John Schwister
John Schwister
Contributor Bob Wylie
from Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame

John Schwister
  On June 23, 1911, near this location, Wasau
native John Schwister became a pioneer of
Wisconsin aviation. Research indicates that on
this date Schwister flew the state's first home-
built airplane capable of sustained, powered
flight. Constructed of wooden ribs covered
with light cotton cloth and powered by an
early-model aircraft engine, Schwister's biplane
flew for several hundred feet at a mmaximum
altitude of twenty feet. Calling his plane the
Minnesota-Badger, Schwister began the design
and constructon of his "flying machine" in
St. Paul, Minnesota, but finished it in Rothschild,
Wisconsin. Initially, Schwister flight-tested
his biplane as a glider, towing it behind an
automobile like a kite. He also built his own
airplane hangar here. Schwister made many
flights in 1911, including a 27-mile flight in
which he soared to 2,000 feet, higher than
nearby Rib Montain. In 1912, Schwister was
seriously injured in a plane crash, yet he
continued to construct and fly his own
airplanes making he Wisconsin's first-
successful "home-builder."
WAHF photo by Rose Dorcey
from Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame

Schwister Badger
Schwister Badger Biplane
Kirkham Motor
Collection of J. B. Blanchard, 10-12-07

Schwister Badger
Schwister Badger Biplane
Collection of J. B. Blanchard, 10-18-07

Crash of Schwister's Biplane - 1912
Collection of J. B. Blanchard, 10-18-07
     If you search for "John Schwister " +aviation, using the Google search engine, (10-12-07), you will find about 43 links, all them being very helpful.

John Schwister
     This page on the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame website offers three beautiful photographs of John and his plane, along with a brief biography of his life and career. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.
     If you are not already familiar with this site, and if time permits, I suggest that you sample some of its offerings and enjoy the many resources it provides. If you click on the "Hall of Fame" banner, you will find a list of some 64 honorees, some with familiar names, many others relatively obscure, all of them worthy of note.

John Schwister died in 1927

If you have any information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

BackBack Home