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Roscoe Turner's Flying Circus of the Air

  • Nick Spark, Director/Producer

Roscoe Turner waves from the cockpit of a plane with his pet tiger in the left photo. He stands on the tarmac in front of his plane in the right photo.

About the Project

Profiles Col. Roscoe Turner, a swashbuckling American flier who dominated the air racing circuit in the “Golden Era of Flight” between WWI and WWII. A barnstormer, stunt flier and racer, Turner came to define the word “pilot” for a generation of Americans and helped turn the tide of public opinion in favor of airplanes as a reliable and safe means of transportation. Turner’s outsize personality and wild publicity stunts — which included flying with a lion cub as his co-pilot — could have made him the object of ridicule. Instead his considerable achievements in the air earned him international fame, the nation’s highest honor for aviation the Distinguished Flying Cross, and a place in history that includes enshrinement of his airplane and his lion at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.