AIR SHOW, Houston, Texas, 1911


    The first flight of an airplane in Texas occurred on the prairies just south of Houston on February 18, 1910. The Houston POST and Western Land Co. paid French aviator Louis Paulhan $20,000 (over $900,000 today) to demonstrate his aircraft...and a crowd of over two thousand gathered (at $1 a head) to witness the historic event of Paulhan flying his Farman biplane.
    Of course this being Texas, one pilot and a few planes does not a grand air show make, so on January 27-30 of 1911 the “Moisants International Aviators” came to town. John Moisant organized this aviation troupe after the Belmont air meet of October 1910. Eight aviators of international reputation were involved, touring the country by train.
    These barnstorming pilots (before there were "barnstormers"), exhibiting the latest technology in aviation, awed a crowd of over 20,000 Houstonians. The large tents and grandstands traveled with the troupe. Box seats were $1.50, general admission 50 cents, kids two-bits.
    Unfortunately, John Moisant - who started this 'flying circus' - died in New Orleans shortly before this Houston show.
    Houston sportsman John Winter - capturing a rare and important part of aviation history - photographed this 1911 Houston air show.  
    The locals were greatly impressed. Houston’s earliest aviators were Guy Hahn, L.F. (greasy) Smith and L.L. (shorty) Walker. They constructed planes and participated in the Houston air show of Nov 12, 1911.
    Soon to follow would be air transport, air mail services and passenger airlines. From public fascination to commercial application, the thrill of flight in Houston has taken us to the stars.




Sitting, l-r: Joseph Seymour, John Frisbie, Rene Simon ('flying fool'), Edmund Audemars, Rene Barrier, Roland Garros, Peter Young (manager), and Charles Hamilton (standing)


Spectators...Blessington, Houston POST photographer, right


Audemars' Demoiselle and two Bleriots

Alberto Santos-Dumont's tiny Demoiselle ("infuriated grasshopper")

Checking a Bleriot


Rene Simon's Bleriot (21) with Houston Post Photographer


Bleriot with photographer John Winter, right


Rene Simon preparing for takeoff


Rene Barrier in Bleriot




Bleriot - giving the crowd a thrill...


Charles Hamilton TAKING A NAP UNDER HIS Curtiss


Hamilton landing in his Curtiss


Two Bleriots aloft