Air Crash Kills Spectator In Washington
The Wright Brothers at first shunned these Air Shows as a “mountebank business” and would show up not to fly but to prevent others from flying because their designs infringed on their copyrights. Competitors like Glenn Curtiss established flying teams that garnered much publicity and eventually the Wrights established their own flying team in 1910. One of their exhibition pilots was James Clifford Turpin. The Wrights disbanded their exhibition team in 1911 after accidents had claimed the lives of several pilots. Turpin rented a Wright Model C for his own exhibitions.
On May 29, 1912 Turpin was flying at the Meadows Racetrack in Seattle, Washington the scene of Seattle’s first powered flight in 1910. Turpin clipped a pylon avoiding a cameraman and pivoted into a grandstand, killing a spectator and injuring over two dozen including Turpin who survived. This is Washington’s first air fatality.
Turpin’s crash into the Meadows Racetrack grandstands captured in a photo – May 29, 1912