Frank Trenholm Coffin (1878 - 1960)

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About Frank Trenholm Coffin

Frank was the last of 5 original flyers trained by Orville Wright

Frank Trenholm Coffyn (October 24, 1878 – December 10, 1960) was a pioneer aviator.

He was born in Charleston, South Carolina on October 24, 1878 to George M. Coffyn, a banker. His brother was Haskell Coffin, an actor who took his own life in 1941.

He married Louise D. Adams around 1900 and had the following children: Nancy Lou Coffyn and Kingsland A. Coffyn (1904–1983).

He became interested in flight after witnessing a flight by Louis Paulhan in New York City in December 1909. His father knew one of the Wright Company's executives, and arranged a meeting with Wilbur Wright. Wilbur invited Coffyn to Dayton, Ohio where he began flight instruction in May 1910.

Coffyn flew with the Wright Exhibition Team until December 1910 where he trained pilots in Dayton, Ohio and he delivered aircraft to the United States Army in Texas. In 1912 he was hired by Russell A. Alger, Jr. (1873–1930) of Detroit, Michigan to fly a Wright Flyer Model B over New York City.

The Vitagraph Film Company had him shoot the first aerial footage of New York City where he flew under the Brooklyn Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge in his Mayea Boat & Aeroplane Works plane.

In the mid 1920s Coffyn appeared in several Hollywood silent movies.

He was an United States Army flight instructor in World War I. He sold aircraft for the Burgess Company, and got a helicopter pilot's license. He worked for the Hiller helicopter company until his retirement.

He died on December 10, 1960 in Palo Alto, California.

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Frank T Coffin Pioneer Aviator's Timeline