Like a Bird on a Beam: Meet Missouri’s Wing Walkers

Shortly after aviation took off, so did a new form of entertainment. Entertainers—many of them women—ventured onto the wings of flying planes to dazzle audiences with daring acrobatic feats. Daredevils continue to keep the tradition alive today.

Charles Lindbergh, St. Louis, Spirit of St. Louis

Charles Lindbergh is Born: February 4, 1902

Birthday of St. Louis resident (as an adult), Charles Lindbergh who flew the Spirit of St. Louis.

Tom Benoist and Tony Jannus Plane

January 1, 1914

Missourians Tom Benoist and Tony Jannus began the first scheduled passenger airline service in America.

Wendell Pruitt St. Louis

December 12, 1944

Black aviator, Wendell Pruitt, was honored in his home town of St. Louis on this day. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross for shooting down three German planes, destroying 70 on the ground and helping to sink a German destroyer.

Charles Lindbergh Air Mail Spirit of St. Louis

December 10, 1929

Direct air mail service began between St. Louis and New York.


October 25, 1930

TWA established the first coast-to-coast all-air passenger service on this date. The planes flew from New York to Kansas City for an overnight stop and then on to Los Angeles. Total trip time was 36 hours.

October 13, 1877

Lizzie Wise drew a crowd as she ascended in her balloon from the Grand Avenue Baseball Park in St. Louis. A stiff wind grabbed the balloon and she was whisked away. She was found the next day in Illinois, hanging from a treetop, unharmed.

Charles Lindbergh Spirit of St. Louis

September 30, 1926

With engine failure in his mail plane, Lucky Lindy (Charles Lindbergh) glided in for a safe landing in a farm field.  Two weeks earlier his plane ran out of gas near Chicago and he was forced to bail out.