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Pioneer Moisant Monoplane Pilot 


William A. Lamkey was born in New York City, July 25, 1887. He attended city schools, then joined the Navy where he served until 1912.

In the service he became interested in flying when he saw Eugene Ely make the first historic warship landing and take-off in January, 1911. Lamkey was at that time on the U.S.S. VIRGINIA, anchored in San Francisco Bay. The U.S.S. PENNSYLVANIA was also anchored nearby and Lamkey saw them making a wood platform on the rear deck of the PENNSYLVANIA and was told an attempt was to be made to land an aeroplane on the ship. As a result he had a perfect view of Ely's landing and take-off on January 18th.

Following this he was determined to learn to fly. Lamkey was soon transferred to the U.S.S. WASHINGTON as it was being prepared to leave for the east coast by way of the Straits of Magellan. After arriving in Hampton Roads, Virginia, his enlistment expired in mid-1912, following which he enrolled for flight instruction at the Moisant Flying School at Hempstead, Long Island, New York during late August where he was taught to fly along with a class of American and Mexican students. Joseph Richter was the school instructor at that time.

By October Lamkey was flying well. He continued his practice in preparation for his license tests and obtained F.A.I. Certificate No. 183, dated November 6, 1912, flying a 50-Gnome-powered Moisant Bleriot monoplane. 

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