Gladys Roy Collection

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Gladys Roy (1902?-1927) was a barnstormer during the 1920s, performing mostly in the Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Los Angeles and Hollywood, California area. Roy became a parachute jumper in 1921 and later a wing-walker, most famous for dancing the Charleston and for playing tennis on the upper wing of an airplane in flight. According to her letterhead, she was the holder of the world's low record parachute jump and she also completed a parachute jump from 17,000 feet. The Western Vaudeville Managers' Association was Roy's booking agent, and they booked her into fairs across the West. Roy was also did stunt work for Lord Motor Car Company as well as exhibition work for John P. Mills Real estate and for various other real estate exhibitions and auctions. She was in the movie business, appearing in "The Fighting Ranger" (1925), but was thrown from a horse during the production and seriously injured. She was the sister of Robert "Lee," Charles "Les," and Chadwick "Chad" Smith, all prominent pilots from Minnesota who flew for Northwest Airlines and were inducted in the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame. Roy and Lt. Delmar Synder were planning a flight from New York to Rome, but unfortunately Roy died in Ohio on August 15, 1927 when she walked into the spinning propeller of an aircraft that was sitting on the ground.