IN AN AIRSHIP
Hundreds of the First Monday
Morning Issue Delivered by
Aviator Merrill at Mt. Airy
and Other Towns
EARLY START STOPPED
BY ICE IN RADIATOR
Beautiful and Successful Flight
in Afternoon--Makes Two
Landings, Greeted by Crowds
and Asked Many Questions
The start was to have been made yesterday morning at eight o'clock, and Lieut. Merrill motored out to Maynard Field about seven o'clock. After filling up with hot water, and a large amount of hot oil the machine was started. After reaching a height of about 2,500 feet, the engine began to miss, and he was forced to land. Upon investigation it was found that the water had frozen in the radiator, and the trip had to be delayed until the machnine could be thawed out.
Everything was in readiness by one o'clock, and at 1:25, Lieut. Merrill left Maynard Field, heading straight for Rural Hall. Upon sighting the town, he circled it and dropped the papers, which were attached to a parachute. A number of people saw the airplane there, and many eyes were turned toward the heavens.
Immediately after dropping the papers at Rural Hall, the aviator headed straight for Mt. Airy, and upon arriving there circled the town twice, landing at 2:10. Mr. Merrill was met by Mr. C. E. Lundly who took the copies of the paper and distributed them to his customers and the regular Journal subscribers. Much interest was manifested there in The Journal, and many demands were made upon Mr. Merrill for more papers. Mr. Merrill was also asked many questions, the majority of which were, "Are you cold?" A large crowd gathered, and Lieut. Merrill was forced to stay by his machine, lest some one touch a lever, and wreck it. After filling the tank with gas, Mr. Merrill climbed into his plane and soared away for Elkin, leaving Mount Airy at 2:50.
While here in North Wilkesboro the following conversation took place between Mr. Merrill and one of the Wilkesboro citizens.
"Is this a government plane you are driving?"
"No, it is a plane that I bought some time ago," replied the aviator.
"Well, we have been hearing that the government was going to send a plane up here to locate stills, and we thought this might be one of them."
Leaving North WIlkesboro at 4:05, he set out for Yadkinville. The aviator flew just over the tree-tops and dropped the papers in the courthouse square. He recognized Mr. Sampson and waved a friendly greeting to him. After circling the town once, he set out for Winston-Salem and reached Maynard Field at exactly five o'clock. The actual flying time of the trip was 138 minutes.
Mr. Merrill states that he had a good trip, and that the weather conditions were ideal. He commented on the beauty of the scenery up the Yadkin river, from Elkin to Wilkesboro, and on his way across the mountains from Wilkesboro to Yadkinville, he kept "one eye open" for any curl of smoke that might make the delicate task of landing in the treetops worth while.
Mr. Merrill has had more than four hundred hours of flying and has never had an accident. He has been engaged in commercial flying for some time, and has carried hundreds of passengers.
January 6, 1920
Transcribed by Betsy Hendrix, 9-3-07