FOR LIFE WON
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Friday, August 8, 1914,
Collection of Mike Kane, Aug. 23, 2005
Post and Sun Aviation
EDITORS AS GUESTS TODAY
SATURDAY AERO PROGRAM
Exhibition of flying by Wright Brothers' aeroplane.
Military demonstration - illustrating the dropping of bombs from aloft on moving target below.
Race between aeroplane and Stutz automobile.
Gift shower from the clouds - stay for the shower.
Mimic warfare showing the aeroplane's part in battle-torn Europe today is a feature enlisting
widespread interest in The Post and The Sun free aviation exhibition, continuing this afternoon at Schenley park oval - the militant
feature that engaged the attention of another vast throng yesterday afternoon, as many people as in the first day's outpouring of
20,000, the huge assemblage again forming a living wall all around the race track with the big infield transformed into an aerodrome.
While that great crowd came to see the development of aviation and saw a demonstration of its power as a war factor, the show of mimic attack was transcended by the sight of a real battle in the sky, a wind battle for life, won by Aviator Heth.
What that struggle meant to the solitary being fighting 1,000 feet above the earth against his unseen foe, the mighty force that went against him, most treacherous blasts heaving suddenly at him, could only be realized by the fighter in the clouds that felt the cold cheek of Death held against him. It was the worst and trickiest wind in which this airman in all his extensive experience ever risked a flight.
As the moment approached when he was scheduled to fly the stiff breeze that swayed the trees in Schenley park flung the challenge to the aviator.
The wind, sweeping wisps of cloud fleece across the sky, was full of the gusts from which aviators not so long ago shrank in mortal dread. The swirling dust and frequent gusts carrying away hats showed the treacherous whirlpools in the air which would be like a gorge of Niagara for the airman to navigate.
On the surrounding hills the flags, at half mast for her who had gone to her last rest, fluttered straight from the staffs.
Louis J. Berger, the head of the aviation company, was doubtful about attempting a flight under such unusually trying conditions. However, he had given the assurance which was published in the word that there would be flying every afternoon of the week's exhibition by The Post and Sun regardless of wind and weather, rain or shine.
Aviator Heth had given his word that he would keep faith, and he kept his word, although he staked his life on the proposition.
High up and heading beyond the first turn of the oval track the aeroplane was hit by a current that pitched the machine downward to what, in that strained moment for those who knew, seemed a sure fall. But the aviator recovered his balance, pressing down hard on the warping lever, and kept on, mounting higher against the sky, the sunlight gleaming on the silvered spruce, and the wind-flattened banners on the bottom of the plane showing in letters of blue "The Post" and "The Sun" to the thousands of eyes gazing upward.
In each round of his circling flight the airman struck treacherous currents, threatening to overturn the machine. The hands on warping lever and rudder lever had need to exert all their power of control to the limit.
It is a marvel that in this struggle he let one hand leave a lever to reach for the sacks of flour and aim them as bombs at the White motor truck moving across the field far below, landing a missile so near it that it would have meant sure destruction for a warship.
When he started to descend there was a break in the engine. A magneto shaft snapped. The fearful nature of this is comprehebnded when it is borne in mind that the worst thing which can happen to the aviator is the stopping of his motor when in flight.
Those whirling ;propellers were still spinning under their terrific momentum. The plane slanted downward and just passed over the stable roof at the track end, as it skimmed to earth in the infield.
As the crowds were leaving Schenley oval, workmen started fixing the engine and it will be fully repaired before time for the flight today and Aviator Heth gave absolute assurance last night that he would fly again this afternoon.
This afternhoon the Monongahela Valley Editorial Association, coming to Pittsburgh in a special car, will be the guest of The Post and The Sun at the aviation exhibition.