Category Archives: Air travel

Southwest Airport

Craig Isbell, who once told Charles Lindbergh he’d never make it across the Atlantic, helped bring Springfield into the age of air. Isbell and a partner, Gelder Lockwood, founded the Springfield Aviation Co., which operated Southwest Airport, on Chatham Road … Continue reading

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Earle Baker Perce, Antarctic explorer

Perce Point, a headland on an island on the west edge of Antarctica, commemorates a Williamsville man’s role in exploring some of the last unknown places on earth. Earle Baker Perce (1910-68) was a U.S. Navy radioman and pilot when … Continue reading

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John E. Hickey (pioneer aviator)

John E. Hickey (1890-1970), a founder of aviation’s Silver Wings Fraternity, had been a pilot for longer than anyone else in Illinois when he died in 1970. Hickey’s first flight took place in a hot-air balloon in 1908. He told … Continue reading

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Victory Loan Flying Circus, 1919

The Victory Loan Flying Circus, a barnstorming group of World War I pilots using WWI combat aircraft, put on a show for thousands of central Illinoisans in front of the Illinois State Fairgrounds Grandstand on April 15, 1919. An unbilled … Continue reading

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Adelaide O’Brien Rentschler (aviator)

Adelaide O’Brien (1915-99) of Springfield was the first licensed woman pilot in downstate Illinois. During World War II, O’Brien was a local ground instructor for U.S. Army Air Corps flight cadets. O’Brien also was widely known in central Illinois for … Continue reading

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Opening of Commercial Airport, 1928 (photo)


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Endurance flying record, 1939

Brothers Hunter and Humphrey Moody beat the world record for endurance flying in a light aircraft — nearly 344 hours — in July and August 1939. The brothers, who lived in Dalton City, set the record flying out of Springfield … Continue reading

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Lyman Hubbard Sr.

Lyman Hubbard Sr. (1927-2012) was a career U.S. Air Force pilot and the only Springfieldian to be a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, the famed all-black World War II air squadron. Hubbard, who flew B-25 bombers during World War II, … Continue reading

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Howard Knotts

Howard Knotts (1895-1942) shot down six German planes in less than a month during World War I, winning the U.S. Distinguished Service Cross and the British Distinguished Flying Cross. He was downstate Illinois’ only “flying ace” during World War I. … Continue reading

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Charles Lindbergh’s airmail flights

Before Charles Lindbergh became famous for his nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, he flew the U.S. mail between Springfield, Chicago and St. Louis for the Robertson Aircraft Corporation. The first official flight, piloted by Lindbergh, was … Continue reading

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