Mr. Peter W. Gross Dec. 9th, 1963
Pretty Brook Road
My Dear Mr. Gross
Thanks for your interest shown toward me. There isn't much time before the issue of your article so let's go to work. I looked at what was my rare Pfalz, but it had a fin on your picture. When I flew it - and my' side-view picture shows it had no fin. That is why it acted so badly in turns; power full on the ship would skid so badly to the outside that you had to hold on with both hands not to be drawn out of the cockpit, Leveled off one could not see the horizon, one took-off blind and flew blind. You find enclosed the fotos; the front-view shows you the high nose and straight sides of the fuselage, I'm standing under the propeller, and the side shows clearly that there's no fin, I enclosed some more pictures which I think may interest you. But since we are in such a hurry I thought it was best to take single pages out of the album and picked out what could interest you mostly. Your six fotos I will return next week. I'm looking them over good. Persons and planes all came after my time in Speyer. Yes it's Buierlein?, but I did not know Otto Augst. How did you discover Mohrhauer? That was Udet's Pfalz I flew in Buenos Aires. I mentioned it in my last letter to you. Mohrhauer flew passengers in a SAML Italian trainer in those air-shows we put on. You see by reading my clippings from German and Argentine newspapers, I only wish I could show you all my foto albums and clipping-books. Sure the good descriptions came only from the big newspapers La Prensa and La Nacion and in Spanish.
I can brag I was the best written-up aviator in those days in the Argentine. I also flew a Balilla" (hunter) Ansaldo A-1 a fine Italian fighter plane with a 220 HP S.P.A. It was better than the Pfalz D.IV, only a few could fly it right. There goes a moving story with this plane it brought me glory and to the other fellow dead; but I will write it out some other time the newspapers made sensation of it and I have the clippings. Coming back to the Pfalz D-IV, if this high straight sides of its fuselage would have been rounded as on the "Baifish" (Roland) it may not have thrown the ship outwasrd in this fast turns.
Well, ???? Alfred Eversbusch lebt noch, I just write him. Karl Hailer habe ich nicht gekamnt; ich weiss er war mit Ludwig Hanstein in Fl.Abt.9(Vorganger der Jasta 16) unter C.O. Franz Hailer who's address I like to have. Sie schicken ihm ein Buch, if it tells the Pfalz story I wish to in it too. Oberingenier Haag had been adjutant ?; FEA Scheirsheim ?and Betr(abaleiter in Speyer when I was there.) Also right after the war with Daimler-Sidelfingen, where I was too.
Please return to me my fotos and clippings and if you have copies made, one for me please. How do you like my stories? You had hardly time to copy them; they were for you to keep. Here go some more. I could write about the sometimes foolish things I did ?? Speyer like this one: Darkmeister X had never been up and I wanted to show him what he had missed. Also to awaken his full cnscience to feel most responsible while building these airplanes. One fine morning, the sky was full of gorgeous thick cumulus and the air was shining on their high peaks; from above it should have looked as a fantastic moon scenery. We strapped him in the rear seat of the Parasol and off I went, climbing slowly around the big clouds it was marvelous. When we reached near ceiling wer were about the same height as the top of the clouds. I saw by looking back, that he was enjoying it and so I pointed out the biggest one and headed straight for it to cut through just the tip. We saw this enormous snow heap coming closer heavier and thicker every moment. I had figured to cut through near to the top but I was too low and couldn't climb. So here we go, right into a dense, wet grayish and bumpy atmosphere. I hoped we would soon be out again on the other side, but no; soon I lost control while stalling and diving and went in the craziest spirals downward till we came out of it at the bottom of the cloud level. My poor passenger looked an awful mess and I felt sorry for him. I reorientated myself quickly and flew to the field knowing for sure that I had lost out this time in my endeavour to win a new enthusiast for my flying cause....
There were other things happening too; we cheated a few times while making the "Abmahme" (acceptance for the Armee) tests. The conditions for the climb-term were tough and when the atmospheric conditions during a few honest trys, (changing propellers etc. etc.) wasn't enough, we fooled the acceptance officer., There was a certain balast to bring the weight up to full load equipment using heavy little sacks filled with lead (shot). You should have seen with which threatrical skill one of the men carried the sacks filled with sawdust and load them in the ammunition box.....You better not write that story up in your magazines.
Our airdrome was right along the river Rhein, just downstream beyond an old pontoon-bridge. There was a "Badeanstalt" I don't know the proper word in english for this the usual construction; on center so you couldn't look in from the shoreline. This one was for women only. Coming back from my altitude flight I glided the last big circle with gas-lever closed - so schnurpaen - and came low, peeking in over the end of the pool. The girls some stripped to let the sun shine on them screamed and run in all directions, some jumped in the water. I had my fun, let quickly my motor go and beat it home....
As for the enclosures;
3 pages from my album;
1st picture of me standing in cockpit of
my Pfalz-Clerget demonstrator. if you make copies please several.
2nd page pictures of Pfalz E-II before and
after crash (I stunted right down into snow; no broken bones, just
bruised and cut all over). on backside I just landed in Parasol
was run over by Lt. Brecht, Albatros taking off; no one injured.
3rd page: Pfalz D-IV 150 HP Benz in front
Max Holtzem testpilot, Summer 1916 Pfalz Werke Speyer
also in new E-IIs
loose foto; M.H. sitting on fuselage of
Pfalz D-III (Comet was my personal insignia) Jasta 16 (Bavaria)
C.O. Obltn. Roeth? (the balloon-buster). Ypres, 1918.
7 loose clippings from my Circo del Aire.
11 loose clippings with (Udet's) Pfalz-Holtzem
Please take good care of them, no hurry to return. But write me after you received all about how you liked it.
submitted by his son, Donald M. Smith, holder of estate.
Editor's Note: Searching the net for links to Pfalz, I found this comprehensive story of the company. It consists of seven pages of text with some fascinating photographs. I am sure you will enjoy reading their story.