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WILLIAM BADGER

Early Baldwin "Red Devil" Pilot

William Badger was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 19, 1884, the son of wealthy parents. 

He attended local schools, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, Academy, and graduated from Princeton University. 

In his youth he loved automobiles and became an expert driver. Developing into a wealthy sportsman, he was an expert polo player, then turned to automobile racing. After becoming professional he raced at many of the big name tracks of the country, meeting many track owners and the nation's prominent race promoters. 

Among these was Louis Strang, owner of Overland Park, Kansas City, Missouri. This was a large public amusement park with race tracks, rides and concession stands. Strang also provided balloon ascensions to attract crowds and was a close friend of America's famed balloonist, Captain Thomas S. Baldwin. Through Strang, Badger became acquainted with Baldwin. 

In 1910 Badger's interest turned to aviation. He visited Baldwin at Mineola, Long Island, during the fall of 1910, to see the aviation activities there and was impressed. As a result, Badger returned to Mineola about May 1, 1911, bought a Baldwin plane, and arranged for flight instruction. 

Baldwin was preparing a new plane that spring called the "Red Devil," built for him by the Whitteman Brothers Aeroplane Company of Staten Island, New York. It was a headless (without a front elevator) pusher biplane powered by an 8-cyliner, 60 h.p. Hall-Scott engine, with a Curtiss-type tricycle landing gear and framing of steel tubing. The covering was red fabric. 

Baldwin started to teach Badger about June 1st. Badger was slow in starting, then caught on and came along well. His new plane was finished by the end of June and he attempted to fly it but had a minor smashup. 
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