July 9 (or 10 or 17): Mile-High Club Inaugurated

One hundred years ago today—or perhaps tomorrow, maybe even 
next Saturday—Walter Brookins became the first human being to 
pilot an aircraft to an altitude of one mile. Brookins lived one of
 those lives that implausibly dovetailed with the explosion of
 aviation activity in the early 20th-century. He happened to have Orville and Wilbur Wright’s sister as his teacher and knew the bicycle shop owners. After his stint as a stunt and long-distance flyer with the Wrights, he eventually became co-owner of the Davis-Brookins Aircraft
 Corporation in Hollywood, California. His entry in the 
First Flight Shrine reads simply, “First Civilian Pilot, 1910.” He’s buried in the Portal of the
 Folded Wings, a reliquary near the Burbank Airport.  The Portal looks like just the sort of place that lends itself to a future posting here.

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