Prof. Bonnette
Prof. Bonnette in his Curtiss Biplane
Prof. Bonnette in his Curtiss Biplane
Collection of Jerry Blanchard, 11-22-07

Prof. C. C. Bonette Will Take Mrs. Bonette in His Airship
She Has Studied Aviation
Bangor Daily Commercial,
August, 1911
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 11-18-07
"Yes, this is a two passenger machine," said Prof. C. C. Bonette, who will fly in his Curtis aeroplane at the Eastern Maine State Fair this year. "I built it for myself and Mrs. Bonette, and will make our first airship flight together at the fairs in the south this coming winter.

This notwithstanding the fact that Mrs. Bonette is unable to walk, having been injured in a parachute drop at Malone, N. Y., about 14 years ago. For the past four years she has been confined to a wheel chair. She is of a plucky disposition, however, and has learned much about the science of aviation from a correspondence course. After several months of study, she is confident that she will be able to accompany her husband on his trips as a passenger.

If any one is in the United States, or the world for that matter, can claim the title air man, that person is surely Prof. Bonette. He has been going up in the air now for 19 years as a balloonist and the remainder as an aviator. For the past 12 years he has been a regular visitor to the Eastern Maine State Fair, and each time has made good in giving the crowds what they expect.

Prof. Bonette learned to fly in Chicago last year. The process took about three months, he says, and it was not without having had several accidents that he finally graduated as an aeronaut. Accidents are still immediate possibilities in his daily work, for last week at Squantum while making a descent, the machine struck an air pocket and dropped 50 feet very suddenly. The left half of the wing was badly damaged and he ascends at the Eastern Maine State Fair Tuesday afternoon at 5 o'clock with an entirely new section there.

"Were you hurt?"

"Well, I was shaken up some, but I never say I'm hurt unless I get a broken leg.'

In the effort to secure the most power with the least weight, the engine, a 60 horsepower affair, has an iron cylinder, and a steel piston rod, the rest of the parts consisting mainly of an aluminum alloy. The machine weighs 169 pounds.

The aeroplane is slightly larger than the standard size Curtis biplane, the dimensions of the wings being 30 feet long and five feet wide. Instead of warping the wings, a device known as the Palmer ailerons are employed, which permit the aviator making the balance by moving his body on the sliding seat. The cloth covering is of the finest French rubberized silk, extremely light and strong. The framework is of ash and steel bicycle tubing of a special make.

Ash is used for the fan, a two armed affair, eight inch blades an a four and a half foot pitch.

"I believe that within the next five years flying will be a common sport. It requires considerable nerve now, but improvements are being made each year rendering flying safer. The monoplane is the swiftest form of the flying machine, but is not as safe as the biplane. The Curtiss stabilizer is the latest improvement and is a long step in making navigation of the air practicable."

Prof. Bonette makes his first flight at 5 o'clock Tuesday afternoon.

Aviator Has Hopes of Making Ascent Wednesday
Brilliant Blaze of Fireworks at Night,
Bangor Daily Commercial,
August, 1911
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 11-18-07
The fine weather of Tuesday and Wednesday forenoon gave way at noon Wednesday to a slight shower and caused fear that the proceedings at the fair would be interrupted. Nevertheless the early afternoon cars down to Maplewood were packed with people who were hoping the clouds would roll away and that the racing would not be prevented. There was little wind and Aviator Bonette announced during the morning that everything was in readiness for his ascent late in the afternoon. The work of repairing the shattered end of his Curtiss biplane, which was broken at the Squantum aviation field last Thursday, has been finished and he was only waiting, he said, for favorable weather conditions before making the first flight which has ever taken place in Bangor

. The week here means much to Bonette. For many years he has been a successful balloonist. He has only recently taken up the aeroplane seriously as a profession and he is most anxious that his performance here shall be creditable. Managers of other fairs in various parts of the country were at Maplewood Wednesday to get a line on his work with a view to engaging him for their exhibitions. He was wise, most of them think, not to attempt a flight Tuesday as the wind was strong and puffy and he hardly could have escaped disaster.

Bangor's Fair to Open at Maplewood Tuesday,
The Midway is in Readiness and Horses and Stock are Here,
Bangor Daily Commercial,
August, 1911
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 11-18-07
All was hustle and activity down at Maplewood park on Monday and by the time the sun rises on Tuesday morning everything will be in readiness for the opening of the 28th annual exhibit of the Eastern Maine State fair. If the usual "Beal weather" holds this week the fair will be one of the most successful in years. No one who took the trouble to visit the grounds on Monday can have serious doubts of this. A number of new attractions are being offered for the amusement of the fair patrons this year, including aeroplane flights by C. C. Bonette. ..

Bonette to Fly Daily

There is keen interest here in Bonette's aviation stunts and a good sized crowd gathered at the place where his Curtiss biplane was being put together Monday. Bonette has given parachute drops at the fair here for 13 or 14 years and is well known to Bangor people. This is his first season with an aeroplane.

