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Pioneer Midwest Aviator

[[black and white portrait]]

Walter J. Carr was born at Ladd, Illinois, January 15, 1896.  He attended local grade and high schools, then had one year of college.  In his youth he was mechanically inclined, and loved automobiles and engines.  He tinkered with Stanley Steamers and for fun installed a large single cylinder marine engine in an old automobile chassis.

In 1912 he traveled with the owner of a merry-go-round at fairs for the summer, and at the Princeton, Illinois, County Fair saw his first [[strikethrough]] aeroplanes [[/strikethrough]] airplanes when a Bleriot and a Wright biplane [[strikethrough]] made flights [[/strikethrough]] were flown.  Both planes had minor mishaps and Carr helped make repairs.  From that time on Carr was determined to get into aviation.  He saved his money and with some help from his mother, arranged for flying lessons at the Illinois Flying School in late May 1914.

The school had a Curtiss-type pusher biplane powered by a 4-cylinder 50 hp Kirkham engine, and operated in a field on the outskirts of Chicago.  Carr started grass cutting* with limited throttle control and made his first straightaway hop on June 15, 1914.  He continued his practice and was soon flying circles.

In the early summer of 1915 Carr started flying exhibitions for the American Aeroplane Company and until October 11, 1917, flew at fairs throughout the midwest.

*Taxiing at high speed and at times flying close to the ground, getting the feel of the controls.  

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