Viewing page 10 of 14

[[strikethrough]] (21) [[/strikethrough]] 41


Early Pioneer Aviator

Born December 4, 1886 at Wellington, Ohio. Leonard Bonney became interested in flying in 1908-1909 following the first public demonstrations [[strikethrough]]of[[/strikethrough]] by the Wrights and reportedly built an [[strikethrough]]aeroplane[[/strikethrough]] airplane and made some brief flights in it at Upper Sandusky, Ohio, in November, 1909. He was then engaged in the hotel business.

In the Spring of 1911 he enrolled for flight instruction at the Wright School, Dayton, Ohio. His instruction started there on March 11, in the same class with Oscar Brindley, Howard Gill, Harry Atwood, Cal Rodgers [[strikethrough]]and[[/strikethrough]] Aray Lts. H. H. Arnold, T. D. Willing and Naval Lt. John Rodgers. He was taught by Cliff Turpin and Al Welch, both of whom were instructing at that time. He obtained Pilot License No. 47, dated August 3, 1911 at Simms Station flying field, on a Wright machine.

After completing the course he joined the Wright Exhibition Flying Team and began to fill exhibition engagements, flying at the famed Chicago Meet August 12th to 20th, and at various points in the southern states. On October 14th he was released from the Wright Team and joined the William "Jim" Gabriel Aviators of St. Louis, Missouri. This firm was known as The Mercurial Airplane and Entertainment Company. Flying for them he appeared at several cities in the midwest and southern states. On October 19th he made a record for quick starting at Tulsa, Okla. getting off in 48 feet.

In the Spring of 1912 Bonney joined the T. S. Berger "Aviators" Team of 

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact