Rutland, VT – September 2, 1913

Rutland, Vermont – September 2, 1913


Vintage Post Card View Of The Rutland Fairgrounds.

Vintage Post Card View Of The Rutland Fairgrounds.

     On September 2, 1913, early Vermont aviator George Schmidt, 23, of Rutland, took off at the Rutland Fairgrounds for an exhibition flight.  With him was Assistant Municipal Court Judge J. Dryer Spellman, 22, also of Rutland.   As the plane reached an altitude of about 500 feet the motor began to skip and miss-fire.  As Schmidt was returning to the open field of the fairgrounds the plane suddenly fell and crashed to the ground.  

     Both pilot and passenger were trapped in the wreckage.  George Schmidt had suffered a fractured skull, hip, and jaw, and died before he could be extricated.  Spellman was pinned against the aircraft’s hot radiator, and although he suffered burns, he recovered from the ordeal.

     George and his brother Charles are credited as being Vermont’s first aviators.  In August of 1910 they made news when they purchased a Curtis-type biplane, and it was noted that at the age of 18, George was “probably the youngest aviator in the country.”

     The following article appeared on page 3 of the Orleans County Monitor, August 10, 1910. 

Click on images to enlarge.

     Boys buy aeroplane 1 newspaper

Boys buy aeroplane 2 newspaper     


      According to Charles Schmidt, George Schmidt made his first airplane flight from the Rutland fairgrounds on September 1, 1910.  Today there is a memorial at the entrance fairgrounds honoring both brothers as the first active aviators in Vermont.   


     Aero and Hydro (magazine), “Brother Describes Schmidt Accident”, September 27, 1913, page 484, (Volume VI, No. 26.) 

     New York Herald, “Aviator Killed In Fall”, September 3, 1913  Aviation – Agency of transportation





Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