JACK MCGEE
1885-1918
 
 
Jack McGee
 
 
JACK MCGEE
Library of Congress Collection, 3-26-07
 
 
 
 
JACK MCGEE'S BURGESS - 1912
Courtesy of Judd, 5-23-04
 
 
 
 
JACK MCGEE'S BURGESS - 1912
Courtesy of Judd, 5-23-04
 
 
 
 
JACK MCGEE'S BURGESS - 1912
Courtesy of Judd, 5-23-04
 

 
 
Jack McGee
 
 
JACK MCGEE
March 10, 1913
Library of Congress Collection, 3-26-07
 

 
 
Jack McGee
 
 
JACK MCGEE CRASHES
Contributed by Edwin Smith, 8-2-09
     Good Day. I was cleaning out my house and found an old photograph that was given to me by my grandmother. I've tried researching and cannot come up with anything. The tail of the plane has Jack McGee written on it. Was wondering if you may no anything more about it.

On that back of the picture there is writting:

Pioneer flight, crash #3

Smith Falls Ontario

Circa 1913 (mid summer)

Photo by Dr. E.A Clark
Port Dover Ontario, Canada

No 5 of a series of 5 photographs
April, 1958.
Editor's Note: If you can help us to identify this incident, please contact me.
 

 
 
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
Via email from Frank Lennon - 10-31-03
     One of New England's best-known daredevils was Pawtucket's Jack McGee, aircraft pioneer and stunt pilot extraordinaire. McGee was born in 1885 in Central Falls and grew up in Maine before moving to Pawtucket when he was 15. He worked as an elevator operator, boxer and auto mechanic before landing a chauffeur's job with J.C. McCoy, (James C. McCoy), a famous ``aeronaut'' of the day.
     Working for McCoy whetted McGee's interest in flying. In 1911, he graduated from flying school. He made his first solo flight in August 1912, and by the end of the year had made a name for himself as an exhibition stunt pilot.
      Betty Johnson of the Spaulding House Research Library, who has researched McGee's life, said McGee was a sought-after draw at fairgrounds such as Rocky Point, or at ballfields in the city. He would take people for plane rides at $50 a pop, perform precision bomb-dropping (using bags of flour, and fly his canvas-and-wood biplane in loops, turns and the famous ``Dip of Death.'' He performed throughout the valley as well as in Massachusetts, Connecticut and as far south as St. Petersburg, Fla. But flying was far from a perfect science in that decade. McGee survived 13 crashes of varying severity in his 7-year stunt career. In 1917, McGee went to work as a test pilot for the Gallaudet Aircraft Corp. which was later to become Convair.
     One June morning in 1918, McGee was flying a pontoon plane over Cowesset Bay off East Greenwich when one of the pontoons caught a wave and the plane slammed nose-first into the water. McGee, trapped in the plane, drowned.
Hope this is useful.
Frank Lennon
USS Saratoga Museum Foundation, Inc.
 

 
  D-3  
  Felix Rossoll Collection
The Gallaudet D-3, a D-2 converted by installation of a Liberty engine, East Greenwich Bay, Rhode Island. It featured a third cockpit aft of the propeller, a modified nose section and a different rudder and fin. (GALLAUDET pilot Jack McGee was killed in a crash of this airplane on the morning of June 13, 1918).
 
       It is believed that one of the last three D-2s was finished to take the 400 H.P. Liberty engine and designated the D-3 (the original D-3 was a proposed large, enclosed cabin seaplane and was not built). Gallaudet pilot Jack McGee was killed in this aircraft while performing flight trials in June 1918 at East Greenwich.
Photo & text from Rick Bjorklund - 10-28-03
 

 
 
ONLINE RESOURCES
     If you search for "Jack McGee +aviation -hulk", using the Google search engine, (11-1-03), you will find about 20 links. Only the two of them appearing below appear to be relevant.
 

 
 
"I WANT THE GLORY"
Copyright 1999 The Providence Journal Company
March 28, 1999
     "Jack McGee of Pawtucket was a test pilot in the days when just climbing into a plane was an act of faith.
     And for McGee, 13 truly was an unlucky number.
     McGee was 33 years old and had been flying for seven years when, on the morning of June 11, 1918, he was asked to test a new design for a military seaplane manufactured by the Gallaudet Aircraft Corp. of East Greenwich..."

 
     This page from the website of The Providence Journal, offers a glimpse into the world of one of the pioneer aviators of the early 1900's. The excerpt above is from the introduction to a fascinating article in which McGee speaks about his hopes and fears as recorded just before his death. You will find it will offer a very personal insight into his feelings which he expressed due to the very recent death of his good friend Lt. Phil Rader just three days earlier. To read the whole story, click on the title above.
 

 
  Rhode Island Historical Society, The
121 Hope Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02906
(401) 331-8575
Gallaudet Aircraft Corporation.
Photographs; 1917-1923; 2 scrapbooks containing ca. 200 images.
Includes images of the operations of the Gallaudet Aircraft Corporation in East Greenwich, Rhode Island; and photographs of aircraft manufacture, test flights, airports, and runways, etc. No finding aid available.
McGee, Jack, ? -? .
Papers, photographs; 1912- 1918; l scrapbook, ca. 100 images.
A scrapbook of clippings and photographs tracing the six-year flying career of the early Rhode Island aviator, Jack McGee. Photographs include his noted Pusher biplane, air shows and exhibition photographs, long distance flights, and crashes. No finding aid available.
     This page, which is a Listing of Repositories Index on the website of the National Air & Space Museum Home Page , offers this listing of the contents of the Jack McGee collection. To visit this website, click on the title above. Then scroll down the page to "Rhode Island Historical Society."
 

 
 
 
       One June morning in 1918, McGee was flying a pontoon plane over Cowesset Bay off East Greenwich when one of the pontoons caught a wave and the plane slammed nose-first into the water. McGee, trapped in the plane, drowned.
Personal communication from Frank Lennon - 10-31-03
 
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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