Lincoln J. Beachey (March 3,
1887 – March 14, 1915) was a pioneer American aviator and barnstormer. He
became famous and wealthy from flying exhibitions, staging aerial stunts,
helping invent aerobatics, and setting aviation records.
On June 27, 1911, he took off
into a drizzle and flew over the lower falls of Niagara Falls, then above
American Falls, before an estimated 150,000 spectators. He took his plane
under “Honeymoon Bridge,” 20 feet (6.1 m) above the rapids. Local papers
described his plane as looking like “a beat-up orange crate.”
He commented afterwards “it
was a flight filled with more dangers than you can imagine. …I was never
in such treacherous air currents.” According to legend, Lincoln Beachey
received $1,000 for the feat.
Beachey died just four years
later performing stunts at the Panama-Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco.
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