Mabel Cody's Flying Circus

by Michael Satterfield

The pilot flying one of Mabel Cody's planes above "Sig" Haugdahl, in his Frontenac automobile on Daytona Beach. Stuntman Louis "Bugs" McGowan later transferred from the car to the plane. The Mabel Cody Flying Circus did a number of stunts including night flying, wing walking, auto to plane transfers both with and without the use of ladders, single and double parachute drops, wingwalking while the plane looped and changing planes without the use of a ladder.

Mabel Cody, the niece of Buffalo Bill Cody, organized and promoted a Flying Circus even though she wasn't a pilot. The flying circus performed at fairs as well as for events organized by real estate developers to attract potential land and home buyers to Coral Gables.

A few years after these photos were taken Mabel fell 50 feet while performing an auto to plane transfer stunt, suffering injuries the circus disbanded shortly after the accident. Mabel went on to join the Doug Davis Baby Ruth Flying Circus after she recovered.

The pilot holds steady as Bugs McGowan transfers from the car to the plane.

Bugs McGowan, Sig Haugdahl, and Mabel Cody, Daytona Beach 1922.