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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

BEACHEY, Lincoln

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Lincoln Beachey
Beachey in Dubuque. Photo courtesy: Joseph Jacobsmeier

BEACHEY, Lincoln. (San Francisco, CA, Mar. 3, 1887--San Francisco, CA, Mar. 1915). Known as "The Flying Fool," Beachey was one of America's most daring aviators in the early 1900s. He first came to Dubuque in 1907 in the midst of a county fair and weeks of billboards advertising "Lincoln Beachey, the young sailor of the air will fly everyday." (1) He flew a small dirigible an estimated two hundred feet into the air and then around the mile long race track. Thousands cheered. (2)

He returned to Dubuque in September 1911, for a performance at NUTWOOD PARK. Already known for his breathtaking plunge into the Niagara Falls gorge and flight beneath its suspension bridge, Beachey raced and easily beat several local motorcyclists on the first day of his demonstration. A crowd estimated at 25,000, the largest in Nutwood history, watched the aerial daredevil the following day as he plunged his plane toward the earth, only to pull out of the dive at the last minute to soar again into the sky.

1912 advertisement. Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

Beachey in Dubuque. Photo courtesy: Joseph Jacobsmeier]]Beachey returned to Dubuque in July 1912. He introduced airmail service to the city by flying postmarked cards and letters from Nutwood to 33rd and Jackson STREETS where they were then carried by a post office wagon. During one of his performances at Nutwood Park, Beachey dropped loaves of bread on members of the National Guard who were "firing" at his plane. Beachey later explained that the loaves of bread were intended by him to be bombs which he felt could be used on troops. The demonstration is believed to be the first for aerial bombing in the United States.

During a performance in August 1914, Beachey demonstrated inverted flight and "loop the loop" flying to the local audience. (3) Doing similar stunts during the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915, the wing of the monoplane ripped off causing Beachey to plunge out of control to his death in San Francisco Bay.

Lincoln Beachey at the Iowa State Fair http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6RnD1rNVEI



1. "Beachey and His Seven "Aerial" Years," Telegraph Herald, July 7, 1914, p. 6. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=dAheAAAAIBAJ&sjid=318NAAAAIBAJ&pg=3688,3306686&dq=human+fly+dubuque&hl=en

Lincoln Beachey from YouTube user: P6RnD1rNVEI

LINCOLN BEACHEY - A Brief Biography. Online: http://www.lincolnbeachey.com/lbbio.html

The LINCOLN BEACHEY Web Site. Online: http://www.lincolnbeachey.com/

The Forgotten Father of Aerobatics - Lincoln Beachey: The Man Who Owned the Sky: http://www.frankmarrero.com/Beachey/The_Forgotten_Father_of_Aerobatics.html