Arch Hoxsey: The First Pilot of Air Force One

Our mission at Hobby Express is to “Share the Fun” so it makes sense for us to share some of our family history that we’ve had so much fun stumbling upon in recent years.Portrait_of_pilot_Arch_Hoxsey_at_the_Dominguez_Air_Meet,_ca.1910_(CHS-43570)Mark Cleveland, our CEO and brother Kurt, the company President are directly related to a pioneer pilot, Archibald “Arch” Hoxsey.  After the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina they started a flight school and Arch was one of their first four graduates.  He was considered in his time to be the most daring of professional aviators.​”Arch was grandmother’s 2nd cousin several times removed,” our Aunt Marjorie would tell us when reflecting on our great grandmother and the family tree.  ”He was one of the Wright brothers’ first 5 students.  Incidentally,” she adds, “Teddy R. was the first American President to fly in an airplane. His pilot was Archie!”Pic - Archie & Teddy RooseveltHoxey set the American record for sustained flight across country, making the non-stop 190 mile flight from Springfield Illinois to Clayton, Missouri on October 6th 1910.  From Clayton, he took former U.S. President Roosevelt for a flight in nearby St. Louis. The event is recorded in a silent movie - thanks to the Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.    Imagine the technology 100 years ago when you watch this barnstorming video – I wonder if Roosevelt blew chunks?   We like to think of Arch Hoxey as the first pilot of Air Force One.


Within ninety days of this historic flight, Hoxsey’s adventurous life ended.  In that time, he also set the world’s altitude record, flying his airplane to 11,474 feet.  He died 3 days later on December 31, 1910 “… when returning to earth in a series of perilous glides.” As you see in the video, every flight must have been a “perilous glide”.  His crash site is documented in this photo that was published a month after that sad event.

hoxsey_crash_600x426Immediately after we first published this blog Brad Adams contacted us.  Brad lives in Hawaii; he is an aviation researcher and an antique collector.  He is also the owner of the only known trophies Arch Hoxey is known to have earned.  One is the world altitude record trophy he was not alive to receive.  Thank you Brad for sharing these photos.

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In his short but exciting life, Arch was a widely recognized celebrity in airshows and he traveled extensively with the Wright brothers. Interestingly, the most famous early aviators (John Moisant, Ralph Johnstone, Charles Hamilton and Arch Hoxsey) were among the celebrities pictured on a media called “tobacco cards” that were distributed with packs of cigarettes in 1910-11. These cards were part of an interesting series called “Champion Athletes and Prizefighters” which competed directly with baseball cards from that era.  Archie Hoxsey flew most often with Ralph Johnston and together they were known as “The Stardust Twins” — filling newspapers with race reports, breath taking contests and adventure.

Connecting with history in this way, we feel like we honor his daring and legacy when we continue to build the great portfolio of model airplanes at Hobby Express.

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2 Responses to Arch Hoxsey: The First Pilot of Air Force One

  1. Alan says:

    I wonder if The Colonel got airsick with the roller coaster maneuvers? Great video!
    I wonder what his thoughts were when he is experienced flight for the first time? I mean, one had to be very brave to experience something like that not knowing at all what it was like. Amazing. Makes one wonder what the President was thinking upon learning about the death of Hoxie? Thanks for sharing! This was very interesting!

  2. Bruce Hoxsey says:

    I’am a distant relative of Archie HOXSEY. All the Hoxsey spellings (Hoxsey, Hoxie and Hoxey) come from brothers from Scotland. The name is easily mistaken as you can see by the author and responder.

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