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The Collection: People: Ralph Johnstone

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Orville Wright (third from left) and the original exhibition team at Simms Station, Ohio.Portrait of Ralph Johnstone in flying gear.Ralph Johnstone at the controls of an early Wright Model B.
Frank Coffyn watching Ralph Johnstone doing a handstand.Walter Brookins (top), Frank Coffyn (middle), and Ralph Johnstone (bottom) on each others' shoulders.Walter Brookins on Frank Coffyn's shoulders, near Griffith Brewer and Ralph Johnstone.
Wilbur and Orville Wright with pilots, at the Wright team's first meet.Frank Coffyn on horseback, speaking to Ralph Johnstone and Duval La Chapelle.French caption translates roughly as:  "The aviator, Ralph Johnstone,  just took off to demonstrate several gracious turns in front of the judges.   Photo from La Patrie"  However, the aviator shown in the image is not sitting in the seat Johnstone used.
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Wright exhibition team pilot. Born 1886, Kansas City, Missouri. Died November 17, 1910, Denver, Colorado. Before becoming an aviator, Johnstone had been active in vaudeville, performing as a trick cyclist. He and Archibald Hoxsey were known as the 'heavenly twins' for their daring attempts to break altitude records. The first of the Wright team to die, he was killed in a crash after he failed to recover from a dive.

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