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From the 
Flying Pioneers Biographies
of Harold E. Morehouse

Ralph Johnstoke
Early Wright Exhibition Pilot

Was from Kansas City, Mo. Born
in 1886. He became a vaudeville
performer, then later a trick
cyclist and clown with a circus.
During this work he met Roy
Knabenshue exhibiting his dirigible
at a western carnival. Later
when Knabenshue became Exhibition
Manager for the Wright Co. he persuaded
Johnstone to leave the circus
and join the Wright Flying
Team. He joined the class at the
Wright School, Simms Station,
Dayton, Ohio, about May 15, 1910,
along with Frank Coffyn and was
taught to fly by Walter Brookins
who was already teaching Arch
Hoxsey. Johnstone completed his
training June 11, 1910. During
his training he became a very
close friend, but a real flying rival 
of Hoxsey, each trying to 
out do the other and the Wrights
soon had difficulty keeping them
in check. At Air Meets they soon
became known as "THE HEAVENLY
TWINS". Johnstone obtained his
pilots license, No. 20, on October
18, 1910 at Kinloch Field, St. Louis, MO. on his Wright. 

His first air meet and public exhibition was at Indianapolis, Indiana June 13-18th, 1910. The next was Montreal, Canada June 29, July 5th, then to Toronto, Canada July 8-16th, Asbury Park, N.J. August 10-20th, the Boston-Harvard Meet September 26-30th, Richmond Va. October 3-6th, St. Louis, October 8-18th, completing this series at the Belmont Park Meet on Long Island, N.Y. October 22-30th.

At the Boston-Harvard Meet he set several records, one of 101 miles distance and another of 3 hours, 5 minutes duration. Later, at Belmont Park he set a new altitude record of 8470 feet, then 3 days later he flew to 9740 feet. There he and Hoxsey were both flying in a wind too high for safety and were blown backwards for severa miles. They became separated and Hoxsey succeeded in making a landing at Brentwood, L.I., 25 miles from Belmont Park, and Johnstone at Middle Island, L.I., 44 miles away.

While flying in an engagement at Overlook Park, Denver, Colorado, he was instantly killed on November 17, 1910. The weather was not good and he had run into a fence the day before in a ground accident. It was later felt that some damage may have been done that was not visible, causing his fatal accident, which was due to a wing collapse in the air. He was the second airplane fatality in the United States.

He was buried in Kansas City, MO. His second wife was forign born and returned to her home in Germany. He left an invalid sister in
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