AKA John Armstrong Drexel
J. Armstrong Drexel
Library of Congress Collection, 5-26-08

J. Armstrong Drexel
Bournemouth Aviation Meeting, July 1910,
Collection of Nicola Smith, 3-21-04

by A. R. Parkhurst, Jr.,
Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: July 10, 1910,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 9-25-03
      "The aeroplane has taken such a firm hold on the people of this country that many wealthy men and women are going for the sport in earnest. Miss Elizabeth L. Todd has entered the lists as a competitor in several long-distance flights and she has her mechanicians at work in her aerodrome at Hempstead Plains on three machines she designed. She has made several flights and has learned to manipulate her planes and her engines in masterly style."
     "Anthony C. Drexel, son of the millionaire banker, is another to take up the sport and he has made several successful trips aloft. He, too, will join in some of the many races in the air in the near future."
      In tracing various events of the aviators of the world in the past year or so it might well to begin with Bleriot and his English Channel flight. This up to that time - July 25, 1909 - was by all odds the most spectacular. This feat was duplicated by Jacques de Lesseps, a grandson of Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, builder of the Suez Canal. De Lesseps, however, came to grief and several times he fell into the channel and but for the assistance of boatmen he would not be living today to boast of his performance." and "Those who have signified their intention of entering the endurance flights are Captain Rolls and Count Jacques de Lesseps. Both are now in Montreal, having crossed the ocean to compete in flights on this side of the Atlantic. Hamilton, M. J. Seymour and Capt.Thomas S. Baldwin, Clifford B. Harmon, Harry S. Harkness and Glenn Curtiss will also be among the flyers at this meet."
Bob Davis

Frenchman Claims World's Aviation Record
Havre, Aug. 29, 1910

Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: August 29, 1910,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 9-4-03.
     "In a flight in a monoplane here today, Leon Morane, a Frenchman, ascended to a height of 6,692 feet. At first it was claimed he went up 6,889 feet but on a revision of the figures the judges found that he had reached only 6,692 feet. They claim, however, that this constitutes a world's record as the flight of J. Armstrong Drexel, the American aviator, of 6,752 feet they assert has never been officially ratified. Mr. Drexel's flight was made at Lanark, Scotland, August 12. He used a Bleriot monoplane. The contention of the judges that Morane's flight of 6,692 feet constitutes a world's record is not borne out by the certificate issued August 20 by Kew observatory, which after testing the barograph carried by Mr. Drexel in his Lanark flight, gave him a record
of 6, 752 feet."
Bob Davis
     The United States was slower than France in issuing pilot's licenses and establishing the rules under which they could be granted. Regulations published in 1910 stated: "All candidates shall satisfy the officials of the Aero Club of America of their ability to fly at least five hundred yards, and of their capability of making a gliding descent with the engine stopped, before their applications will be entertained. Up to the time of Belmont Park, twenty-five such licenses had been issued . The first nine of these were as follows
  1. Glenn Curtiss
2. Frank P. Lahm
3. Louis Paulhan
4. Orville Wright
5. Wilbur Wright
6. Clifford B. Harmon
7. Thomas S. Baldwin
8. J. Armstrong Drexel
9. Todd Shriver
Curtiss biplane and motor
Wright biplane and motor
H. Farman biplane,
Gnôme motor
Wright biplane and motor
Wright biplane and motor
H. Farman biplane
Gnôme motor
Curtiss biplane and motor
Blériot monoplane,
Gnôme motor
Curtiss biplane and motor
From Henry Villard's CONTACT
The Story of the Early Birds
Thomas Y. Crowell Co.

     If you search for "J. Armstrong Drexel" +aviation using the Google search engine, (5-21-08), you will find about 141 links. With the exception of the one cited below, most of them are repetitious and only slightly helpful. It time permits, you may want to sample some of them.

     This website was suggested to me by Pete Jones. (5-21-08) It offers a number of very nice photographs of Drexel, along with several important biographical notes, one of which is the following:

     "The site at East Boldre was first used as an aerodrome in May 1910 ,when William McArdle and J.Armstrong Drexel set up the New Forest Flying School ,using Bleriot type aircraft."

     You may access the page by clicking on the title above.

J. Armstrong Drexel
Armstrong Drexel - McArdle - Anthony Drexel
Library of Congress Collection, 5-26-08

via email from Pete Jones, 5-24-08
Hello Ralph,
     From what I've been able to research, J. Armstrong Drexel was the son of Anthony J Drexel Jr(1865-1946) who was the son of Anthony J Drexel Sr (1826-1893), sort of the founding patriarch of the family. This is Drexel Jr, J. Armstrong's father:

The following are newspaper articles from the NY Times(be sure to click ""View Full Article"" box) announcing J.Armstrong at fetes with his mother or father, I've provided the URLs as well as the headings in quotes if you prefer to type into google. This information sort of lends to who he was and who he is related to:


J. Armstrong Drexel died in 1958.
Drexel University Archives & Special Collections
Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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