Historic places and people in the land of milk and honey: Wisconsin's treasure: a tribute to our past, a celebration of the present and our commitment to continue the good life
[Dale Crites], p. 18 PDF (349.5 KB)
Dale Crites flying his replica of a Curtiss Pusher biplane. This plane now hangs in the lobby of Mitchell Field in Milwaukee WI. Bob Huggins, together with his brother Ralph, lived in and went to school in Honey Creek. Following grade school they went to Burlington High School. Bob worked during his high school years as a draftsman for the Burlington Brass Works. He became interest- ed in aeroplanes shortly after graduating from school and took flying lessons, thus launching what was to become a lifetime career, The two brothers were very good mechanics and in time began to build planes in the barn next to their house. The barn still stands. Bob taught his brother Ralph and neighboring twin brothers Dean and Dale Crites to fly in the early Twenties. One of their earliest creations was a cabin monoplane put together in 1928 or 1929 in what is now Gene's Bug Hut on the corner of D & DD in the Village of Honey Creek. Egor Sikorsky, the man who developed the helicopter, came to Honey Creek to see the wing that was used in this airplane. He encouraged Bob Huggins to help him with his helicopter. The airplane itself was pow- ered by an Indian Motorcycle engine and flew very well, but in landing, flipped over in a gully or ditch in the hayfield that was used as a landing field. It was patched up and was soon flying again with much more respect given to the ditch, George Gerber and Harvey Colbo also helped the Huggins and Crites built this plane. This was the FIRST cabin monoplane built in the State of Wisconsin. Bob gave rides at $1 per person or $2, as his biplane could hold two people in the front cockpit. This was one of the attractions at the Racine County Fair during the Thirties. During the war, the Crites and Bob Huggins were instructors in the Army Air Corp. Ralph Huggins was killed in an airplane accident near Whitewater, WI. He was in his thirties at the time. Bob managed the Brown Deer airport until retirement. The Crites managed and were involved in owning airplanes and leasing them out at the Waukesha airport until they retired. Waukesha Airport was named Crites Field in honor of these two men. Wendell E. Earle
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