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342 CHARLES C. WITMER Early Pioneer Curtiss Exhibition and Test Pilot Charles C. Witmer, son of a railway conductor, was born in Sandusky, Ohio, June 6, 1882. Charles first worked at railroad construction from 1889 to 1903 then tried prospecting in Alaska where he lost everything. He returned, went into a mining venture in Mexico and failed again. Returning to Chicago, Witmer worked on the street railways until late in 1910 when he went to San Diego, California, and asked Glenn Curtiss for a job at North Island. Curtiss hired him and he became one of the small group that made the first successful flights off the water there late in January, 1911. Early in February, 1911, Curtiss started school operations and Witmer became a student, along with Hugh Robinson, Lincoln Beachey, Lieutenant Ellyson, U.S.N., and Robert St. Henry, with Curtiss as instructor. After completing his training Witmer continued to practice until about April 1st when he joined the Curtiss Exhibition Team for the 1911 season. The company supplied an airplane and his first public exhibition was made at Wichita, Kansas, on May 4th through 7th. Also flying there were Eugene Ely and James Ward. May 12th and 13th Witmer and Ward flew at Ft. Smith, Arkansas, then May 17th to 20th Witmer, Ely, and Ward gave exhibitions at Dallas, Texas. From there Witmer's next engagement was at Fort Wayne, Indiana, May 28th through 30th; then Evansville, Indiana, July 9th and 10th. At the last two places Witmer carried passengers. From here he exhibited at Readville, Massachusetts, June 16th and 17th; then at Pittsfield on July 4th. At Pittsfield, Witmer had his first serious smashup which put him in the hospital for some time with a badly injured leg. His next flying was at the big Chicago Meet at Grant Park August 12th through 20th. There on August 15th he flew for his pilot license, No. 53, on a Curtiss. September 11th-16th he flew at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and September 27th and 28th at Houghton Lake, Michigan. On September 30th and October 1st Witmer and Lincoln Beachey exhibited at Sheboygan,
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