several articles from the Reading Eagle of Reading, Pennsylvania which report on Charles Walsh's featured flights at the local celebration. You can read the transcripts by clicking on the titles below.
  1. Tuesday, August 6, 1912
2. Wednesday, August 7, 1912
3. Thursday, August 8, 1912

     A unique and fascinating gallery of photographs has been provided by Brian DeFord. As he describes it:
     "The following photos are scanned images from negatives I acquired late 2001. These are a few of the 30 or so negatives I have in my possession of early aviation pioneer Charles F. Walsh. While the detail may not be the greatest, keep in mind that these were generated from 92 years old negatives!"
     To access his site and enjoy this valuable resource, just click on:
Charles F. Walsh

Editor's Note: This is one of the most remarkable and beautiful collection of photographs I have ever seen. It is definitely a must-see for anyone interested in early aeroplanes and aviators. My thanks to Brian DeFord for making them available to the online community.

     Early in 1909, before Paulhan came to Los Angeles for its first exhibition, Bernard F. Roehrig and Charles F. Walsh had begun building airplanes. The summer of 1910 he had completed a beautifully contructed Farman-type, with stick control, whose workmanship exceeded that of its prototype. After trials with a six cylinder air cooled Cameron auto engine flights were finally made in July of 1910. With Walsh's Curtiss type the two established a windy camp at Imperial Beach, adjoining Coronado Heights on the south, here George E. A. Hallett visited Sundays and helped Walsh with his three cylinder Elbridge. Blanche Scott had completed her transcontinental auto trip and the ocal Overeland agent arranged with Roehrig to celebrate her achievement in a flight with Roehrig but during the day the machine was crashed and the evening's flight was off.
courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir

     Augustin was born in Key West and was educated there. After Cuba was liberated, the family returned to Havana where he continued his education. In 1912 Charles F. Walsh, an American aviator took Augustin on his first flight seated on one of the wings of the plane. There began his enthusiasm for aviation. He received his pilots license at the Curtiss School of Aviation in Miami on April 20, 1912.
Editor's Note: This anecdote was kindly provided by Thomas Peterson, the great-grandnephew of Augustin.
He is being assisted by his grandmother and great-grandmother, the sister of Augustin. I am greatly indebted to him and the family.

by Bob Noyer
The year Nineteen Hundred Twelve found the world, and Winchester, literally awash in what the Press called New Fangled Inventions: the automobile, farm tractors, telephones and radio, the electric light, and the aeroplane. All of these were familiar to readers of the newspapers and magazines of the day, however only a very few had actually seen an aeroplane.

Soon this was about to change for Winchesterians. An aeroplane was coming!

While the Wright brothers had been perhaps the first to accomplish powered flight a bit more than eight years prior, there were earlier forms of flying, notably lighter-than-air (balloons). The Winchester Evening Star advertises Balloon Ascensions during the county fair, Sept. 11, 1911. But this was not the “first’ I was seeking: powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine--an aeroplane-- soaring over the skies of Winchester. When? What machine? Who was the Pilot? And where was the Landing Field?

To read the rest of the fascinating story, click on the title above.


Biplane Collapses When Daring Birdman Attempts Spiral Descent
After Climb of 4,000 Feet.
Collection of Ernie Sansome
     Charles F. Walsh, bird man at the Inter-State Fair, was dashed to his death in full view of thousands of people in the grand stand and about the grounds, late this afternoon.
     Walsh fell about 2,000 feet while attempting to make a spiral descent after a perfect climb ot a height of at least 4,000 feet.
     The accident was due to the collapse of one of the planes of the car, although the exact reason for the mishap will probably never be known.
     The biplane was about three quarters of a mile from the crowded grand stand and far above the earth, when Walsh began his spiral descent. He made three perfect turns and was about to swing around on the fourth, when suddenly the car seemed to turn on one end, pointing downward. Then it was seen from the ground that one of the immense planes was broken.
     For a moment or two those on the ground could see the aviator struggling desperately to regain his balance by trying to clmb up over the unbroken parts of his car. Then the whole apparatus took a sudden shift, crashing and tangled to the ground.
     The sight was one such as is seldom seen. The vast crowd at the --some sixty thousand persons was hushed into almost death-like silence as man and air struggled for the supremacy. Then as the monster bird-like machine tore asunder the crowd gasped in horror, to see the flier dashed to his doom. Women almost fainted at the awful sight, and men turned away.
     It was however, all over in a minute or two and then there was a rush to the scene--friends and associates of the unfortunate man hoped against hope to be able to do something for his relief and others were curious to see how he had fared in his terrible fall.
     Dr. Perkins of Princeton and Dr. Dowdell of the McKinley Hospital this city, were at the hospital tent on the grounds when the accident occurred. They jumped into R.C. Manning's auto and drove rapidly to the place.
     When the doctors and others arrived they found Walsh under the wreckage and pinned down by the engine.
     Every bone in his body was broken said Dr. Perkins, in telling of the case. "His face was cut and his body was battered."
     "It is not likely, however," the doctor continued, "that he knew what hit him when he struck the earth. He was doubtless unconscious from his terrible fall through the air."
     The body of the dead man was picked up and placed in the auto for removal to the morgue, while the machinist went to work on the airship, which was found to be a complete wreck.
     In the meantime activities on the fair grounds were again under way, although everyone and everything seemed to be subdued by the solemnity of what had happened. Many people left the grounds.
     Young Walsh--he was only about 25 (35) years of age--was a native of San Diego, California, where he lived with his wife and two small children. His wife and children are now visiting at Hammondsport, N.Y., having intended to remain there while the husband and father was flying in the East. Walsh learned flying with Lincoln Beachy, his only real rival in the business. Mrs. Beachy was at the fair here today and rode around the track with Walsh previous to his fatal flight. She was almost prostrated by the accident. Walsh had been flying all the week, making spectacular flights daily. The spiral descent in which he met his death is the descent which has cost the lives of practically all the many recent victims of the air.

Oct. 3rd, 1912
     In a grave at the Catholic cemetery, beside that of his mother, sleeps Charles F. Walsh, aviator. Funeral services were held yesterday at Our Lady of the Angels church. Boyhood friends of the dead birdman were there to pay their respects to his memory. Noted aviators from far and near sent floral offerings and messages of sympathy.
     It was fitting that Aviator Walsh should be buried here. It was in San Diego that much of his life was passed, it was here that he made his first flight in an aeroplane. So when he was crushed to death, after a terrible 2000-foot fall at Trenton, N. M., last week, they picked him up tenderly and sent him home to rest.
     Walsh's career was a short as it was eventful. Not until 1909 did he become interested in aviation. His first practice flights were watched with interest by his San Diego friends. And when he became one of the greatest birdmen the world has so far known, San Diego was proud of him.
     But there were those in San Diego who also feared for him. One of the great pilots of sky craft, and realized that Walsh, as daring as the best, might soon join the ranks of those who had gone before.
     It came at last. His life went out with one last, great flight in far away New Jersey.
Newsclipping from collection of Ernie Sansome

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

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