IN HISTORY OF EARLY BIRDS
By ERNEST JONES, EB
Everything considered, the year 1910 was undoubtedly the biggest and best, relatively, that American aviation ever has seen.
The Army was flying its first and only plane, Orville Wright had flown to fame in Germany, Wilbur has circled Grant's Tomb, and Curtiss had returned from winning laurels in France and Italy at the world's first flying meets.
The year opened with the establishment of the Mineola Flying field by the Aeronautics Society . . . the exhibitions there of Paulhan, Curtiss and Willard ... Paulhan's new world altitude flight record of 4,165 feet ... the exhibition of Hamilton, Knabenshue and Hillery and Lincoln Beachey ...
The Boston indoor show, the first Burgess, the first Uppercu and the Thomas ... President Taft's signing of a proclamation annoucing the ratification of The Hague Peace Conference, prohibiting aerial bombing ... Paulhan at Jamaica race track ... opening of the Wright training schools at Montgomery and Dayton ... and the formation of an exhibition company under Roy Knabenshue ...
Recognition of the Wright patent by the Aero Club of America and the demand by William M. Page, Aero Club attorney, that Congress resolve that any patent which "ran through the warp and woof of prosperity be condemned" ... this, in the course of his remarks on the "menace of the Wrights"...
Hudson Maxim's call for a National Aeronautic Federation during the spirited Aeronautic Society Aero Club activity contest ... the San Francisco air show, an intercollegiate aeronautic convention, and the starting of group exhibitions by Curtiss pilots ... these were the beginnings of aviation in the spring of 1910.
On May 29, Glenn Curtiss flew from Albany to New York for a new cross-country record and the New York World's $10,000 prize. With refueling stops at Poughkeepsie and Spuyten Dyvil, he hurtled his 50-horsepower projectile down the 142.5 mile course at just over 50 miles an hour.
June 12 the Wright exhibition company launched its six-day campaign at Indianapolis with Brookins, Johnstone, Welch, Hoxsey, Coffyn, LaChapelle and Orville Wright.
Brookins made two new altitude records. Independent fliers were: Curzon, Lincoln Beachey, Russell Shaw and Melvin Marquette. About this time Prof. J. J. Montgomery began building a power plane in California.
On June 13, Charles K. Hamilton made his New York - Philadelphia round trip flight in an elapsed time of a trifle over 11 hours.
And there was the Edwin Gould prize offer of $15,000 for a multi-engined job that would fly on either power plant. It was never paid, although one competitor did the trick.
July saw the formation of the Curtiss Exhibition Co., with Glenn Curtiss himself doing the first flying at Atlantic City and Walter Brookins, the other attraction. Again a new flight record for Walter--6,175 feet. This month saw the institution of the Wright infringement suits.
The Armour Institute started the first course in aerodynamics ... there were the Wright exhibitions at Asbury Park ... Willard's second year of exhibitions ... John B. Moissant became the first American to fly the English Channel and the first to fly from Paris to London ... and don't forget the Sheepshead Bay meet, with Curtiss, Willard, Mars, Ely, McCurdy and Augustus Post.
Also in August, Clifford Harmon flew across Long Island Sound and on Aug. 31 Curtiss flew from Cleveland to Cedar Point, 65 miles across Lake Erie, and returned Sept. 1.
FIRST AIR RACING
The first competitive air meet in America was held at Squantum, Mass., Sept. 3-16, organized by James V. Martin for the Harvard Aeronautical Society. Contestants: Curtiss, Grahame-White, Willard, Brookins, Johnstone, Hilliard, Harmon, Burgess, A. V. Roe in his triplane, Horace Kearney and Augustus Post.
White collected $29,600 in prizes and guarantees in this first appearance in America; Johnstone and Brookins won $39,250; Curtiss fliers, $16,500. Receipts were $126,000 from 67,241 paid admissions.
The day after the Squantum meet closed, Hawley and Post won the National Balloon Race, drifting 453 miles from Indianapolis. Blanche Scott, perhaps America's first woman aviator, began training at Hammondsport for her exhibition career near the end of September.
The next week or two saw Brookins establish a new non-stop cross-country record of 86.5 miles ... Donald Gordon fly a plane powered with a 5-horsepower geared motocycle engine ... another new endurance record of 2 hours 45 seconds by Arch Hoxsey in opening the St. Louis meet ... ex-President Theodore Roosevelt fly with Hoxsey.
