ED PICKELL OFFERS ENGINE
Motordrome between Culver City and Playa de Rey. Charlie Walsh flew aeroplane here in 1910. Won $500 & 4 cups.
I believe this post card is only one. Showing the Motordrome . It was on N. side of the tracks, near Playa del Rey. Oct. 22nd, 1910
Collection of Ernie Sansome
Irish tempers were near the boiling point as Charlie stood toe-to-toe with his father and unloaded with both barrels. "Dad, I need $1,000 to enter my plane in the Los Angeles Aeroplane Contest...you can take it out of my inheritance," His dad's eyes welled up, his face flushed red, "I'm not interested, that's all the money I have saved up for you and Robert." "It's not going to be squandered on a crazy flying machine." "I don't care about your plans," "I need the money now." Charlie argued. "I'm not interested son. If it was for any purpose other than that, that dammed contraption you have down on the beach, I'd give it to you. You'll have better need of that money later on anyway."
"I doubt that!" Charlie replied as he stomped out of the house. That evening his mother came to her oldest son and whispered. "Your father relented I'll have the money for you tomorrow." Again Charlie was exuberantly thrust upon Cloud 9. He had learned the trade watching Hamilton pack his Curtiss earlier that year. Now Walsh was dismantling his plane and crating it for his first public exhibition. Already he was working in a professional manner. The camp was broken at Imperial Beach and Charles Walsh went north to Los Angeles.
On September 3rd, the crated plane arrived at Playa del Rey and for nearly a week, Charlie worked like a circus roustabout setting up the machine and carefully tuning the engine in preparation for the big performance. The Motordrome was built more for motorcycle racing than anything else. It was completely enclosed by grandstands, bleachers and high fencing. The infield was fairly level, but so confined that it was inadequate for flying. Promoters of the novice contest had no idea of the area needed for "aereoplaning." On September 10, Charlie made a straight away flight of about 1,000 feet across the infield. This was about as far as anyone could fly within the enclosure. He moved the plane outside the park where there was open space for extended flights and attempts at turns.
On October 22, the Novice Aviator Meet got underway. Several would be famous flyers were present: Glenn Martin, The Eaton Bros., Jack Cannon, Charles Walsh, and an unknown fellow with a Santos-Dumont Demoiselle. The directors decided to hold the event outside the Motordrome if the entrants so wished. Charlie was pleased with this new freedom and made several straight away flights, one of 4 1/2 minute duration on his first attempt. Call it what you will, courage, over enthusiasm, thoughtlessness, or showmanship, but,. neglecting to heed what Hamilton had warned him about turns Charlie banked right on this first turn right into the propeller torque. The plane made a violent dip, skidded and then shakily returned to normal. One could see Charlie trembling at the controls but his Irish luck stayed with him. He had learned a lesson, however. Undaunted he proceeded to make three circuits in both right and left turns around the field.
On the second day Walsh led the way again by rising to nearly 80 feet in altitude and flying to nearby Redondo Beach and return. The crowd gave him a standing ovation for Charlie Walsh had saved the day and the gala affair from financial disaster. The other contestants failed to do anything significant. The Eaton Boys cracked up their machine and the Demoiselle could only make short jumps. Glenn Martin was plagued with mechanical troubles and never really participated.
With his daring showmanship, Charlie Walsh won all the prizes consisting of four large silver loving cups and $500 in cash. Awarded were: The Examiner Trophy for duration 14 minutes; The San Diego Cup for the highest flight, 80 feet; The Whitley Trophy for endurance; and The Leonard-Smith Cup for circular flights. The first thing Charlie did with the money was to reclaim Alice's wedding rings from the jewelers.
THE MACOMBER Engine is very simple, thoroughly reliable, easy to start and runs
with a remarkable smoothness and entire absence of vibration.
The workmanship is perfect--all parts being ground to size and interchangeable. Four years actual operation and experimental work have proven that this rotary motor has greater power, longer life and is more reliable than any other gasoline motor built.
GODSMARK, CURTIS & COMPANY
Sole Sales Agents
OFFICES--421-2-3 I. W. Hellman Bldg.
WORKS--235-7 Aliso Street
Collection of Ernie Sansome
800 to 1400 Revolutions per minute
4 1-4 inch.
Variable, 4 1-4 inch Maximum
Guaranteed not to overheat.
Very large. Set in head, operated from single cam sleeve on main shaft. Four cycle movement.
High tension Bosch Magneto. No wiring.
Special. Injection system to order only.
Absolutely positive. Self contained, automatic without a moving part.
D. W. F. and New Departure Ball Bearings throughout.
GREATEST EXTERNAL DIAMETER--
LENGTH OF SHAFT--
34 inches. Six inches allowed for attachment of propeller.
250 lbs. complete with above equipment.
$2000.00 F. O. B. Los Angeles.
25% cash with order; Balance C. O. D., or sight draft with bill of lading.
Collection of Ernie Sansome
The home of the Walsh's on West 23rd Street in Los Angeles was immediately turned into an
aeroplane factory. The new plane was larger in all respects but patterned closely after his previous pusher. The main change came with
the installation of the Macomber Model A 7 cylinder, air-cooled rotary engine. This engine developed 50/60 hp at 800 to 1,400 rpm,
weighed 250 lbs complete and had no wiring for the ignitions system. It was basically a four cycle cam sleeve engine with a 4 1/2
"bore" and 1 1/4 "stroke." It was only 34 inches in overall length and 19 inches in diameter. The most unusual feature was in having
the cylinders lay parallel to the axis. It was produced by the Godsmark, Curtiss & Co., on Aliso Street in Los Angeles carrying a price tag
There was no trouble installing the engine or fitting a proper propeller. Just before the plane was completed, Charlie put Silver Dust into the unbleached muslin flying surfaces. This was done for appearances sake only and provided a name-The Walsh Silver Dart. The plane was taken to Playa del Rey for tests in May 1911, and everything proved successful. A number of flights were made including a family airplane ride. Charlie surprised Alice one day by taking her up for a view of the world from 50 feet up and at 40 mph. Without hesitating; she climbed onto a small seat Charlie had provided along side his, she pulled Kenneth up to sit behind her and Little Juanita she held on her lap. All held on to whatever appeared fixed and sturdy. The Macomber engine wheezed and whirled as the Silver Dart lifted the crew to dizzy heights and then eased them gently to earth. The flying family outing was a straight away flight and for only about 1000 feet, but the newspapers hailed it as the first family to ever fly together.
Collection of John Grammer, 9-15-09