Death in the Skies

The Rise and Shocking Fall of Ormer Locklear, America’s First Aerial Daredevil

Richard J. Goodrich
Jul 12 · 13 min read
Ormer Locklear (center) along with his co-pilots. Library of Congress, public domain.

A late-spring afternoon in 1919. Two Curtiss biplanes droned high above the 5,000 spectators filling the grandstand of Sheepshead Bay Race Track, New York.

After a demonstration of aerobatics, including “looping the loop” and flying upside down, the moment had arrived for the…