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234 Louis Mitchell Early Wright- Wealthy Sportsman Exhibition Pilot Louis Mitchell was reportedly from Camden, Arkansas. Developing an early enterprising business ability, he settled in Memphis, Tennessee, about 1902. There he started a motion picture film agency and made a small fortune from this business. Mitchell saw his first airplane when the Moisant International Aviators flew an extended exhibition engagement at Memphis December 1-17, 1910. This event was sponsored by the local newspaper, the Commerical-Appeal. The pilots were John Moisant, Charles Hamilton, John Frisbie and French aviators Barrier, Simon, Garros and Audemars. At that event Mosiant raced auto driver Joe Seymour in a Fiat. Also at Memphis, on April 6, 1911, Mitchell saw Glenn Curtiss, Charles Willard and Bud Mars flying as part of a four-day engagement. He became very interested and started to investigate the exhibition-flying business which appeared to be flourishing. Aviators and exhibition flights were in great demand. Mitchell believed that there was " big money to be made" in the flying game and he made up his mind to cash in on it. September 22-28, 1910, he saw flights by Phil Parmelee, a Wright Company aviator, that further stimulated his interest. As a result he contacted some of the early flying schools about instruction, but they tended to discourage him because he was a large man weighing over two hundred pounds. This did not alter Mitchell's intense interest, however, and in the early spring of 1911 he formed a company known as American Aviators, to give flight exhibitions about the country. His new firm was organized and partnership with Eugene Heth of Birmingham, Michigan, a well-known automobile man and engine expert. Reportedly, Mitchell's first idea was to employ aviators to do the flying and he would manage the business. In May, 1911, he purchased a new Burgess-Wright Model F airplane from the Burgess Company and Curtis of Marblehead, Massachusetts, and on May 17th he was in Marblehead to witness the test flights of his new machine. These flights
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