|By Carmelo Turdo|
Dr. Fred Roos, engineering professor at Washington University in St. Louis and well-regarded aviation historian, presented the meteoric rise and fall of the Benoist Aircraft Company in the St. Louis area. From 1911-1917, Thomas Benoist produced increasingly advanced aircraft, including seaplanes, in his factory near Kinloch Field in what is now St. Louis County. Inspired by the 1910 aviation meet, Benoist started the first aeronautical supply company, and began building Curtiss aircraft as his first product.
Benoist Type XIV used in the first scheduled airline service
The Benoist factory was moved to Sandusky, Ohio in 1917 to be near the Roberts Engine factory. Thomas Benoist was killed in 1917 as he exited a street car, putting an end to the further development of the Benoist line of seaplanes. Dr. Fred Roos commented, "If Benoist would not have met an early death, we may be flying on Benoist aircraft to this day."
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