Even before there were runways, the area south of the city of Seattle was Washington's aviation hub. Charles Hamilton, a daredevil dubbed "Crazy Man of the Air," became the first flyer in the state when he coaxed his Curtiss biplane into the sky over Meadows Racetrack in 1910. He promptly crashed. With the help of William Boeing and his growing aviation company, Boeing Field opened in 1928. In those early days, brave air travelers could hitch a ride along with bags of mail in cold, noisy biplanes. Bigger, better aircraft soon followed, but wartime intervened. Thousands of Flying Fortress bombers emerged from Boeing's Plant 2 at the edge of the airfield and winged off to war. In the years after, Boeing Field served a dazzling array of winged machines—from the smallest Piper Cub to Air Force One.