W. Starling Burgess : Massachusetts Aviation Pioneer

This exhibit showcases the aircraft of W. Starling Burgess, a significant pioneer in early aviation. The photographs and information are part of the collection of the Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society, now partnered with the Massachusetts Air and Space Museum.

William Starling Burgess (1878-1947) was a talented and creative yacht designer, naval architect and early aviation pioneer. He was born in Boston on December 25, 1878, the son of Caroline "Kitty" Sullivant and prominent yacht designer Edward Burgess.

By 1905 Starling was well established as a designer and builder of yachts and boats in his yacht yard in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It was this Marblehead compound that became his early airplane factory. From 1909 to 1918 he concentrated on the design and production of aeroplanes (airplanes).

In 1908 W. Starling Burgess witnessed Orville Wright demonstrate his Military Flyer in Washington DC. Burgess came home to Marblehead Massachusetts inspired to produce aeroplanes. He turned his attention and engineering skills to aviation in 1909 as he teamed with airplane designer Augustus Herring.

In 1910 Burgess's "Flying Fish" flew over Chebacco Lake near Hamilton, Massachusetts, the first fully powered and controlled flight in New England. View the extraordinary accomplishments of Burgess and his partners in their efforts to design, build and fly early aircraft. We hope you enjoy this exhibit!

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W. Starling Burgess
Folder, FileHerring Burgess Model B w/ Hiliard
Folder, FileBurgess Model U