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Early Burgess - Wright - Exhibition and Test Pilot

[[photo of Jack McGee]]

Jack McGee was from Pawtucket, R.I. and signed up for a flying course with the General Aviation Co. school at Saugus, Mass. in May, 1912.  Instructors there were Harry Atwood and Arch Freeman, using Burgess-Wright planes.  McGee was taught to fly by Arch Freeman, but due to delays when Freeman was away on exhibition dates, McGee did not solo until early in August.  In the same class with him were Harry M. Jones and H. Roy Waite.

On July 11, 1912, he was in a smash up riding as a passenger with Farnum Fish at Point of Pines near Boston.  Fish lost control flying close to the water and crashed.  They were both thrown clear of the wreckage and were not injured.  August 28th McGee flew 34 miles from Pawtucket to Newport, R.I., and on September 14th dropped "flour bombs" on Ft. Adams at Newport, R.I.  On October 16th while flying at Cliftondale, Mass. he nearly froze his hands and they became so numb he was barely able to land without serious accident.  October 19th he had a smash up at Pawtucket while flying too close to the ground.  While banking, he misjudged, and a wing tip caught the turf which spun him around causing him to pile up and overturn, but he was not hurt.  In November McGee purchased a new Burgess-Wright and built a hangar for it at Pawtucket.  He remained there through the Winter and started flying in the Spring of 1913, making almost daily flights for sport, and carrying passengers.

On July 7, 1913, McGee gave a two-hour flying exhibition on Narragansett Bay, using his plane with dual floats and a new Sturtevant 4-cyl. engine.  There he made a remarkable exhibition of flying and water skimming stunts at a local celebration.  He flew very actively through August and the Fall months, and on November 9th gave an exhibition for a County Fair at the Woonsocket, R.I. Race Track.  There McGee also raced an auto around the course.  That Fall he thought some of making a flight to New York, but decided it was too late in the season and gave up the idea.  December 23d he entertained the Rhode Island Boy Scouts at his hangar at Darlington.  He gave the boys a talk on flying, and then made a number of flights taking some of them for a ride.

He remained at his home over the winter months and started flying again in the Spring of 1914.  In June, McGee flew to Nyatt, R.I., to visit his friend J.J. McCoy.  On July 14th he flew to Springfield, Mass. for a month's exhibition engagement at Riverside Park, an entertainment resort where he made daily exhibition flights and carried passengers.  Following this, he finished the season at Pawtucket.
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