|Emil Matthew Laird|
November 29, 1896|
St. Charles, Illinois
|Died||December 18, 1982
Palm Beach, Florida
|Other names||Matty Laird|
|Known for||Air racing|
|Parent(s)||Clara, Charles Laird, Sr.|
|Relatives||Charles Laird, Jr. (brother)|
He was born on November 29, 1896.
Laird's first experience with aviation was watching a chance flight up the shoreline of a Wright Model A flown by Walter Brookins while working as an office boy at the First National Bank of Chicago. Laird's first contraption was a bicycle with glider wings attached that he built at the age of 15. He built an airplane of his own design in his mother's attic and flew it on September 15, 1913, getting 10 feet (3.0 m) off the ground. Four months later, he managed to get twice as high. His second creation was the 1912 Laird Baby Biplane. The 1915 biplane of his design, once flown by Katherine Stinson, is on display at the Henry Ford Museum.
By the age of 20, Laird was recruited by promoter Bill Pickens to demonstrate aircraft. He was paid $350 just to take off and circle a field in the early days of skeptical onlookers. Laird crashed a biplane with a tail modification he had just constructed in Texas, leaving him in the hospital for nine months, and out of World War I.
In 1920, Laird co-founded the E. M. Laird Aviation Company with his brother Charles Laird and investors William A. Burke and Jacob Mollendick to build an aircraft called the Swallow in Wichita. Over the next four years, about 43 Swallows were built before Laird left the company in 1923 and founded the E. M. Laird Airplane Company to build commercial aircraft such as the Laird Commercial and custom designs. Laird's racing aircraft won the Thompson Trophy race in 1930, the first Bendix Trophy race in 1931 and the 1938 and 1939 Thompson Trophy races.
He was inducted into the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame in 1999.
Laird founded the company which built and sold the first commercial airplane. The airplane, called the Swallow ...
The Honore Street Bungalow. ... The old wooden sidewalk is seen as well as the two attic windows where the first Laird plane emerged.