Owing to an accident which he had at the Squantum aviation field last Thursday in which he dropped 50 feet to the ground, wrecking one end of his aeroplane. Bonette will probably not be ready to make his first flight before 5 o'clock Tuesday afternoon. He will make two or three flights each day. If the wind is blowing much he will do straight away work but, if the air currents permit, he will turn and circle and cut figure eights and do other stunts.

Bonette's machine, which weighs less than 500 pounds, is equipped with a 60 horse power motor and capable of making a speed of 60 miles per hour.

S. L. Saunders, Master Mechanic for Bonette,
Has Had Much Experience in Aviation,
Bangor Daily Commercial,
August, 1911
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 11-18-07
One of the interesting personalities at the fair is S. L. Saunders of Cambridge, Mass., master mechanic for C. C. Bonette, the aeroplane man. Mr. Saunders is an "old hand" at the science of aviation and is now an instructor of the Harvard Aeronautical society, which by the way has no direct connection with the university.

Although Mr. Saunders has only been identified with aeroplanes and their operation for the past two years, he has been engaged in other branches of aeronautical work for a longer period. In addition to instructing members of the Harvard Aeronautical society in the operation and construction of aeronautical contrivances, he has found time during his odd moments to invent a number of machines that aviators think well of.

One of Mr. Saunders first machines was the Ground Hog. This machine, the inventor thought, was going to do great things, but when it was tried out, although it had the necessary engine power and was thought to combine the necessary qualities for ascension into the air, it could not rise from the ground. Aviators accordingly nicknamed it the Ground Hog.

Mr. Saunders is now at work on an airship that is principled after the arrow or dart and he hopes to give it a try-out at a not too future date. Of the different types of airships now in use, Mr. Saunders considers the Wright bi-plane to be the safest and best.

Speaking of Harry Atwood, the Boston aviator, who is making a world-breaking record flight from St. Louis to New York city, Mr. Saunders speaks from an intimate acquaintance. He says that the young aviator is very eccentric in many ways and while he does not disparage the wonderful performance of the young Bostonian in flying from St. Louis to the point he has, he considers that he has not yet "class' enough to rank with the professional aviators. "He's all right while he is by himself,' said Mr. Saunders, "but I think when he gets in the company of the big birdmen it will be a different story.'

From Bangor, Mr. Saunders goes to the Boston aviation field where he will attend the meet to be held there next week. He is expecting to see some wonderful flying there. Bonette, who failed to get in the air during the fair, is entered in a number of the events of the Boston meet.

Note: Who's Who of Ballooning, Robert J. Rechs, November 21, 1983, ISBN 0-937568-26 lists on page 212 the death of a Bonnette from a crash landing on October 11, 1907. Maybe this was a father or uncle? Many of these balloonists used simply hot air from a fire that produced also some smoke and therefore are known as 'smoke balloonists.' And there were a considerable number of them at the numerous county fairs all across the USA for at least three decades.

But alas, Mr. Rechs was WRONG! I searched under Bennette balloonist and found this article:

Prof. Bonnette's Balloon Bursts at Fair
Two Race Track Accidents.
October 11, 1907, Friday
Page 1, 230 words
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 11-18-07
CLAREMONT, N.H., Oct. 10. -- Three accidents, two of them serious, occurred at the Sullivan County Fair to-day. Prof. Bonnette. a ballonist, was badly injured and had a narrow escape from instant death. Bonnette's balloon burst as he was 200 feet from earth. The shrieks and cries of the spectators notified Bonnette of the mishap even before the balloon began to settle and he made frantic efforts to cut away his parachute.

The parachute could not be cut away until the balloon has settled to within about 100 feet of the ground, when it suddenly gave away and Bonnette was precipitated to the earth, the parachute failing to open.

Bonnette fell directly into the crowd. He was picked up unconscious and taken to the Claremont Cottage Hospital. He had received serious injuries to his back.

Of course, he may have died at a later date OR he became our aeroplane driver!

     If you search for "Prof. C. C. Bonnette", using the Google search engine, (11-19-07), you will find a single link. If you limit the search term to "C. C. Bonnette" you will find several more links of interest.
Dangrerous Fall of an Aeronaut.
     This newsclipping, which is found in the archives of the New York Times, describes an accident which Prof. Bonnette suffered on September 24, 1896., when he was a balloonist.
      You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

via email from M.G. Patterson on May 3, 2005
found on the Virtual Vermont Internet Magazine Message Board
     Clarence C.Bonnette (Bonnett) was my great uncle.He was a balloonist, aeronaut in New England in the late 1800s and 1900s . I am trying to obtain information about him.He was born in 1872 in Victory Vt , and died in 1947 in Concord ,NH. If you have any info regarding his exploits , please email me.. Thanks..MGP

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