Viewing page 6 of 40

Meadows Race Track at Seattle on May 30th Turpin lost control and crashed into the grandstand, escaping serious injury himself, but injuring several spectators. Two days later, on June 1st, 1912 Parmelee crashed and was instantly killed at North Yakima while attempting a flight, against his better judgement, in a very strong, gusty wind. His mechanic begged him not to fly, but he did not want to disappoint the crowd. Shortly after take-off he lost control and fell into an apple orchard. Until this happened he had never broken up an aeroplane. By coincidence this happened the day after Wilbur Wright died in Dayton, Ohio.

Turpin came at once to return Parmelee's body to his home in St. John, Michigan. By proclamation of the Mayor, all business was suspended the forenoon of his funeral there at the M.E. Church, on June 7, 1912. He was buried in the East Plains Cemetery near Matherton, Michigan, beside his mother who had passed away in 1900. He was 25 years old, unmarried, survived by his father, stepmother, brother, sister and half-sister. Parmelee had been scheduled to fly at the local County Fair in August. Following his death Turpin was so broken up he stopped flying permanently.

Flying Pioneer Phil Parmelee was truly one of the greats among early American airmen. He loved to fly, was a very active pilot, and regarded as a very safe, skillful one who never engaged in hazardous flying. He possessed a sincere, pleasing personality and was well liked by everyone, everywhere. History must well record his name and deeds as one of the fine young men who unfortunately gave their lives in the early process of aviation development. His untimely death was a distinct loss to the work he loved. His name appears on the Wright Memorial Plaque at Dayton along with the many others who learned to fly there.

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact