A.E.A.’s, J.A.D. McCurdy Silver Dart Accounts of The Day, Nov.-Dec., 1908. Part II.

Mainstream accounts on Aerial Experiment Association Drome No. 4, McCurdy’s Silver Dart first flight are properly dated. However out of the first 3 starts, one developed into a short-flight at the racetrack, Dec., 6th 1908, although the amounts of “flights” at Stony Brook Farm, N.Y., are misleading. The status quo accounts claim 10 successful flights took place, confusingly petawawamuseums.ca, using military styled dating: “The Silver Dart first took to the air in Hammondsport on 06 December 1908, and flew ten more times before the turkey was served on Christmas Day that year.” While the latter suggests 11, some accounts state 14 flights occurred by the time the Dart was dismantled and crated.  Transported to Bell’s laboratory at “Beinn Bhreagh” estate, overlooking Bras d’Or Lake, across the bay, facing the village of Baddeck, sent on Jan., 6th 1909 from NY. For AEA the term “start” vs “flight” is; a “start” represents going down the track reaching 150 ft., gently rising several feet off the ground. Maintaining flight, covering distances from 50-200 yards, at this point turning off the engine and gliding for a landing, at times the distances were shorter: McCurdy also used the term “short hops.” A “flight” consisted going over that point, reaching much higher and longer distances, not forgetting McCurdy & Curtiss’ acknowledgment, a good portion were “short-flights.” “Three starts were made down the track in the usual manner, the machine rising gently from the ground after covering a distance of about 150 ft…… On Sunday we had three starts all of about 200 yards, the machine dropping of her own accord on account of insufficient theoretical speed in advance of the propeller.”

Note, at the end of this paper, I will provide the amount of “starts,” failed attempts, short flights, and flights, recorded while at Stony Brook farm, ½ mile racetrack, near Hammodsport, N.Y., or just fallow the timeline and keep count.

Although always speculated, I only recently uncovered why Prof. Bell christen AEA’s flying machines as aerodromes, the latter of part II will provided Bell’s December 29th 1908 account.

 

AEA's Drome No. 4 McCurdy's Silver Dart,1st photo, first appearance at, Stony Farm ½ mile racetrack near Hammondsport. Nov. 4th 1908.

AEA’s Drome No. 4 McCurdy’s Silver Dart,1st photo, first appearance at, Stony Brook Farm ½ mile racetrack near Hammondsport. Nov. 4th 1908.

 

 Bulletins, Reports, Telegrams, Letters, Timeline From Members as Fallows:—

 Curtiss to Mrs. Bell, To Mrs. A. G. Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Hammondsport, N.Y., Nov. 2, 190:— We have been greatly pleased to hear of Casey and Mr. Bell’s success with hydroplanes. While we were temporarily held up for the motor for the “Silver-Dart”, John and I made a couple of light boats for the old “June Bug” to see what we could do on the water here, John’s theory being that we could lift by the aeroplane as well as by the hydroplane. John has named the thing “the Loon”. It is all ready to try if we get an opportunity. The engine is finished and in the “Silver-Dart”, and we expect to try it to-day. We have gotten a pull of 300 lbs direct from the machine resting on its wheels. This would probably be more were the engine in a swing as we have usually tried the propellers. We were obliged to give up the New York trip, which is perhaps just as well. (Signed) G.H. Curtiss.

Curtiss to Bell, Hammondsport, N.Y., Nov. 11, 1908:— We are sending under separate cover by mail, seven each of five views of the “Silver-Dart”, which we trust will be suitable for publication. We have spared no trouble or expense in getting the right size and quality of paper. The experiments with the “Silver-Dart” have been held up temporarily on account of two defects; one, the proper circulation of water for cooling the engine; second, the slight slipping of the belt transmission. These two belts work beautifully in every way except that they are not quite sufficient for the load. Two or more belts would eliminate all possibility of trouble on this score. We have made another pair of pulleys for two more belts, also a chain transmission which appeals to John as best. It will take another construction throughout including a different fastening for the propellers, but as the “Silver-Dart” is built according to plans and specifications of J.A.D. McCurdy, we do not want to use too much persuasion and are, therefore, getting up a balance wheel and the other paraphernalia for the chain transmission. In the meantime, we are expecting to try the “Loon’s” ability to rise from the water. The enclosed prints show what she looks like without the engine, but with a man’s weight in the same position. Perhaps we have taken too much liberty in trying this experiment, but we thought no time was being lost and it would be fine to know what chances there are of raising from the boats. We will wire if anything startling occurs. G.H.C.

