Louis Philip Billard was one of Topeka’s first aviators, taking his place with aircraft builder Albin K. Longren. He was born in the Capitol City on April 27, 1891, and when airplanes came to be, he quickly joined those who had a fascination with flying. His teacher was the local airplane builder Longren, who let him fly his planes and eventually sold Billard one. Billard’s flights around Topeka garnered attention, in part because of the fascination with flying and in part because his father was Topeka’s mayor. His father was concerned about the dangers in flying, but knew his son wanted something faster than an automobile.
Billard volunteered for service when World War I started, and was assigned to be a test pilot and be an instructor in France. He was killed when his plane crashed on July 24, 1918.
For more information, see the essay: https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/l-philip-billard/15562
For more about the Longren biplane Billard owned–and which is now hanging from the ceiling of the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka, see: https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/cool-things-longren-s-biplane/10107