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People - Notable Kansans - Billard, Philip, 1891-1918

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Albin K. Longren's No. 6, Model G airplane

Albin K. Longren's No. 6, Model G airplane
Date: Between 1916 and 1920
This is a photo of Philip Billard sitting in Albin K. Longren's No. 6, Model G airplane (biplane) which was built in 1916. Longren and his wife Dolly opened an airplane factory in Topeka, Kansas. Longren's factory was the first successful aircraft manufacturing firm in Kansas.


Albin K. Longren airplane

Albin K. Longren airplane
Date: 1912
This photo shows Philip Billard sitting in an Albin K. Longren airplane. Longren and his wife Dolly opened an airplane factory in Topeka, Kansas. Longren's factory was the first successful aircraft manufacturing firm in Kansas.


Albin Kasper Longren's photograph album

Albin Kasper Longren's photograph album
Date: 1912-1921
This photograph album documents a number of airplanes (biplanes)designed, built and flown by Albin Kasper Longren. He built and flew Topeka's first aircraft on September 2, 1911. At two different times, Longren tried to establish an airplane factory in Topeka, Kansas. His second factory was in an abandoned woolen mill in Oakland, a neighborhood in Topeka, Kansas. The album contains photographs of the exterior and interior of this factory and numerous views of planes and plane parts. Longren's planes were well received, but his business failed because he had difficulty manufacturing numbers of planes. There are two images of a plane parked at the entrance to Gage Park in Topeka. Longren did exhibition flying at county fairs and other events in the region under the name Longren Aviators Exhibition Flyers. The album also has images of biplanes at Coffeyville, Anthony, Stockton, and other locations in Kansas as well as at least one image taken in the following states: Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas. Longren built a plane the was purchased by Phillip Billard, a Topeka aviator, and there are images of this plane in the album.


Flight

Flight
Creator: Gage, Robert Merrell
Date: 1921
Bronze sculpture by Robert Merrell Gage (1892-1981) honoring Topekan L. Philip Billard (1891-1918). Male figure with arms outstretched soaring upwards. Billard was a noted early aviator, purchasing his first plane from fellow Topekan Albin Longren in 1912. In 1916 he was made a Captain in the Kansas National Guard and tasked with developing the State's first aviation unit. In August of 1917, shortly after the U.S. entered World War I, he enlisted in the regular Army and became a test pilot in France, where he was killed in a crash on July 24, 1918. The statue was commissioned by the Topeka Rotary Club, of which Billard was a member. The artist, Topeka-born Robert Merrell Gage, was a nationally known sculptor and a World War I veteran himself.


Flight record #42

Flight record #42
Creator: Billard, Louis Philip, 1891-1918
Date: December 7, 1916
Flight record #42 recording Philip Billard's December 7, 1916, flight in a Longren Model G tractor-type airplane. Billard's flight time was part of the hours required to renew his pilot's license.


Longren invention reduces dangers of men who fly

Longren invention reduces dangers of men who fly
Creator: Topeka Capital
Date: May 14, 1916
This article from the Topeka Capital discusses Albin K. Longren's early interest in aviation and his development of a balanced lateral control that facilitated greater stability and control while in flight, allowing pilots to have a much easier time turning their airplane. In addition, the piece addresses the construction of Longren's tractor bi-plane that was being built for the Kansas National Guard aeroplane section commanded by Captain Phil Ballard. Finally, the article mentions Longren's efforts to build a sizeable factory capable of producing a large number of airplanes for both civilian and military use.


Louis Philip Billard, World War I soldier

Louis Philip Billard, World War I soldier
Date: 1918-1920
Around 1919, the Kansas State Historical Society and the American Legion solicited biographical information from returning veterans (primarily members of the 35th and 89th infantry divisions) and the families of those who died in service, notably from the Gold Star Mothers. Each veteran or family member was asked to provide letters, photographs, a biography, and military records. This file contains information on Louis Philip Billard, Third Aviation Instruction Centre. Louis died on July 24, 1918, in France. Billard Airport in Topeka, Kansas, is named after him.


Man's shirt

Man's shirt
Creator: Capitol Shirt Factory
Date: between 1905 and 1915
Black and white pinstripe shirt with white collar band. Red "LPB" monogram embroidered on left breast, presumably for Louis Philip Billard (1891-1918). Tag at back of neck from the Capital Shirt Company of Topeka, which operated under that name from 1905 to about 1915. Topekan L. Philip Billard (1891-1918) was a noted early aviator, purchasing his first plane from fellow Topekan Albin Longren in 1912. In August of 1917, shortly after the U.S. entered World War I, Billard enlisted in the regular Army and became a test pilot in France, where he was killed in a crash on July 24, 1918.


Philip Billard

Philip Billard
Date: Between 1914 and 1918
An informal portrait of pilot Philip Billard, 1891-1918, and a biplane. A native of Topeka, Kansas, Billard (born Louis Philip Billard) was well known in the Topeka area for his flying skills in the early days of aviation. When the U. S. entered World War I, Billard volunteered for service in the United States Army as a pilot. He was stationed in France, and assigned the dangerous duty of test pilot. On July 24, 1918, Philip Billard was killed when the DeHaviland 4 aircraft he was testing crashed. In 1938, his older brother, Robert T. Billard, donated Philip's own Longren No. 5 biplane to the Kansas State Historical Society. The biplane had been built by Topeka-based aircraft manufacturer, Albin K. Longren, and stored in the Billard family's garage for two decades following Philip's death. In 1940, the Philip Billard Airport in Topeka, Kansas, was dedicated to his memory.


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