AEA's Aerodrome No. 4 McCurdy's Silver-Dart at the 1/2 mile racetrack near Hammondsport, N.Y. at Stony Brook Farm, Nov, 4, 1908.

AEA’s Aerodrome No. 4 McCurdy’s Silver-Dart at the 1/2 mile racetrack near Hammondsport, N.Y. at Stony Brook Farm, Nov, 4, 1908.

Curtiss to Mrs. Bell, To Mrs. A. G. Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Hammondsport, N.Y., Nov. 12, 1908:— I am greatly surprised to find it Nov. 12 and we not in Baddeck. The “Silver-Dart” has been ready for a week. John did not want to launch it until we were satisfied it could stay in the air an hour or more. This led to a lot of testing which developed faulty circulation and a leaky cylinder. It has taken some days to correct these troubles. In the meantime we have fitted the engine in the “Loon” (the June Bug converted into a “water bug”); however, if the wind abates we will try this to-day. We have already sent you pictures showing you this craft afloat. I think it will settle for once and all whether it is possible to rise from boats, as the engine is very powerful and will, we believe, give twice the push that will be needed in the air. If it will not rise from the water with this power, it will be up to Casey and his hydroplanes. (Signed) G.H. Curtiss.

J.A.D. McCurdy remarks:— The actual work of construction of the “Silver-Dart” was under the supervision of our foreman, Mr. Kenneth Ingraham and too much cannot be said in his praise for the care taken by him in the detail work and in generally rushing the assembling to a successful finish. All the structural members of the “Silver-Dart”, fish struts, wires, tubing, bamboo etc., were carefully measured and in accordance with the method and co-efficients used by Mr. Octave Chanute the head resistance of the machine was computed and reduced to its equivalent flat surface in square feet. All figures in square inches. Hence the total head resistance, 2188.47 sq. inches, or 15.19 sq. ft.

DATA.

  • Total area of supporting surfaces 420 sq. ft.
  • Weight of machine, exclusive of engine and accessories 345 lbs
  • Weight of engine, propeller and counter-shaft etc. 210 lbs
  • Weight of radiator 15 lbs
  • Weight of water 30 lbs
  • Weight of gasoline, oil and tank, full 110 lbs
  • Weight of man, say 150 lbs
  • Total 860 lbs

And as 860 420 = 2.04. Hence ratio equals 2.04 lbs. per sq. ft. i.e., flying weight = 2.04 lbs. per sq. ft. *J.A.D. McC.

Hammondsport Experiment, Beinn Bhreagh, Nov. 18, 1908:— The experiments with the “Silver-Dart” at Hammondsport still hang fire. The trouble seems to be with the new water-cooled Curtiss engine. While the power of the engine is amply sufficient for every purpose (Mr. Curtiss reported a push of 300 lbs) trouble has been experienced with the water-cooling arrangement and with the method of belt transmission. Mr. Baldwin expressed the opinion that the engine, with all its appurtenances would weigh about 350 lbs. Mr. McCurdy now reports, in a communication describing the “Silver-Dart” which will appear in a subsequent Bulletin, that the weight is 365 lbs.

  • Engine, propeller, countershaft etc 210 lbs
  • Radiator 15
  • Water 30
  • Gasoline, oil and tank full 110
  • Total 365 lbs.

Trouble has been experienced with the slipping of the belt and chain transmission is now being tried. According to Mr. Curtiss this will involve another construction throughout, including a different fastening for the propellers. A balance wheel and other paraphernalia for the chain transmission. Of course this will still further increase the weight of the engine, and what the final weight will be is one can tell. It becomes obvious however that the engine will be too heavy to be tried on the tetrahedral aerodrome No. 5. (A.G.B.)

