HIGHLIGHTS A QUARTER OF A CENTURY AGO - 1912
from the Early Birds of Aviation
June, 1937 - Number 20
The nights and days of the year of Apple Blossom Time in Normandy and Waitin' for the Robert E.
Lee, like those of 1911, were big in the annals of American aeronautics. Meets, shows and exhibitions; and more startling steps in
invention development and performance--inception of the flying boat--first air speed meter--self starters--Fowler's transcontinental--
proposals for federal legislation--first airplane parachute--flight of Bell's kite--an air mail bill--demonstration of the first "foolproof" airplane--
introduction of skywriting--first airplane machine gun--a roof take-off--first catapult launchings--first bomb sight contest--muffled engines--
the first "military type" airplanes for the Army--and more records.
Highlights of 1912 tied to dates--days of that year in which Early Birds made history. A majority of all
these pioneers, record-makers and those of less degree, are now but overnight from each other by the airplane which they helped to
develop and to practically apply.
Glenn Curtiss made his first flight in a flying boat at North Island, the 50 horse Curtiss engine in the
bow of a flat-bottomed hull driving two tractor screws by clutch and chain. (Casey Jones, note). Third Los Angeles meet, with Lincoln
Beachey, Parmalee, Glenn Martin,
Turpin, Fish, Gill, Cooke; and the local
aviators Stevens, Harvey Crawford, Frank M. Stites and
Frank Boland introduced the first air speed meter seen here, a hand crank was installed on
Burgess-Wright planes and the Elbridge Company announced a self-starter.
On the 12th, Robert G. Fowler completed his transcontinental flight
from Los Angeles to Pablo Beach, Fla. after 116 days on the way--the flying time was 72 hours for the Wright. John Sloane started a
campaign for a municipal airport for New York.
Ernest Jones' magazine Aeronautics began its proposal for federal
legislation to head off conflicting state laws whidh plague 1937. Dr. A. Graham Bell's tetrahedral kite made hops for
J. A. D. McCurdy. Bert Berry made the first parachute jump from
"Tony Jannus' Benoist Jefferson Barracks, Mo. Congress committee knocked out the Postmaster's bill for $50,000 air mail
Harriet Quimby flew the English Channel and the Secretary of War
reported 5 air officers and 5 more under instruction, with 2 other officers trained but not on duty with the Signal Corps.
Elbridge engine company advertised k. d. biplanes, with engine for $875 and a demonstrator was flown at Mineola. In this the editor grass-cut.
M. H. Simmons demonstrated the stalling of an airplane at low altitudes,
it dropping gradually and taking its own gliding angel to a landing without mishap, using the inherently stable tandem monoplane built by
R. R. Grant. Entirely uninstructed, Simmons flew the first time up. An extensive aircraft show held at
Grand Central Palace. James Means urged on the military smoke signalling from aircraft and subsequently demonstrated his system, the
forerunner of skywriting. Paul Peck hung up a new American duration record of 4:33:15 in
Miss Columbia powered by a 50 horse Gyro developed by Robert S. Moore for Emile Berliner.
In competition for the $15,000 Gould safety prize Howard W. Gill was the
only contestant and the
donor declared the contest off. (Reminds one of the Hearst prize). In Lieut. T. D. Milling's Army Wright,
Capt. Charles DeF. Chandler fired the first airplane machine gun.
Silas Christofferson flew off a 170-foot wooden runway built on the roof of a hotel in Portland to the military
barracks at Vancouver. Unsanctioned Boston meet run on exhibition basis by Glenn Martin,
Lincoln Beachey, Quimby, Page, Freeman,
Peck, Niles, Terrell,
Hamilton, Blanche Scott, Gray and Patmore.
Vaniman airship caught fire off Atlantic City with a loss of five lives, preparatory to a renewed attempt to
cross the Atlantic by airship. The Aero Club of Pennsylvania presented to Congress a measuring for federal regulation. Honeywell and
Donaldson won the national balloon race to select the American team for the international event. On the last day occurred the world's
first launching of an airplane by catapult, designed and built by Capt. W. I. Chambers of the Navy.
Lieut T. G. Ellyson was the pilot for the Curtiss single-float plane.
Observation airplanes participated in maneuvers of the National Guard and Regular Army in lower
Connecticut and New York -- Milling, Arnold,
Kirtland and Foulois pilots.
Riley Scott won the Michelin international bomb dropping prize in France with the only sighting device
worth the name, the first scientific instrument of its kind.
Jules Vedrines (Dep-140 Gnome) won the fourth Gordon Bennett
international plane race at Chicago, establishing many new American records. A Chicago syndicate had financed the construction by the
Burgess Co. & Curtis of a special monoplane cup defender but no pilot seemd anxious to fly it. Following the race at the great Chicago
Meet, with Lillie, DeLloyd Thompson,
W. C. Robinson, Prevost, Mars, Gill,
Tournier, Montero, Dougherty,
Kearney, Beech, Sjolander, Mestach,
Wiggin , Fish and Engle, Leo Stevens demonstrated his "life pack"
with Rodman Law jumping from Harry Brown's Wright.
Lieut. Jack Towers made new American duration record of 5:10:35.
Aeronautic Society opened its Oakwood Heights field with a meet--Brown, Kemmerle,
Ruth Law and Beatty. Army replaced the
Renault in its Burgess with a muffled Sturtevant engine and the Navy had a similar engine on order. Honeywell and Lang won third place
in the international balloon race from Stuttgart. Walter E. Johnson (Thomas) made a new American
2-man endurance record of 3:51:15.
Harry Brown (Wright) made a new 2-man altitude record with Isabella
Patterson of 5,300 feet at Oakwood Heights. The Army's first flying boat completed tests. Another exhibition of the Aeronautic Society
with Hamilton, Peoli, Ruth Law, Harry Brown
and George Beatty. On Nov. 1, the Army had 12 airplanes, 12 officers and 39 men on air duty.
Antony Jannus (Benoist seaplane--2 cycle 100 hp. Roberts) made
longest water flight in the United States from Omaha to New Orleans, 1835 miles by route of a five weeks' tour of exhibitions and
passenger-carrying. As the result of the urging of Capt. W. I. Chambers, Navy air head, President Taft
appointed a commission to report on the possibilities of a national aerodynamic laboratory, resulting eventually in the NACA.
The third demonstration of the Navy catapult was made and complete new equipment ordered, later installed on the