Arthur Raymond Brooks is one of the few remaining World War I fighter aces and is credited with six aerial victories. He was born in Framingham, Massachusetts on 1 November 1895. He completed his early public education in Framingham and in 1917 graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in electro-chemical engineering. On 23 July 1917, he enlisted at MIT in the Signal Officer Reserve Corps and, on 4 September 1917, began active duty at Fort Wood, Bedloe Island (Statue of Liberty), New York Harbor.
He was one of 300 Americans selected to train with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) at the University of Toronto ground school in Canada. Brooks completed his primary pilot training in the JN4-D Jenny at Taliaferro Field #1, Hicks, Texas, under the continued supervision of the RFC, and left for duty in Europe on 12 March 1918. After a short period of advanced training in France, Brooks was at the front in the 180-horsepower Hispano-Suiza Spad VII fighter. His first victory in the Spad VII was against a Phalz near St. Mihiel, France. During the American Army buildup for the St Mihiel Offensive, Brooks scored victories number two and three while flying a 220-horsepower Spad XIII. On 14 September 1918, while outnumbered eight to one, he scored a double victory against Fokker D-VII aircraft from the famed Richthofen Circus and entered his name on the list of American aces. His sixth and final victory came on 9 October 1918 during the intense maneuvers of the Meuse-Argonne battle for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Following the Armistice, Captain Brooks accepted a regular Army commission and commanded the 1st Pursuit Group for 16 months before attending and graduating from the Field Officer School at Langley Field, Virginia. In 1922, he left the military to serve as an Associate Airways Engineer with the US Department of Commerce where he established beacon lighting for airways and emergency fields throughout the northeast United States. In 1928, he joined Bell Telephone Laboratories where he founded an air group and was chief pilot in a team developing electronic aids for aircraft, ground stations, sea vessels, and railroads. His Spad XIII, "Smith IV," was recently restored by the Paul Garber Facility of the Smithsonian Institute and returned for display in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
It was "Super Sunday," but it didn't begin that way for Rick Brickert. His Super Sea Fury, Dreadnought, had trouble starting and backfired on takeoff. Magically, his fortune changed when those famous words, "Gentlemen, you have a race," rang out, and Brickert pushed his plane to its limits. Challenging the leader, he flew wing-tip-to-wing-tip at over 450 mph, less than 500 feet above the ground. Suddenly, the other pilot declared "Mayday" as his engine started smoking and burning oil. Brickert took the lead and easily outpaced his competitors to win the 1986 National Championship.