AEA's Aerodrome No. 4 J.A.D McCurdy seated on the Silver Dart, at Stony Farm ½ mile racetrack near Hammondsport, Nov., 4 1908.

AEA’s Aerodrome No. 4 J.A.D McCurdy seated on the Silver Dart, at Stony Brook Farm ½ mile racetrack near Hammondsport, Nov., 4 1908.

Hammondsport, N.Y., Nov. 28, 1908:— Loon made two miles with and against five mile wind in four minutes twenty-six seconds Lift very marked, but not sufficient to take the air. Engine and transmission fine. Will install in Silver-Dart to-morrow and have first trial. (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.

Letter: Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 2, 1908:— We have had two trials of the “Loon”, one Saturday the 28th, and one Sunday the 29th. The engine with our new domes runs all right. In the first trial, after going a few hundred yards, the propeller sheared off. We have been a little afraid of this and in fitting it up for Sunday we used a new fastener. We also opened the auxiliary ports to get more power. On Sunday’s trial a run of two miles was made in a little less than 4 ½ minutes. The boats raised at the bow, but the sterns dragged, although after they got under headway there was very little wave motion. The engine was turning over about 1000 revolutions and driving an 8 ft. propeller. The experiment makes it apparent that it will take a great amount of power to get these boats out of water, as we now have perhaps twice more than would be needed to fly after getting in the air. Those hydroplanes you have been building begin to look good to us. We have not given up, however, as a little wind on the water is not at all prohibitive. We hope to try again with better success, even though we do not have the good weather we have been favored with. The engine has been transferred to the Silver-Dart, which is fitted with new chain transmission, gear pump, oiler, ten gallon gasoline tank and a new propeller. We are having quite a storm to-day, and are unable to do anything at the tent. We are ready, however, for the first opportunity. We sent three pages of “Loon” pictures for the Bulletin on Tuesday. Trust they reach you in time for this week’s issue. (Signed) G.H. Curtiss.

Letter: Curtiss to A.G. Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 8, 1908:— The Silver-Dart made its first flights Sunday: (That’s Dec., 6). They were so short we did not wire. The weather was very bad and although we had some calms, before we were finally ready the wind increased and we decided to run in the tent until a more favorable opportunity. In the first two trials we were bothered by not getting gasoline. The tank had had water in it. It was carelessness on our part in not having it thoroughly cleaned out. In the third start several hundred feet was covered. John got an opportunity to get the feel of the control. It is more sensitive, that is, it answers quicker than on the old machine. He thinks it will be just right after he gets used to it. Under separate cover, we are sending prints showing the start, the landing, and the motor, transmission and propeller at close range. Am having these three made up in a page for the Bulletin, and either John or I will send suitable description to go with it. (Signed) G. H. Curtiss.

AEA's Drome No. 4 “Silver-Dart” Accident at Stony Brook Farm (upper picture) 2. on its way back to the tent (middle), Dec. 9, 1908.

AEA’s Drome No. 4 “Silver-Dart” Accident at Stony Brook Farm (upper picture) 2. on its way back to the tent (middle), Dec. 9, 1908.

Letter: McCurdy to A.G. Bell, Baddeck, N. S. Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 9, 1908:— I am enclosing a short account of our experiments with the “Loon”. Although short they may be interesting to incorporate in the Bulletin and supplement the photograph of the experiments, already sent you by Mr. Curtiss. I have sent a copy of the enclosed to Ernest La Rue Jones, Editor of Aeronautics and given him permission to take any facts from the article he wishes, to write up a story in his magazine at his request. I suppose you have seen in the New York Herald an account of the trials of the Silver-Dart here on Sunday: (That’s Dec., 6th). We refrained from sending you telegram of successful flight because they were simply preliminary canters and of no account in view of what we intend to do. On Sunday we had three starts all of about 200 yards, the machine dropping of her own accord on account of insufficient theoretical speed in advance of the propeller. On Wednesday the 9th, we had an early trial with the change from last trial of open auxiliary ports. It was assumed that this would give increased speed to the engine and that perhaps the few more revolutions obtained would be enough to cause the machine to take the air. Unfortunately, however, before we had gone 150 ft. the machine showed marked lift without my realizing the fact with the result that the machine twisted around to starboard and an accident occurred similar to the one experienced by Casey the latter part of September. We find that we must have a stronger running gear owing to the increased weight over that of the June Bug; also that the engine must have mechanical intake valves. This will necessitate a delay of two days, so on Saturday we expect to have everything in first rate shape. I have written Major Squier to this effect and extended to him an invitation to spend the week with us and witness the trials. (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.

