Walter Brookins

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Walter Richard Brookins
Walter Brookins (1910).jpg
Brookins in 1910
Born (1889-07-11)July 11, 1889
Dayton, Ohio
Died April 29, 1953(1953-04-29) (aged 63)
Los Angeles
Resting place
Portal of Folded Wings
Known for Wright brothers
Parents Noah Holsapple Brookins (1858–1936)
Clara Belle Spitler (1873–1947)

Walter Richard Brookins (July 11, 1889 – April 29, 1953) was the first pilot trained by the Wright brothers for their exhibition team.[1]


Brookins was born in July 1889 in Dayton, Ohio to Clara Belle Spitler (1873–1947) and Noah Holsapple Brookins (1858–1936). He had three siblings: Alpharetta Brookins oct 1891-1971 who married Walter p. Hoffman; Noah Orville Brookins (1893–1954); Earl Brookins (1898–1992). Walter married Mary Lamke.

Walter was taught at school by Katharine Wright, sister of the Wright brothers and that led to his interest in flying. His first solo flight was after just two and one-half hours of demonstration. He became the Wrights' first instructor for the Wright Exhibition Team.

He came into prominence at an Indianapolis meet, on 14 June 1910, where he made a new world's record for altitude of 1,335 m (4,380 ft).

He later set world records for altitude, transcontinental flight and endurance.

On July 10, 1910 at Atlantic City in New Jersey, he flew to an altitude of 1,882 m (6,175 ft) in his Wright biplane, becoming the first person to fly at an altitude of one mile. He pioneered corkscrews and other stunt flying.[2]

On 29 October 1910, Brookins flew the new Wright Baby Grand, a clipped wing V-8 powered flyer to compete in the Gordon Bennett Trophy competition at Belmont, New York. In front of the grandstand during the official timing, the aircraft lost half its cylinders and crashed, tossing Brookins out and leaving him with bruised ribs.

He died in 1953 in Los Angeles and his ashes were buried at the Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, California.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Walter Brookins, 63, Early Record Flyer". New York Times. April 30, 1953. Retrieved 2011-11-17. Walter Brookins, pioneer aviator and leading aviation figure, died today at his home after an illness of four months. His age was ... 
  2. ^ "Aviator Brookins in Surprising Feats. Airmen, Viewing His Exhibition at Asbury Park, Say It Opens a New Era. 'Corkscrew Twists' and 'Nose-On Dives'. New Evolutions Never Attempted Before from Any Field". New York Times. August 22, 1910. Retrieved 2011-11-17. Walter Brookins got out of the new Wright biplane this afternoon more twists and turns and high and low dives than any one here except the masters themselves, had thought possible. In one flight his machine came down for 1,000 feet as if it were twisting about a corkscrew, and then Brookins sent it on a ... 

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