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Early Wright Pilot


First to fly across the U.S. from West to East

Robert G. Fowler was born at San Francisco, California August 10, 1884. He attended local schools then graduated from Island Stanford University. During his early life the family moved to Gilroy, California where his father was engaged in the automobile business at the beginning of that industry. Young Fowler loved automobiles and went into this work with his father, soon becoming an expert driver and mechanic.

This led him to engage in road races, hill climbs and track events through the early 1900's. He reportedly drove the first Ford car west in 1903. In 1904 he held the record for circular trucks at Belmont Park, New York. In 1905 he set a record when he drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 24 hours. In 1906 he made this same run un 21 hours, and later, in 1910, in 14 hours. During these years he also became a renowned chauffeur on the west coast and drove for various distinguished personages.

A lover of speed, Fowler naturally became interested in aviation beginning with the first days of the Wright Brothers. This led him to the North Island Curtiss camp at San Diego during the winter months of 1910-1911 where he reportedly assisted them with their engine problems. There Fowler resolved he wanted to learn to fly. Big prize money was waiting to be taken


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