El Paso, Texas, United States

The lost Skywayman

In 1920, pilot Omar Locklear and Milton Elliott pulled a daring stunt flying into the steeple of the First Baptist Church in Sunland (TX).

The two men can be seen plummeting for the film The Skywayman and survived.

Filming for this documentary on aerial stunts started n June 11, 1920, at DeMille Field 2 (Fairfax and Wilshire, LA). They also shot in San Francisco and at this church in Sunland Park (TX).

Knowing William Fox Studio (later known as 20th Century Fox) was not going to extend his contract, Locklear, under intense personal pressure, demanded he be allowed to pull another daring stunt at night for August 2, 1920, on DeMille Field 2, with flares on wings simulating fire. He crashed into an oil sludge unable to see the ground as the grounds crew had forgotten to turn off the flood lights, blinding him. He and Elliott died instantly.

The horror on actress Louise Lovely's face was captured in footage. William Fox then wanted to capitalize on the deaths of Locklear and Elliott, rushing the film to release, claiming 10% of the profits would go to the families.

Promotion exploited their deaths... "Every Inch Of Film Showing Locklear's Spectacular (And Fatal) Last Flight. His Death-Defying Feats And A Close Up Of His Spectacular Crash To Earth."

The print of the film has been lost in history.

The lost Skywayman