The PIONEER AVIATION GROUP Is Dedicated to the Preservation & Dissemination of Pioneer Aviation History
Charles "Pop" Dickinson, President of the Aero Club of Illinois (left), Jack Stinson (center) and Marjorie Stinson (right) at the formal founding of "The Early Birds Club" - 1928
Welcome to the home page for The Early Birds of Aviation, Inc., first known as The Early Birds Club. This legendary group was founded in Chicago in December of 1928, shortly after the International Aeronautical Show and air races held there, to preserve the history of aviation and, in particular, the history of aviation before the Great War. A large number of pioneer aviators and aeronauts attended the event in Chicago and "Pop" Dickinson, ever willing to advance the cause of aviation, encouraged the idea that they, the pioneers of flight, should formally organize. Prior to that, at the 1928 Los Angeles Air Races, a group of early aviators (including Logan A. "Jack" Vilas, Bertrand "Bert" R. J. Hassell, Ernest "Ernie" L. Jones, Parker D. Cramer, Benjamin D. Foulois, Holden C. Richardson, and Percy George Brockhurst "P. G. B." Morriss) had discussions about organizing an early aviators' group. They initially called the group the "Association of Old Time Airmen," the "Old Timers" and the "Early Birds." A letter sent to prospective members read, in part, "There is a move on foot among the old fliers to organize -- and this move has crystalized into the formation of the tentative organization of the "EARLY BIRDS" or "OLD TIMERS"--open only to those who actually soloed prior to the outbreak of the war."- so, membership was limited to those who could provide evidence that they had soloed in any aerial craft, lighter-than-air or heavier-than-air, prior to December 17, 1916, the thirteenth anniversary of the first flights of an aeroplane, by Wilbur and Orville Wright at Kill Devil Hill, North Carolina.
PLEASE NOTE: The Pioneer Era Aeroplane images and plans previously available on this web site have been moved to the Pioneer Aeroplanes web site.
Many pioneer aviators either did not apply for membership in The Early Birds, or did not survive to apply for membership. Short biographies and images of some of those pioneer aviators who "went west" before World War I or were never members of The Early Birds can be found on the Pioneer Aviators web site.
The Early Birds of Aviation (and its legal successor, The Early Birds of Aviation, Inc.) was to go out of existence once the last living member had passed away. With the passing of 99-year-old Early Bird George Debaun Grundy, Jr., on May 19, 1998, The Early Birds of Aviation, Inc., ceased to be. This web site was therefore created to preserve the name and the memory of The Early Birds of Aviation, Inc., its members, its activities, its accomplishments, and its place in aviation history.
All images on The Early Bird Web Site are from the Carroll Gray Aeronautical Collection, unless otherwise noted. Furthermore, unless captioned to the contrary, images on this web site date from before December 17, 1916, the period of eligibility for becoming an Early Bird (that is, for applicants from non-European countries). Over the next few months, this site will expand to offer text and images about The Early Birds. If you have an interest in the Pioneer Era of Aviation, please bookmark this site and visit often to see what's been added.
The PIONEER AVIATION GROUP Web Sites Offer Images And Accurate Information About Early Aviation
"The Moisant International Aviators - Memoirs Of ROLAND G. GARROS 1910 - 1911" (ISBN 0-9727059-0-2)
by Carroll F. Gray
LITTLE LOOPER PRESS, Ltd., currently offers "The Moisant International Aviators - Memoirs Of Roland G. Garros," a first-hand account by famed French aviator Roland Garros of his experiences while flying in the Americas under contract with The Moisant International Aviators during 1910 - 1911.
Softcover, Velobind, 64 pages of text, frontispage portrait and reproduction signature, index, 20 pages of illustrations - total of 45 images (14 in full color) - $ 24.00 & $5.00 S&H (US)
"LINCOLN BEACHEY & The Exhibition Era - Pioneer Aeronaut & Aviator 1887 - 1915" (ISBN 0-9727059-3-7)
by Carroll F. Gray
Lincoln Beachey's true story, a full and factual account of his remarkable life and career in the air. Illustrated with many rare, never-before published photographs and original scale drawings of his airships and aeroplanes, fully indexed, with extensive chapter notes and sources, hardcover with dust jacket.
"The MASTER LIST of Notable Aeronautical Events, Balloon Ascensions, Airship & Aeroplane Exhibitions, Meets & Flights August 1709 - April 1917" (ISBN 0-9727059-1-0)
by Carroll F. Gray
A chronological listing, exceeding 880 pages, of many thousands of aerial events throughout the World - The Americas, The Caribbean, Asia, The South Pacific, Africa, The Middle East, Russia, The Indian Subcontinent, and Europe (up to the start of World War I).
Fully indexed and cross-referenced by dates, places and names of over 500 aerostaticians, aeronauts, aviators, and passengers. Included are summaries of over 50 airship and aeroplane exhibition companies as well as a detailed narrative of The Exhibition Era of Aviation. This useful reference work will be available in print and later on CD-ROM in Windows and Mac-OS formats.