William S. Luckey
from Dan Rodgers, 8-5-10

  Flying Pioneers
Biographical Note Great Winchester Fair Resources  


Winner of The Times Aerial Derby Received Fatal Injuries Sept. 6.
Special to The New York Times
MONTREAL, Dec. 20.-William S. Luckey, winner of The New York Times Aerial Derby, died this morning at the Royal Victoria Hospital of injuries received at Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, Sept. 6, when his back was broken by a fall from his machine. His wife, mother, and two sisters survive him.

     William S. Luckey was best known to New Yorkers as the winner of The New York Times Aerial Derby on Oct. 13, 1913. The race was around Manhatan Island, and Luckey covered the course of about sixty miles in 52 minutes and 53 seconds. He drove a 100 horse-power Curtiss machine, and as he had to combat a wind of more than forty miles an hour, he was considered a splendid performance. It was the more remarkable because he was laid up and crippled with rheumatism less than ten days before the race. His prize for finishing first was $1,000
     Mr. Luckey was one of the surprises of aviation. He was nearly 50 years old, with iron-gray hair, and looked more like a prosperous business man than a flier. Until the beginning of 1912 he had been a manufacturer of trunks and suitcases. Then he deliberately took up flying for the sake of his health. His early days as an aviator were unfortunate, as he had a number of minor accidents, usually resulting in the breaking of his machine. However, as his skill increased, he bacame one of the best and steadiest of the exhibition fliers.
     His fatal accident took place on Labor Day, while he was flying at the Sturgeon Falls Fair, in Canada. At the Aero Club of America last night it was said that he had made a most successful flight, and was about to land when the tail of his machine struck a railroad embankment, throwing him from his seat to the ground. In making the landing, he tried to fly over a railroad embankment and under the telegraph wires. His machine would have passed between the two safely if he ahd not turned it upward, throwing the tail down, so that it struck the embankment. He was unconscious when picked up, and was immediately rushed to the Victoria Hospital, in Montreal, where it ws found that his back was broken.      Mr. Luckey's body will arrive here tomorrow, and will be met by a number of those interested in aviation. The burial will take place in Warwick, N.Y.

from The New York Times, December 21, 1915

Contributed by Dan Rodgers, 8-4-10

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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