LANDS ON STREET
The Hearst prize of $50,000 for a transcontinental flight within 30 days ... no contestants and prize withdrawn a year later ... Claude Grahame-White lands his Farman in the street between the White House and the State, War and Navy Building in Washington.
On Oct. 15, Walter Wellman and crew left Atlantic City in the airship "America" the largest at that time. A rip panel popped open. A steamer rescued the party some 800 miles at sea the following day.
Alan Hawley and Augustus Post won the fifth Gordon Bennett balloon race--St. Louis to Lake St. John, Quebec, 1,173 miles, 46 hours duration, also setting a new American distance record for which Hawley was awarded the Lahm Cup.
The world's greatest and grandest aggregation of airmen took over Belmont Park, Oct. 22-31, with the second flying of the Gordon Bennett airplane race and all kinds of records shattered.
109 K. P. H.
C. G. White, in a Bleriot, won the Gordon Bennett at 62.5 miles in 1 hour 1 minute 1 second. Leblanc, in a Bleriot, made a flock of world records over distances ranging from five to 90 kilometers. His greatest speed was 109.23 kph. Hamilton was unofficially timed at 107 kph.
Johnstone and Hoxsey made approximately 8,000 and 7,000 feet respectively in a high wind which drove them backward, 42 and 25 miles respectively.
Moisant, in a Bleriot, won the $10,000 Allan Ryan Statue of Liberty prize race, which was contested by White and finally awarded to DeLesseps, who finished last.
There were more foreign contestants than ever before or since, more new records established and the exhibitions were reatively speaking, more spectacular. Following were the contestants:
C. G. White (England), with Bleriots and a Farman; James Radley (England), Bleriot; John B. Moisant, (America), Bleriot; A. J. Drexel (America), Bleriot; Rene Simon (France), Bleriot; Emile Aubrun (France), Bleriot; W. E. McArdle (England), Bleriot; C. Audemars (Switzerland), Demoiselle; Roland Garros (France), Demoiselle; Alfred Leblanc (France), Bleriot; Hubert Latham (France), Antoinette; Eugene Ely (America), Curtiss; Rene Barrier (France), Bleriot; Harry S. Harkness (America), Antoinettes; Capt. T. S. Baldwin (America), Baldwin; Charles K. Hamilton (America), Farman; J. A. D. McCurdy (America), Curtiss; J. C. Mars (America), Curtiss.
Then there were Walter Brookins, Arch Hoxsey, J. C. Turpin, Ralph Johnstone, P. O. Parmalee, all Americans, with Wright machines; Alec Ogilvie (England), Wright; Todd Shriver (America), Curtiss; J. J. Frisbie (America), Curtiss type.
Walter Christie had a monoplane with two tandem engines, but it was not flown. Harkness did not fly but Latham flew his Antoinettes for him and distinguished himself, along with Hoxsey and Johnstone, by flying in high winds when the rest of the pilots were grounded.
Following the Belmont meet there was formed the Moisant International Aviators, comprising some of the foreign and American contestants, a school was opened at Mineola, the Moisant type monoplane was built and the exhibition company, the third largest flying group in the country, toured the United States, Mexico and Central America.
Eugene Ely made the first flight from a boat Nov. 14, when he took off from a platform built on the deck of the cruiser USS BIRMINGHAM in Hampton Roads.
On Dec. 24, Los Angeles held its second meet of the year, with new American records resulting. Hoxsey, Radley, Willard, Parmalee, Brookins, Latham, Ely, Curtiss, Glenn Martin, Hugh Robinson, Lincoln Beachey, C. F. Walsh, the Cannon boys and Edgar Smith were there.
Ralph Johnstone was killed Nov. 17 at Denver while fulfilling an exhibition contract with Hoxsey and Brookins. Johnny Moisant was killed at New Orleans and Hoxsey at Los Angeles on Dec. 31.
-----------since that of Lieut Selfridge at Washington in 1908. At the close of the same year, Nov. 23, came the death of the railroad builder and pioneer American air experimenter, the beloved Octave Chanute.
Among the immediate results of the year's aerial activity was the appropriation early in 1911 of funds for the Army and Navy air services, the launching of seaplane development and naval aviation, development of aircraft radio, engine starters, steel construction, and aircraft manufacturers' association, low powered airplanes, aeronautical legislation, anti-aircraft guns, catapult launchings, air mail, airplane bombing, aerial photography and transcontinental hops.
courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir
Editor's Note: I found this article, which was written by Early Bird Ernest Jones, in a copy of the CHIRP which had been sent
to me by Steve Remington. I found it to be so interesting that I decided to copy it to a page on my site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I