Obituary - Col. Roscoe Turner

June, 1970


Indianapolis-Services will be held Thursday for Col. Roscoe Turner, who thrilled the nation between the two world wars as a daredevil pilot.

He was known as "colonel" because of appointments in Nevada, California and Mississippi-Corinth was his home town.

Turner died of cancer Tuesday in Methodist Hospital. He was 74.

Turner was one of the "barnstormers" whose exploits of speed and distance flying kept aviation aloft between the wars. Photographs of Turner, his moustache waxed, wearing the leather outfit of pilots of that day, often were displayed.

Turner won the Thompson Trophy for cross-country speed flying three times, a feat never matched. He set seven transcontinental speed records. His 1933 Bendix Trophy mark of 11 hours and 30 minutes from New York to Los Angeles stood more than five years.

He was a pilot in World War I, barnstormed for eight years, then opened the first commercial airfield at Richmond, Virginia, in 1927. His trademark was a lion cub which he carried in his plane.

He came to Indianapolis from California in 1939 and established his Turner Aeronautical Corp. at Weir Cook Municipal Airport. He recently disposed of the firm. He became ill while working on plans for a museum to house mementoes of the aviation industry.

In 1952, at 56, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his contributions to aerial speed and safety-the first time in 20 years the medal had been given to a civilian.

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