A few months ago, our own Randel Metz posted a great piece on The Ross-Barrett Historical Aeronautics Collection. One of the people featured in Randel's post was Louis Paul "Gus" Quinn (1895-1964), a pilot and flight instructor who learned to fly in 1911 under the tutelage of Ruth Law, an aeronautics pioneer considered to be the first woman to "loop the loop" in a plane.
When Gus wed Hazel M. Simpson in Oregon in 1917, so began a marriage and lifelong business partnership. In 1919, after Gus returned from serving as a WWI fighter pilot, the couple formed The Three Hawks, a business that provided aerial taxi services, pilot instruction, and aerial photography in Minnesota, Montana, Arkansas, and finally, Colorado.
Gus Quinn was well-known in Colorado for his piloting and instructor skills. He worked with stunt pilot J. G. "Tex" Rankin, and together they became known as the first duo to land a plane in Death Valley. During World War II, Gus was hired by the U.S. government to provide flight instruction. Gus owned over 20 planes in his lifetime—perhaps the most famous being the Rocky Mountain Clipper, a Tri-Motor Ford.
Although Hazel was not a pilot or flight instructor, she had solid knowledge of aircraft maintenance and aerial photography. Hazel's photographs, dating primarily from the 1930s, are part of DPL's Louis Paul and Hazel M. Quinn Papers (WH1910). Over 200 negatives and prints make up the collection, which contains mostly aerial images of Colorado locales (Alamosa, Delta, Fort Morgan, Montrose, Sterling, Trinidad, and more). Other images capture aerial views of oil camps and dam projects in Texas and New Mexico as well as Nebraska's 1935 Republican River flood. This collection is available for research in DPL's Western History/Genealogy department (Central Library, 5th floor).
Gus died from a heart attack at the age of 68 in 1964. Hazel passed away at the age of 88 in 1986. Both Gus and Hazel were inducted into the Colorado Aviation Historical Society's Hall of Fame in 1984.