Born in 1887 or 1888 in Whitehouse, New Jersey, George W. Beatty was employed as a young man as a linotype operator. He was shortly to enter the field that would define much of his life. In June of 1911 he enrolled at the Wright School at Nassau to be taught by Al Welsh. Soloing on July 23 of that year, he set a new two-man American altitude record on the same day. Throughout that summer, Beatty would set several more records, in altitude, weight-carrying and duration. On August 6, 1911, Beatty obtained license number 41 and subsequently attended meets where he was to break several American and world records. Also in that year, he would become the first to fly a plane in which air to ground communication was maintained throughout the flight.
Early in 1912, Beatty established a school on Long Island. Its proximity to New York allowed Beatty to become the first person to land on Manhattan when he flew over the city and into Central Park. He would soon need to take his skills elsewhere, however. After the unfortunate death of Al Welsh, Beatty took the place of his former instructor at College Park, Maryland, testing aircraft for the government.
The next year, Beatty shipped his Wright plane to England. The aircraft had by now been equipped with a GYRO seven-cylinder rotary motor. He formed a partnership with Handly-Page to establish a flying school at the Hendon Aerodrome, outside of London. This venture was highly successful and was to produce over one thousand fliers for the Royal Air Force. After the war, Beatty worked for a Parisian motorcycle manufacturer and remained in Europe for nineteen years.
In later life, Beatty was to return to the field of his youth, working for the Hughes Printing Company. On February 21, 1955, George W. Beatty, a member of the Early Birds and an outstanding figure in early aviation, passed away at 67.