Tag Archives: Kinloch Field

1 March 1912

Antony H. Jannus and Captain Albert Berry, U.S. Army, prior to their flight, at Kinloch Field, Missouri, 1 March 1912. The parachute is packed inside the inverted cone. (Missouri Historical Society N30169)

1 March 1912: At Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri, Captain Albert Berry, United States Army, made the first parachute jump from an airplane.

Pilot Antony H. Jannus and Captain Berry took off from Kinloch Field, a balloon-launching field in Kinloch Park, (now, Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, STL) and flew aboard a 1911 Benoist Type XII School Plane, 18 miles (29 kilometers) to the drop zone at Jefferson Barracks. The airplane was a pusher biplane which was based on a Curtiss pusher, and is also called the Benoist Headless.

Barry had his parachute packed inside a conical container mounted beneath the airplane’s lower wing. They climbed to an altitude of 1,500 feet (457 meters).

When the reached the desired altitude and were over the barracks’ parade grounds, Berry attached the parachute to a harness that he was wearing, then lowered himself on a trapeze-like bar suspended in front of the wings. He pulled a lanyard which released him. The parachute was opened by a static line.

Captain Albert Berry parachuting from teh Benoist biplane over Jefferson Barracks, 1 March 1912. (NASM)
Captain Albert Berry parachuting from the Benoist biplane over Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, 1 March 1912. (NASM)

The Associated Press reported the event:

ST. LOUIS, March 1. —For the first time in the history of a heavier-than-air flying machine, a man leaped from an aeroplane at Jefferson barracks this afternoon and descended safely to earth in a parachute. Capt. Albert Berry made the spectacular leap and it was witnessed by hundreds of cheering soldiers.

Berry and Pilot Jannus left the Kinlock aviation field in the afternoon in a two-passenger biplane, carrying beneath the machine, in a specially constructed case, a large parachute. With practiced hand Jannus steadied the machine, Berry gave a quick jerk of a rope and, while the aeroplane, first bouncing up like a cork, suddenly poised and steadied itself.

Hundreds of watchers held their breath as Berry shot toward the earth, the parachute trailing after him in a long, snaky line. Suddenly the parachute opened, the rapidity of the descent was checked and, amid cheers, the first aviator to make such an attempt lightly reached the ground.

A local newspaper reported:


Parachute Drops 300 Feet Before Opening at Jefferson Barracks.


Jannus, Driver of Machine, Says “Never Again,” After Sunday Exhibition.

     Albert Berry, formerly a professional parachute jumper, and son of Capt. John Berry, licensed balloon pilot, carried out his twice deferred jump from an aeroplane yesterday afternoon. After riding as a passenger with Anthony Jannus in a Benoist biplane from Kinloch Field to Jefferson Barracks, he cut loose his parachute at a height of about 1500 feet. He landed hard, but safely, just south of the mess hall.The soldiers at the barracks were startled when they saw the parachute and man falling, for it did not open until it had dropped like lead for 300 feet.

     After Jannus and Berry had warmed themselves in the office of Col. W. T. Wood, Jannus climbed into his machine and flew back to Kinloch. He lost his bearings, mistaking the St. Charles for the Natural Bridge road, and flew almost to the Missouri River at a height of nearly 4000 feet. Realizing his mistake, he flew back to his hangar. This trip occupied twenty-seven minutes. The flight to Jefferson Barracks required only twenty minutes, with the passenger aboard. The air line distance between the two pints is about seventeen miles.

Jannus Dislikes Experience.

     Tom Benoist, originator of the plan and builder of the aeroplane used, said he would have like to have done with it. Jannus said:

     “As far as I am concerned, Sunday will be the last time for this stunt. We are in duty bound to the people who paid admission to see the jump a week ago Sunday, to do it once more. We hope to get through with it next Sunday. After that, never again.”

     Berry’s ideas are different. He will continue the jumping as an exhibition trick if he can find an aviator to co-operate with him. It is understood already offers of large guarantees have been made him by promoters of amusement enterprises, one of them in New York.

     Berry had made so many jumps of the same nature from hot-air balloons that he was expert in the work, and he had not suffered from the hard landing. But both he and Jannus were chilled through, and plenty of hot cocoa from thermos bottles was needed to get them warm.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat,  Vol. 37—No. 288, Saturday, 2 March 1912, Page 1, Column 6.

The Washington Times wrote:


Antony Jannus Drives Biplane From Which man Drops in Parachute.

     Antony Jannus, a former Washington boy, and Capt. Albert Berry, of St. Louis, winner of the national balloon race from Indianapolis last year, figured in a spectacular aerial performance in St. Louis yesterday afternoon, Capt. Berry jumping from an aeroplane in a parachute. Jannus was the aviator.

The feat of Captain Berry and Jannus is the first time that a man has jumped from an aeroplane in a parachute. This accomplishment was considered dangerous by the majority of aviators, it being thought that the aeroplane, becoming free of the extra burden, would spring upward, turn turtle, and crash to the earth. Captain Berry jumped from an altitude of between 1,000 and 1,500 feet, made a perfect landing, while the aeroplane, driven by the Washington boy, flew on without any difficulty in maintaining an equilibrium.

