ADMIRING THRONG AROUND THE "BLUE BIRD"
fabric covering. The unbleached linen will be covered with a species of varnish that
will not get brittle, enamellike, that shrinks the cloth on the framework. Of course an aeroplane needs to
be perfectly smooth, to reduce what we call skin friction, and offer as little resistance to the air as possible."
I believe Webster could have talked a great deal longer, and could have told more about aeroplanes, but being quite ignorant on the subject, I had absorbed about all I could in one lesson. I like aviators. they seem to be a sensible and straightforward clan.
Who is the most prominent figure in the city's life this week? The answer is
not far to seek. That sounds like poetry, but there's more truth than poetry to it. Harry Webster, the
young aviator, of course! Having met Jannus, of course, I had to meet Webster, and to anyone looking for
lions who will roar gently, like those in "Midsummer's Night Dream" I can heartily recommend aviators.
Only they are so modest. I doubt whether they would consent to act as lions at all.
Being desirous of a little knowledge on the subject of aviating, I decided to ask young Webster. Yes, girls, I said young--also, he's English, and leave of his final g's in a manner quite fascinatin'--Just like that.
He was delighted to talk about aviation. And I was delighted to listen. Here is what he said: "People generally think a man must be aftaid to go up in an aeroplane, but such is not the case. I could take anyone I might happen to meet on the streeet, and I do not believe he would have any fear. The speed is so exhilatating that one loses all thought of fear, and as to being dizzy--well, you're not, that's all. C. S. Wilson, who went up with me Friday, complained of neither fear or of dizziness.
"Progress is made so gradually at the aviation schools that the thing soon becomes second nature. At the Curtis school of San Diego, which I attended, the beginner is given a small machine of 30 or 40 horsepower, and made to steer it as it travels along the ground, using only the rudder for control. The wind acts on the rudder
as the pressure of water acts on
the rudder of a boat. Taking a 60-horsepower machine next, the throttle is so adjusted that the machine will
go only six or eight feet. The young aviator then goes down the course in a series of jumps for some 50 or 75
yards. Really, tjhe only difficult part about learning to fly is the landing. A novice would do the steering
"After making jumps 10 or 15 feet above the ground, the student must hold his altitude to the end of the course, about two and a half miles to at the end of the course and turn his machine around by hand. After flights of 200 feet above the ground, he learns to turn half circles to right and left, and then complete a circle at 400 or 500 feet. One of the real tricks is the control of the machine in turns in the air. Too much bank (that means slant) or too much pressure on the rudder to one side or the other increases the resistance against the air-pressure, throwing the machine out of the streamline. The plane will slow down and settle. Generally speaking, the faster the flight the better control can be kept over the machine. In starting, the propeller at the end, with 1,200 revolutions a minute, drives the machine over the ground at a speed of 50 miles an hour, and at this speed the air pressure under the wings is sufficient to raise the machine into the air. The air speed under the wings is relied on to hold the machine in air.
"Few people realize the harm that can be done by the up-and-down land
currents, the result of different temperatures of soils and vegetable
growth. These are things that aviator simply cannot depend upon. They are constant surprises. That is why we
prefer to fly over water, where there is uniform temperature.
"These air currents around Duluth are especially trying. The idea that has been spoken of to have a naval station equipped with flying boats, for naval and military purposes, is a good one, and instead of breaking in new men, it would be a good idea to bring from the naval and military aviation schools at San Diego and Pensacola experienced aviators who could get the benefit of the difficulties this particular field posses. More genuine experience could be gained flying around the Lake Superior than is possible in a perfect climate with uniform temperature.
"Aviation is not taken seriously enough in this country, I am afraid. After the war, I believe aviation will come into its own. People will realize its seriousness and its possibilities. Now its only purpose here, generally speaking, is for exhibition purposes. For my part, I can see no aeronautic value in flying upside down.
"I am very fond of my own machine, the 'Blue Bird,' though it is two years old, and of course improvements have been made in that time. It will hold gasoline enough to admit of its going 200 miles in straight-away flight. Soon it will cease to be the "Blue Bird." I shall have to rename it the "Yellow Bird," because I am going to give it a fresh