Major J. Nelson Kelly
Captain Kenneth P. Behr
Photo from Greg Powers, 1-11-05

Excerpt from THAT'S MY STORY, pages 188-190
     "I landed at Floyd Bennett Field that Saturday evening and taxied up to the Hoey Air Service hangar, where I put the plane in the hangar and took off the engine rocker box covers to pack grease around the valve gear and to check the valve clearances. The work progressed nicely and I told the hangar boy I would be ready to gas up the plane and go shortly after midnight.
     About midnight the field manager, Mr. Behr, called up on the phone and said I couldn't take off until morning, and asked did I have a special licnese to fly the plane. After talking a while I agreed to wait until morning and told him I had a special license and that he could check up on iit by calling up Inspector Harwood, which he said he'd do. At 4 A.M., Mr. Behr came down to the field and said for me to get ready and takeoff at the break of dawn.
     So we rolled the plane out of the hangar and filled all the gasoline tanks. The boy for the hangar didn't have any luck trying to spin the propeller, so I got out and cranked the engine myself. After it started I took a flashlight and looked the motor over carefully while it was running to see that nothing was coming loose. Then I walked over and thanked Mr. Behr for the service and asked, "Which way shall I take off?" He said, "Any direction you want, except don't head towards the buildings on the west side of the field."
     There wasn't much wind blowing and the long runway ran east and west, so I said, "I'll take off east," and got in the plane. Just before I taxied out Mr. Behr came over and said, "I won't say good-by, I'll say bon voyage." I closed the cabin door and noticed there was a fire truck, and an ambulance, following me as I started the takeoff. It was still pretty dark but I could clearly see the edge of the concrete runway out of the side window, so there was no trouble in holding the plane straight.
     After rolling down the runway for 3000 ft. the plane took to the air and was 50 ft. high when it passed the eastern edge of the field. As the plane wouldn't climb very fast with the heavy load I decided to fly straight ahead for a few miles before turning west.

Editor's Note: If you want to read the rest of this exciting story, you will find that the book appears to be out of print. I was able to find a copy in the Glendale, CA library, which is associated with my library in Pasadena. With some luck, you may find a copy in a library near you.
     You can also find a brief summary of his adventures on the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission website by clicking on:
Douglas Corrigan

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