Otto Brodie in his Farman  
  Walter Lees wrote on the photo:
"Otto W. Brodie in his Farman biplane
along South Beach, St. Augustine, Florida, March, 1912."
Collection of Walter E. Lees

     St. Augustine, Fla., March 22.---At the Aero Exhibition Company school, Otto W. Brodie, instructor, made a solo flight Mar. 17, but was forced to land on account of a thunder storm. Edward Andrews, of Chicago, was a visitor. He is shipping his monoplane, fitted with a Bates motor, to Florida for trials. On March 19, Brodie made flights on the Bleriot and Farman, carrying students and passengers. Several students were given rolling practice. On March 20, students Oliver, Pearson, Lees and Benedict were given the controls when flying with Brodie. Lees and Benedict doing two and three-mile straightaway flights on the beach. On March 21, Brodie, while making a flight to a bad wind, had an exciting experience. One of the aileron wires broke, which brought about a quick descent. By good luck, no damage was done to either pilot or machine. Lees, Benedict and Kovac made several straight flights of from two to three miles.
This from AERO, March 30, 1912

     My interest in Early Aviation and Aviation began in mid 1997 when I finally got online and decided to learn how to build a website. My wife, Jo Cooper, the youngest daughter of Walter E. Lees, had written a book about her father's career in aviation. Walter had soloed in 1912 and continued in aviation until the end of World War II. His collection of memorabilia was her source of raw materials for her book, Pioneer Pilot, and was still available to me as raw source material. I named my website Pioneer Pilot, after my wife's book, and you can visit it by clicking on the link.
     So, I started working on his story and as I came to know him, and the 597 other members of the Early Birds of Aviation organization, I became fascinated by their stories and decided to build another website which would include a page for each of their lives and careers. That decision marked the beginnings of this Early Birds of Aviation website.
     By chance, Walter began his career in aviation by responding to the invitation of the Aero Exhibition Company of Chicago, Illinois to learn to fly by traveling to St. Augustine, Florida where he found his teacher would be Otto Brodie. I have extracted that entire episode from Chapter 1, "Someday It Will Be Me," from my wife's book, which you can read by clicking on the title above.

BackNext Home