     Since Captain Berry has accomplished the feat of dropping from an aeroplane, it is possible this new “stunt” will be experimented with by the army aviators within a year.

The Washington Times, Number 7376, Saturday, 2 March 1912, Page 3, Column 6

© 2021, Bryan R. Swopes

11 October 1910

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., President of the United States.
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 26th President of the United States.

11 October 1910: Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., was the first President of the United States of America to fly aboard an airplane.

At Kinloch Field, St. Louis, Missouri, (now, Lambert–St. Louis International Airport) Arch Hoxsey, a member of the Wright demonstration team, invited the former president (1901–1909) for a flight. Initially Roosevelt declined, but then accepted the offer to accompany Hoxsey aboard the Wright Model B.

President Theodore Roosevelt with Arch Hoxsey aboard a Wright Brothers airplane at St. Louis, Missouri, 11 October 1910.
President Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., with Archibald Hoxsey aboard a Wright Brothers airplane at Kinloch Field, St. Louis, Missouri, 11 October 1910. (Cole & Co.)

An article appearing in the New-York Tribune  the following day described the flight:

. . . The aeroplane sped quickly around the field at a height of less than one hundred feet. It made the first lap of a mile and a half before news percolated through the crowd that Mr. Roosevelt was Hoxsey’s passenger. When he swept past the grandstand he leaned forward a bit and waved his hands. The spectators seemed frightened and remained silent, watching the aeroplane intently.

Nearly a Mile a Minute

The flying machine sped by and made the turn for the second lap. Hoxsey could be seen to bend over and shout something into Mr. Roosevelt’s ear. The engine cracked regularly, hurling the aeroplane forward at a speed of nearly a mile a minute, but from the ground it looked as though it were travelling much slower because it sailed so evenly and smoothly. There was not a breath of wind, and the engine did not miss fire once.

At the end of the second lap, Hoxsey dipped his planes and the machine descended easily, striking the ground without a jar a few rods from the grandstand. The machine glided over the grass a short distance and stopped.

Mr. Roosevelt, smiling his most expansive smile, disembarked backward. He became entangles in the wires, but was soon out of them.

When the spectators saw that he had landed safely, they cheered wildly, and the guards had all they could do to keep the crowd from breaking into the field.

Mr. Roosevelt’s first act after alighting was to shake Hoxsey’s hand vigorously.

“It was great! First class! It was the finest experience I have ever had,” he declared. “I wish I could stay up for an hour, but I haven’t the time this afternoon.”

excerpted from the New-York Tribune, Vol. LXX, No. 23,341. Wednesday, 12 October 1910, Page 1, at Column 7, and Page 2, at Column 1

The event was captured on an early news film, which is in the collection of the Library of Congress.


Teddy Roosevelt served as President of the United States from 14 September 1901 to 4 March 1909, having assumed the office on the death of president McKinley. Prior to that, he had been the 25th Vice President, 4 March–14 September 1901, and the 33rd Governor of the State of New York. He had been appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by President McKinley in 1897. Colonel Roosevelt commanded the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, known as “The Rough Riders.”

The Wright Model B was a two-place, single-engine biplane. The elevator was at the rear, rather than in canard position as had been the earlier Wright airplanes. (This configuration was known as “headless.”) Roll control was through the Wright Brother’s patented wing-warping system. It was 26 feet (7.925 meters) long with a wingspan of 39 feet (11.887 meters). It weighed 800 pounds (363 kilograms) empty and had a gross weight of 1,250 pounds (567 kilograms).

The Model B was powered by a water-cooled, 240.5-cubic-inch-displacement (3.940 liter), Wright inline four-cylinder gasoline engine which produced 32 horsepower at 1,310 r.p.m. Two 8½ foot (2.591 meters) diameter, two-bladed, counter-rotating propellers, driven by a chain drive, are mounted behind the wings in pusher configuration. They turned 445–470 r.p.m.

1910 Wright Model B (Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company)
1910 Wright Model B (Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company)

The Wright Model B had a maximum speed of approximately 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour) and its range was 110 miles (177 kilometers).

Approximately 100 Model B aeroplanes were built by the Wrights and under license by Burgess from 1910 to 1914. Three are known to exist.

Archibald Hoxsey was born at Staunton, Illinois, the son of Archibald Hoxsey and Minnie Cecelia Eckles Hoxsey. The date of his birth is difficult to determine, being reported as either 28 April or 15 October, during the years of 1879 or 1884. The 1880 Federal Census indicates that he may have been born as early as 1873.

Arch Hoxsey was killed at Carson, California, 31 December 1910, when his airplane crashed while he was trying to better his own altitude record of 11,474 feet (3,497.3 meters), set the previous day. His remains were buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Atkinson, Nebraska.

Archibald Hoxsey photographed at the Los Angeles International Air Meet, Carson, California, January 1910. (California Historical Society/University of Southern California Libraries)

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes