AKA A. B. Wizard Stone
Email from Andrew Fullarton, 7-26-01
It's good to hear from you. I found your site most interesting, having always been interested in the pioneer days of aviation. Here are a few bits of info on Wizard Stone, and I'll send more as I find it.
He was born in 1874, and came to Australia late in 1912 with what I think was an American - built Bleriot monoplane - I've seen it referred to as a "Metz-Bleriot". His mechanic was Bert Hinkler, a young Australian aviation enthusiast who later became a famous solo long-distance flyer. In 1913, after completing his Australian tour and surviving a few severe crashes, he went to New Zealand. He also was a motorcycle wall-of-death rider and did some of this in Australia as well, and in New Zealand he had a try at setting a new land speed record. I've read various articles about Wizard Stone over the years and am told that back in the '60's a book was written about him, which a friend of my father has a copy of. I've also read that back in the US, Stone was test pilot for the Queen Aircraft Company, builders of another Bleriot copy.
That's about all I can think of for now, and I've attached a photo of a little-known pioneer Australian aviator, Laurie Marshall, with the biplane that he built here in Melbourne in about 1911. It's not known for certain whether he succeeded in flying it, but he experimented with it until he went bankrupt, and the engine is now in a museum.
'Bye for now, and I look forward to hearing from you again.
Best wishes from Andrew Fullarton
A. B. (Wizard) Stone prepares to take off from Callaghan Park Racecourse, Rockhampton Q on 4 Jun 1912 in his Bleriot to race
against S. Taylor's car, driven around the course while he flew above. Although leading, the race ended when Stone crashed in a
nearby cricket ground
Kindly provided by Andrew Fullarton
Sydney George TaylorThis photo is of Sydney when he was about 23 years old and was the only early shot of him that my relatives could find so it was only about three years earlier that he partook in the race with Wizard Stone.Hope this is of use to you.
The Driver IdentifiedRalph,
via email from Dale Taylor, 2-16-11
I am amazed at your piece and photo showing Wizard Stone race against S Taylor at Callighan Park in Rockhampton in 1912, for the record this was my Grandfather, Sydney George Taylor, who was 20 at the time and was employed by his father Henry as a cab driver in Rockhampton so the car he drove around the Park that day was probably a cab/taxi. This piece of history has been in my family since then but is not talked about much hence it has not came surfaced to me until recently,maybe it fills a gap for you.
via email from Dale Taylor, 3-15-11
Today my cousin showed me an edition of 16th March 2011 Morning Bulletin from Rockhampton, Queensland which ran a piece of the 1912 race and also mentioned that Wizard had flown his machine a few days earlier in Rockhampton at the Show grounds making him the first plane to fly in Queensland. Attached is the feature.Enjoy.
Ps You will see that the car was owned by Sydney's father, Henry
|PLANE RACING: The second aeroplane flight in Queensland took place at Callaghan Park racecourse in Rockhampton, where the Bleriot aeroplane raced a motor car. American aviator, Arthur Burr "Wizard" Stone, was matched to race S. Taylor in the motor car. The plane eventually gained the length of the course on the car, but was badly damaged when landing.|
THE first exciting flights in Queensland of a heavier-than-air machine were made in Rockhampton.
On May 31, at 3.30pm at the Rockhampton Showground, Mr A B ("Wizard") Stone, an American aviator, gave the first exhibition of flight in a Bleriot monoplane.
But the American airman's second flight, at Callaghan Park on June 4, "had a somewhat sensational ending," the Bulletin said.
There was "great enthusiasm" from the crowd of 6000 or 7000, who watched "the big, birdlike machine flying round and round at the will of the driver."
"Then Mr Stone and his monoplane prepared to race "one of Mr H Taylor's motor cars for a distance of 15 miles (24 km) round the course".
"Some time was occupied in getting the machine ready for action"-though
"subsequent events" proved "that an accident may easily happen in an air machine no matter what preparatory
precautions are used."
Finally, the monoplane "rose into the air amidst loud cheers from the spectators".
As the aeroplane and automobile circled the course, the motor car's speed of 40 milees and hour (64 kmh) "was nothing in comparison with that of the monoplane" (which reached an estimated speed of 65 mph (105 kmh).
But on the aeroplane's fifth circuit, "it was noticed that it was coming lower and lower" and it shot over the courses and abruptly landed on its front end
on the adjoining cricket ground.
"The aviator's escape from serious injury was a very narrow one, but he appeared to take the matter quite calmly, and a few minutes later drove away with his wife and child."
"His machione, however, did not fare nearly so well, the fron t portion being rather badly knocked about". with both blades of the walnut propeller "smashed to splinters".
