Farman Sport  
Walter E. Lees, Winner
Flying Club of St. Louis trophy race
Hartzell Prop Co. FC-1

Air Meet Proper Will Start Tomorrow
Speed Trophy Race Wednesday

Here is a detailed schedule of what spectators at the International Air Meet will see, including attractions today, Sunday, September 30, 1923. St. Louis Field was opened yesterday for some advance attractions, but the meet proper starts tomorrow. The program:

11 a. m.,---Gates open. Aeronautical exhibition in tents, showing progress of development of aircraft and motors. Racing pilots will be trying out their planes. Last of contestants in the "On-to-St. Louis" race will be arriving by air.
2 p. m.---Mulvihill trophy race for model airplanes; 27 youths have models entered, each craft being powered by rubber strands.
7 p. m.---Demonstration of night flying by an army night bombing squadron, with field and planes illuminated.

9 a. m.---Gates open.
9:30 a. m.---Demonstration of the Farman plane, the smallest plane in the world, which weighs only 600 pounds but can make 60 miles an hour.
10 a. m.---Arrival of Veiled Prophet by airplane, this being the first time his majesty has ever appeared in public except for his annual parade and ball.
10:30 a. m.---Reception to the Veiled Prophet by Miss Alice Busch, retiring Queen of the Court of Love and Beauty; two special maids, maids and matrons of honor, Air Board officials and visiting dignitaries.
10:45 a. m.---Demonstration by airship TC-3 from Scott Field, with helium in its gas bag.
11 a. m.---Event No. 2, Flying Club of St. Louis trophy race, for civilians only; distance 93 miles, three times around the course. Prizes, $500, $300 and $200 in each of two classes, speed and efficiency.
Entrants: Robert P. Hewitt, 1 (plane number), Farman "sport"; Charles Sherman Jones, 2, Curtiss Oriole; Lawrence B. Sperry, 14, Messenger; Edmond T. Allen, 27, B. A. S.; Maj. William B. Robertson or Lieut. Frank H. Robertson, 28, special; Walter E. Lees, 59, Hartzell Prop. Co. FC-1; Perry G. Hutton, 61, Laird Swallow; John K. La Grone, 665, Rogers-Day.
12 noon.---Arrival of air mail squadron---10 planes from Omaha, Neb.; three from San Francisco; three from New York and two from Washington, D. C.
From St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 30, 1923
Seven contestants took part in the event, a 150-mile race for light planes with engines of 90 horsepower or less. The contestants got into the air at 11:00 a.m., and "Casey" Jones jumped into the lead in his "Oriole." He led for the entire first lap of the 50-kilometer course, with Lawrence B. Sperry close behind in his "messenger," followed by R.P. Hewitt's Farman "Sport," Walter E. Lees' Hartzell FC1, Perry Hutton's Laird "Swallow."{ St. Louisan William Robertson's "Special," and Tex La Grone's Rogers "Day/" On the second lap,, Sperry, who was "hedge-hopping" at a jheight of 20 feet, took the lead from Jones, but he was overtaken by Lees at the start of the third and final lap. The rest of the field trailed behind the three leaders, with Tex La Grone three miles back. In the home stretch of the last lap, Sperry was only 200 yards behind Lees when he was forced down by ignition trouble. He made swift repairs and was able to complete the race. Lees crossed thefinish line at 12:04:50 p.m. with a total time of 62 minutes and 37.02 seconds, anaverage speed of 89.31 miles per hour, for which hewon the trophy and $500/ Perry Hutton was third for $200, at a speed of 85.28 miles per hour. Robertson was fourth at 83.95, La Grone fifth at 81.05, Hewitt sixth at 78.43, and Sperry last, his average dropping from 87.65 miles per hour for two laps to 71.95 for the entire race. It was a fine opoening event and was well appreciated by the enthusiastic crowd.

THE FARMAN SPORT, 1919 You will find a description of the plane which Robert flew
on the Aviation History Online Museum website.
There is a beautiful picture of the plane and a short history.
You can visit that page by clicking on:
Robert Hewitt
While you are there, you might want to take
the whole "Garber Facility Virtual Tour"
by clicking on "Garber Facility Virtual Tour Home Page."

     Robert P. Hewitt has suffered the loss of a leg, amputated last December in Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, the result of gangrene settling in his once-frozen limb. It was in 1938. He was piloting an airliner from New York to Miami when the heating system failed. At 10,000 feet the temperature was 30 degrees below zero. Hewitt and his co-pilot bundled the 24 passengers in blankets but there was none left for the crew. Hewitt flew the ship in to the airport at Washington but collapsed on stepping from the plane. His Left foot was frozen. His twin sons, aged 20, tech sergeants, with the 5th AF in Japan, are to take up piloting.
from CHIRP, APRIL 1, 1950 - NUMBER 43
courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir
  First Day Cover  
Signed by R P Hewett, Pilot EAT
Contributed by Steve Henderson, 3-19-11

  Highly Recommended Further Reading:
The History of Aviation in St. Louis
by James J. Horgan
The Patrice Press.


Robert P. Hewitt died in 1953
From The Early Birds of Aviation
Roster, 1996
Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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