San Diego Hysterical Society

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The Top WWW

by Bart Wingman

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 Al Williams was the most daring stunt pilot San Diego had ever seen. His most spectacular feat was to get out of the cockpit of his Waterman bi-plane and walk out to the ends of the wings.

Al Williams, the Top WWW 
- Al Williams, The Top WWW -

The Waterman 911A bi-plane was the most stable platform for stunt flying, and so there were several copycat Waterman Wing Walkers, but Al was known as "The Top WWW". Al discovered that if he pushed the ailerons with his foot that he could maneuver the plane through an entire 360 roll.

Al flew in many local air shows, including the Del Mar Fair, the annual Brown Field Fly-In and the North Island Wings Over Water events. But perhaps Al's most memorable exhibition flight was the one he flew over the welcoming home parade the city held for Edward Balboa and Charles Lindbergh.

Al flew his plane low over Point Loma and lined up with downtown's Broadway. Over the bay he walked out to the wing and rolled the plane upside down. While steering with his foot he flew between the buildings on Broadway, over the surprised crowd and through the clouds of ticker tape being thrown out the windows.

Al went on to become a star in San Diego's burgeoning film industry. He won an Academy Award for best supporting actor in the original screen version of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

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