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December 12, 2003 - Image 34

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-12-12

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and won trophies for setting
altitude; flight-time and
accuracy landing records. A
bust of Welsh, along with
the prizes he won in compet-
itive flying, is part of the
collection of the
Smithsonian National Air
and Space Museum in
Israeli stamps- about the first Wright brothers
According to one aviation
Web site, Welsh "was known
as one of the most skilled of
instructor in the art of flying in avi-
the Wright pilots, and was consid-
ation. circles, and only recently
ered their best instructor."
But Welsh's career ended tragically Wilbur Wright declared him the
peer of any man in the world as a
on June 11, 1912, when he was
pilot,." the newspaper wrote.
killed testing a new plane for the
"Although Welsh was one of the
War Department at College Park in
professional birdmen, it could
Washington's Maryland suburbs.
said of him that he was
A panel that investigated the acci-
of the new school of aviators.
dent eventually placed the blame on
Intrepid but cautious, he was con-
He and his passenger, Lt. Leighton ceded to be as safe when soaring at
an altitude of 1,500 feet as when on
Hazelhurst, had been testing a mili-
the ground. He never played to the
tary biplane just delivered for trial
grandstands and has time and again
by the Wright Company. According
condemned men who jeopardized
to the investigators, Welsh started a
their lives by attempting circus
dive too abruptly and crashed from
an altitude of about 150 feet.
The mourners at Welsh's June 13,
But Welsh's cousin, Grace
1912, funeral fixed their eyes on the
Berlowe, said his widow always
casket draped with a silken prayer
believed that the War Department
and listened to the eulogy
pushed too hard for tests that were
delivered by the Rev. Joseph
sure to fail.
Glushak, cantor of Adas Israel
"On the day of the crash, not
Congregation of Washington. The
only was Welsh carrying too much
cantor spoke glowingly of Welsh.
of a load, but he also carried his
His daughter Ailene, now 92, says
passenger and was expected to climb
mother told her many wonderful
too quickly and too high when you
about her father and the
consider the weight," Berlowe told
"Wright Circle."
historians. "Too much was. expect-
"I used to have an intimate rela-
tionship with Gen. Hap Arnold,"
Welsh said in a telephone interview
from England, where she now lives.
An Aviator's Obituary
In its obituary the following day, the "When he would come to my house,
I would crawl between his legs, but I
now-defunct Washington Herald
seemed to give credence to Berlowe's was only 2 at the time."
In a 1930 letter to Welsh's sister,
accusation in noting Welsh's careful
Arnold wrote: "The pioneers in the
"Al Welsh was one of the Five orig- aviation game were the. ones who
took all the risks and received little
inal pupils of Orville and Wilbur
exchange for their daring. Al was
Wright and was adjudged by his
of those pioneers." ❑
tutors to be the most skillful


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