Connecticut’s first heavier-than-air air show took place on July 2, 1910.
On July 2, 1910, in Walnut Hill Park in New Britain, crowds of upwards of 50,000 people clamored to see the flying machines take to the skies. Visitors were especially interested in seeing their hometown hero, Charles K. Hamilton, perform. Hamilton, regularly known as the “crazy man of the air,” was a national name thanks to his role in Glenn Curtiss’ Exhibition Flying Team. Hamilton began his career as a balloonist and parachutist in circuses before receiving flying lessons from Curtiss and joining his team. He was known for his daredevil stunts, and had many spectacular crashes. Hamilton died in his late twenties from tuberculosis, ending the short but spectacular career of the Connecticut-born aviator.
Late NEAM volunteer Russ Magnuson’s mother was in the audience that day in Walnut Hill Park and received a commemorative pin. That pin is now a part of the collection at the New England Air Museum.