Someday It Will Be Me
Page 5
     It took a week to get the plane and engine set up and ready to fly. "Walter," Brodie said, "your main job will be to keep the salt spray off the plane and especially off the engine. "

     "The salt air raised cain with the steel cylinders of the Gnome engine and also the hundred or more wires on the plane itself. I spend hours every day rubbing the fins on the engine with an emery cloth to get the rust and corrosion off. I rub and oil it every day whether the plane flies or not."

     While the thirty students stood around impatiently, Brodie waited over a week for just the right weather to test the plane. Then it took several days to get the plane ready to fly again.
Brodie flew a few times, always alone, always low, never over 300 feet. Walter grumbled to one of the other students, "I know Brodie's done quite a little exhibition flying with this plane and handles it well, but I don't think he's ever been over 500 feet in his life."
It was three weeks before everything was ready for instruction to begin. The students drew lots to see who would have the honor to go up first. Walter was the lucky winner.

     "Of course we had to wait for favorable weather, but finally that day came. The engine was started up, and tuned up, as it had to be every time a flight was made. Then Brodie helped me into a little seat directly behind his. He explained that after we were in the air, I was to gently place my hand on the top of the stick, over his, but not grasp it too tightly. There was only one set of controls.
     We wobbled down the beach and got into the air. While Brodie made a big, wide circle, I imagined I was learning to fly. We were only in the air about five minutes."

     In all, Brodie only managed to give three other students a ride, and the flights were few and far between.
     They shipped a Bleriot monoplane down from Chicago, but it was minus an engine so it could only be used for ground instruction. The students took turns sitting in it, working the controls, and imagining the rest.
Excerpt from Aero Magazine, March 30, 1912:

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