Chicago, IL Famous Aviator Killed, Sep 1912
AEROPLANES COLLIDE IN AIR; AVIATOR DEAD.
HOWARD W. GILL KILLED AND GEORGE MESTACH HURT WHEN RACING MACHINES BUMP.
Chicago, Sept. 14. -- Aviator HOWARD W. GILL of Baltimore, Md., was killed on the Cicero aviation field tonight and GEORGE MESTACH of France, whose monoplane collided with GILL'S biplane while they were participating in a race severty-five feet in the air, was injured, as the two men and their machines fell to earth in the darkness. MESTACH soon revived and his condition was found to be not serious. GILL lived only a short time.
After recovering consciousness, MESTACH said:
"I was going at top speed in my monoplane in an effort to win the race. Looking behind I saw GILL in his biplane turning around a pylon and rapidly approaching me a few feet below. I jerked my elevator, thinking to give him ample space to clear beneath."
"From the cockpit of my monoplane I was unable to get a good view of just what was happening, but it seems that GILL, driving straight ahead, hit my understructure. This had the effect of bouncing me off and plunging me to the ground. For a few moments I was unconscious. When I came to, I saw GILL lying in the wreckage of his car not fifty feet away. We had collided in mid-air with the inevitable result."
GILL was reputed to be a wealthy young sportsman. He was interested in automobile races until 1906. Four years ago he took up ballooning and in 1909 began aeroplaning. Last February at Los Angeles, Cal., GILL suffered an accident similar to the mishap today, falling seventy-five feet.
Darkness was said to be primarily the cause of the accident. MESTACH said that just before the monoplane race was to start he protested to the officials of the Aero Club of Illinois against racing in darkness, but the start was called and he went up.
Indianapolis Star Indiana 1912-09-15