Pioneer Curtiss Exhibition Pilot
       Information is lacking relative to the date and place of this man's birth, education and early life, but reportedly during the early 1900's he was a manufacturer of trunks and suitcases.
     In ill health and crippled by rheumatism, in 1912, at age 50, he decided to learn to fly deliberately for his health. As a result he bacame a student at the Curtiss Flying School, Hammondsport, New York in the first spring class about April 1st, 1913, where he was taught bo fly by
William Luckey
  Francis "Doc" Wildman. He was one of a large class and was flying well by mid-May.
     Luckey joined the Curtiss Exhibition Flyers later that month and flew his first public exhibition date at Hershey, Pennsylvania on May 30th. From there he flew with R. V. Morris and Charles Niles at Kingston, Ontario, Canada on June 3rd. Following this all three men remained in Canada filling dates until after July 4th. Later that month Luckey flew a hydro at Charleston, North Carolina for an extended engagement at a resort, then at the conclusion of the contract he changed his plane to land gear and remained at the Isle of Palms for another week,
     On October 13th Luckey won the $2500.00 New York Times Round-Manhattan race in competition with Charles Niles, C. N. Wood, Tony Jannus and J. G. Gilpatric. The 57 mile event started from Staten Island, tahen across New York Bay to the East River, up tahe east side of Manhattan, through the Harlem River to the Hudson, then back to Staten Island, the starting point. The event was conducted under the auspices of the Aeronautical Society. It was an extremely cold and very windy day and the entire journey was a struggle against the elements. Luckey was so numb with cold as he landed he had to be assisted from his plane. For a new pilot, his win was the surprise of the season.
     After completing the 1913 exhibition season Luckey evidently spent some time that winter at Hammondsport where he developed the sport of "snowboating." When the lake was solidly frozen over and covered with 2 feet of snow he discovered a hydro or flying boat could be operated off the snow equally as well as from the water. He practiced the sport for some time that winter and carried many passengers.
     During the early summer of 1914 Luckey resumed flying for Curtiss on the Exhibition Team and started off by a return date at Kingston, Ontario, Canada on May 29th. Throughout the early summer months he toured the North Atlantic states, and was at Rochester, New York the last week of August. The first week of November he flew at the Velodrome Race Track, Buffalo, New York.
     On April 26th, 1915 Luckey circled Sing Sing Prison at Ossining, New York several timnes for the benefit of the prisoners. That year he toured the mid-west at fairs and carnivals, and in July was in a hospital at Erlanger, Kentucky, where he was engaged to fly an exhibition, with typhoid pneumonia. Jack McGee took his place and filled the date. After his recovery Luckey took off from the Erlanger Race Track and flew to Covington, Kentucky for an engagement there.
     On September 6th he was engaged to fly at Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, Canada where he had a small, miserable area from which to get in and out, which necessitated taking off from a race track enclosure, out over a railroad embankment and under a telegraph line. Against the pleadings of his mechanics he was determined to fill the date. His first flight and landing was sucessful, but on the second and last flight of the day his tail planes struck the embankment as he was coming in to land, throwing him out while still airborne. He was picked up unconscious and rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal where it was found he had a broken back. He remained there in a critical condition until he passed away on December 20th, 1915, at age 52. He was survived by his wife, mother and two sisters.
     Flying pioneer William S. Luckey was one of the real surprises of flying during the early exhibition era. Looking more like the well dressed, prosperous business man, with iron grey hair, he was quite uhnlike the gypsy exhibition aviator of the period, but he became a skilled, dependable trouper on the orad and an active, steady pilot. He was best known for his splendid flight to win the Round-Manhattan Race in 1913.

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