practice airplanes. Two senior members of the board stated that if the two men had crashed in a float equipped seaplane, they might have both been thrown free and neither
seriously injured. To solve the dilemma of a shortage of float equipped aircraft, Lieutenant Geiger, as commanding officer of the flying school at North Island, ordered S.C. No. 8,
which was being flown as a land-plane, converted back into a seaplane as a replacement so that it could be used for training Lieutenants Carberry, Taliaferro and other pilots.
He had flown the airplane with a float six months before at the Army War College and felt that it more nearly approached the military hydro-aeroplane requirements than did the
flying boat type.
Some indication of the poor availability of Army aircraft in the spring of 1913 was the approval by Lieutenant Geiger for officers at North Island to build a Curtiss E-type from various spar parts. It turned out to be a good copy and was later designated S.C. No. 23. On December 29, 1913, S.C. No. 23 was flown by Lieutenants Joseph C. Carberry and Fred Seydel when they won the 1913 Mackay Trophy.
Mr. Sperry continued to perfect his stabilizer. As finally evolved it consisted of a double set of gyroscopes, which by controlling the ailerons and rudder kept the plane on an even keel and on course. In January 1914, he demonstrated the ability of his automatic pilot in Paris, France and achieved aviation history by winning a $10,000 safety prize for the automatic control of an aeroplane by means of gyroscopes. Subsequently, he was also awarded the Collier Trophy by the Aero Club of America.
The Hawaii Detachment
In the latter part of June 1913, the "Wright Contingent" under the command of Captain Arthur C. Cowan was sent to San Diego, making North Island the principal aviation school for the Army in the United States. A second training installation with two airplanes and under the command of Lieutenant Frank P. Lahm had been in operation since March 11, 1912 at Fort William McKinley in the Philippines near Manila.
The sending of an air detachment to Hawaii originated in April 1913 when Brig. General Frederick Funston requested such a move in order to establish a third school to train pilots for coastal patrol and artillery cooperation. The Chief of Staff approved an informal arrangement and Lieutenant Geiger was selected to command the new school as part of the First Hawaiian Brigade. In order to free Lieutenant Geiger to establish the first flying station in Hawaii, his command at North Island was assumed by Captain Cowan.
On June 29, 1913 Lieutenant Geiger left San Diego for Honolulu aboard the Army transport ship LOGAN taking with him about 12 enlisted men, Mr. George B. Purington a civilian engine expert, two float-equipped planes, "Julia," the dual control S.C. No. 8, and a new 80-horsepower Curtiss Tractor Scout, S. C. No. 21 (this tractor was the second aeroplane to be accepted by the Army that had the engine and propeller mounted in front), spare parts, used tents, some machinery, and two motorcycles. The detachment arrived at Honolulu on Sunday morning, July 13, 1913.
The Army made almost no provision for the arrival of Lieutenant Geiger's detachment, so it was faced with all sorts of difficulties. They were first ordered to Schofield Barracks, a huge Army station in the middle of the island of Oahu about 10 miles north of Pearl Harbor (at about the location of Wheeler Field of World War II fame).