A peculiar contest
IN January, a motorcycle, a man, a horse, an automobile, and an aeroplane contested a handicap dash over 100 yeards (91 m) at an aviation meeting at Los Angeles.
The motorcycle won easily. "The man was second, the horse third, and the automobile fourth.
The Fortunate Aviator Tells How It Felt to Fall That Distance
Bangor Daily Commercial
Bangor, Maine, Thursday Evening, August 18, 1911,
Transcribed by Bob Davis, 11-19-07
"My first thought was when I saw no tugs in site and the storm coming on," said Stone, "I'll bet I won't get home to dinner this time. Funny, isn't it, when one is facing death, but that was my first thought."
'My next thought was I've got to swim because those muttonheads won't see me. I acted on that second thought and paddled the water at a rate that would have done credit to an old lake packet."
'When I stop to think how close I came to poor Johnstone's tragic end it makes me quake."
"I first noticed that something was wrong with my machine after I had made the first turn in the second lap. I got two miles out and pulled my controls; they did not work. I pulled and Pulled. I was drifting off course into the hazy mist over the water and then I concluded my end had come."
'I pulled frantically at the controls again and that time they responded. Instead of making the next turn as I wanted to, the machine darted up into the sky at terrific speed. I was going out past the line."
"I knew it was running wild. I kept pulling the controls and trying to come back to earth. Then suddenly something happened to the controls. I felt the machine turn and then sped like an arrow for the lake. I tried to turn it tail first but could not do it.'
"Then I saw the lake water. It seemed to be coming up to me. I wasn't afraid. Again I thought of Johnstone and his being dragged down beneath the water. In the few seconds time I was falling I did a thousand and one things. I held my hand over my face and stood up in the cock pit."
Chicago, August, 1911
Transcribed by Bob Davis, 11-19-07
Stone's machine fell into the lake just at dusk. He leaped from the falling plane and was rescued at the point of exhaustion by a motor boat after he had supported himself in the water for more than half an hour. His machine was not recovered.
That Stone was rescued was attributed largely to the insistence of his wife that he provide himself with a life preserver. Mrs. Stone ran from the hangar just before the flight and made her husband wait until she had tied an inflated automobile tire about his shoulders.
Howard Gill in a Baby Wright came almost as close to death, but escaped unhurt from under the wreck of his machine.
Lincoln Beachey, after being driven far to the south and fighting his way back above the field, glided 3,000 feet in safety to the earth after his engine had stopped suddenly.
James Ward had an equally hard task to make his way from far out over Lake Michigan, but descended safely in the field.
Unnerved by the deaths Tuesday of William R. Badger and St. Croix Johnstone, and deterred by a high wind, many of the flyers in Chicago protested against going up and warned the contest committee that the aeroplanes would not be controlled in the half gale that prevailed in the upper air.
The judges were insistent and finally half a dozen flyers rose for a cross-water race from the shore to the Carter H. Harrison crib, three and a half miles out.
Thomas Sopwith had completed the second lap of the race and had been declared winner when a cry arose that Stone's machine had fallen into the water and that the aviator was drowned.
Later it was reported that Stone was afloat, and then a rumor that a tug was bringing his body to shore. None of these could be verified until Commodore James Pugh's motorboat Disturber II reached the Chicago Yacht club's landing with Stone alive and well.
Gill promised the first feature of a Roman holiday when his machine suddenly checked as it skimmed over the ground after a perfect landing, toppled over with great force. Gill was pinioned beneath the tangled wires and taut canvas, but before startled spectators had reached him he extracted himself.
Gill probably owes his life to the new piece of construction in the Baby Wright biplane. The engine, instead of resting in the rear of the aviator's seat, is fixed to one side.
Gill was skimming over the turf at 40 miles per hour. The wheels of his machine struck a rut. The skid supports snapped and the machine toppled over head foremost.
Ward, Beachey and Parmalee made flights but the wind made flights difficult. Eventually the wind subsided and races were run over the pylon and crib courses.
Beachey was an easy winner in the nine mile race around the pylons finishing in 9 minutes, 28 2-5 seconds.
Beachey also was unofficially accorded the day's altitude record reaching a height of 7,076 feet. Thomas Sopwith won the 14 mile cross-water flight in 17 minutes, 2 seconds.
You will find two brief mentions of Arthur
on the AeroFiles site.
For the first, click on:
Arthur B. Stone
You may want to use the "Find" function on "Queen"
For the entry for Arthur as actor, click on:
Arthur B. Stone
You may want to use the "Find" function on "Stone"
From The Early Birds of Aviation
Roster of Members
January 1, 1993
If you have any information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper