Roy Knabenshue

Roy Knabenshue

Augustus Roy Knabenshue
Atlantic City in 1910
Born (1875-07-15)July 15, 1875
Died March 6, 1960(1960-03-06) (aged 84)
Temple City, California
Cause of death Stroke
Resting place Portal of the Folded Wings

Augustus Roy Knabenshue (July 15, 1875 – March 6, 1960) was an American aeronautical engineer and aviator.[1]


He was born on July 15, 1875 in Lancaster, Ohio, the son of Salome Matlack and Samuel S. Knabenshue. Samuel Knabenshue, an educator and political writer for the Toledo Blade for many years, served as U.S. consul in Belfast, Ireland, from 1905 to 1909 and as consul general in Tianjin, China, from 1909 to 1914.[2]

In 1904, at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, Roy Knabenshue piloted Thomas Scott Baldwin's California Arrow dirigible to a height of 2,000 feet (610 m) and was able to return to the takeoff point.[3]

He was the first to make a dirigible flight over New York City in 1905.[4]

He performed barnstorming and worked as the general manager of the Wright Exhibition Team. From 1933 to 1944 he worked for the National Park Service and then worked for a Los Angeles, California firm reconditioning used aircraft.

In 1958 he had a stroke. He had a second stroke at his home at a trailer park in Arcadia, California on February 21, 1960. He died on March 6, 1960 at the Evergreen Sanitarium in Temple City, California.[1]

Interment and services were held March 9, 1960 at the Portal of the Folded Wings in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, California.


  • One of the first in America to pilot a steerable balloon
  • In 1904 he piloted the first successful dirigible in America at the St. Louis World’s Fair
  • The Wright Company hired him in 1910 to manage the 1910-1911 Wright Exhibition Team
  • In 1913 he built the first passenger dirigible in America: White City


Further reading

External links

  • Knabenshue bibliography
  • Early Aviators
  • NAHF: Knabenshue
  • NASM: Knabenshue
  • Centennial of Flight: Knabenshue