Raised in the Fillmore district of San Francisco, Lincoln Beachey, like the Wright Brothers, started in a bicycle repair shop, then moved on to small engines. He shared his older brother Hillary’s interest in balloons and airplanes and quickly gained fame, starting at age 17, when he flew a balloon around the Washington Monument and landed on the White House lawn.
Beachey continued to win audiences and secured his reputation as an artist of the skies. Those who doubted the charismatic airman were converted during his 126-city barnstorming tour in 1914 when he performed daredevil stunts in his biplane the Little Looper. “His mastery is a thing of beauty to watch. An aeroplane in the hands of Lincoln Beachey is poetry," Orville Wright said.