LAC PA-122520 location is wrong. Silver Dart aircraft of the Aerial Experimental Association, Canada N.S. 9 Dec. 1908.

LAC PA-122520 location is wrong. Silver Dart aircraft of the Aerial Experimental Association, Canada N.S. 9 Dec. 1908.

Letter: Curtiss to Bell, To A.G. Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 10, 1908:— Under separate cover we are mailing you seven pages of Silver-Dart pictures showing first trial. This took place Sunday, December 6th. Three starts were made. The machine left the ground each time, but only one real flight was made. We have been having a lot of trouble, things which could not be forestalled. To illustrate, we found it necessary to use non-freezing fluid for cooling the engine on account of the cold at the tent where the Silver-Dart is stored. We have been using a solution of chloride of calcium in our cars and adopted this for the flying machine. In one of the longer runs, the water in the radiator got very hot and expanded faster than the steam could get out through the vent in the top of the tank. The rubber hose connecting the engine with the tank burst open throwing this solution of chloride of calcium all over the engine and part of the surfaces, not to mention John and one of the boys who stood near. The slight scalding they got appeared at the time to be the only bad effects from the accident. When we tried to run the engine again our troubles began. It seems that this chemical has a great faculty of drawing moisture, and in spite of the fact that everything had been wiped over moisture gathered in the carburetor, on the spark plugs and in the distributor, thereby causing the current for the ignition “to wander” and also spoiling the mixture in the carburetor. We could not seem to get rid of the water. As fast as we could wipe it off, it would appear again. We took the commutater and spark plug off boiled them in hot water and baked them on the furnace. This helped matters for the time being, but our troubles commenced again. A solution of muriatic acid was finally used to cut away the chloride, but not until we had fitted porcelain insulation on the distributor could we get things working right. This is only one of several experiences. This all happened last week. Our first opportunity this week was Tuesday morning. We were all up to the track before daylight. There was a slight fall of snow but very little wind. We had opened the ports of the engine to give a little more speed, as the 8 ft. propeller with its 6 ft. 3 in. pitch did not give quite enough speed with our 11 to 15 gear. It is always difficult to start a cold engine, but we had her going nicely in a short time after removing a few traces of that chloride and John mounted the seat for a long flight. As you know, it has been customary to hold the machine down on the track until a good speed was acquired. These tactics were repeated, but the machine with its increased speed of propeller refused to stay down, at least the rear part of it. It seemed as if he had hardly gotten under way before the rear wheels were up in the air. John did not know this and continued down the track with the front wheel only on the ground held there by the front control. A little side wind was blowing and before John discovered what was going on the machine had swung around sideways and broke off all the wheels. The skid construction, 15 however, came into play and saved the balance of the machine. New wheels are being fitted and we have taken this opportunity to fit mechanical intake valves on the engine. This will give us the desired speed of propeller without changing the gear. As you will note in the pictures, we are using the belt drive. No trouble has developed as yet. The chain, which we had, did not prove very satisfactory, although a chain transmission can be gotten up which will hold. I made pictures yesterday and will send proofs to-night. If you want them for the Bulletin let me know. (Signed) G. H. Curtiss.

AEA's Drome No. 4 “Silver-Dart” Accident at the racetrack back at the tent aka, Camp “Silver-Dart” Dec. 9, 1908.

AEA’s Drome No. 4 “Silver-Dart” Accident at the racetrack back at the tent aka, Camp “Silver-Dart” Dec. 9, 1908.

Telegram: McCurdy to Mrs. Bell, Hammondsport, N. Y., Dec. 14, 1908:— Silver-Dart made four flights early this morning. Balance and control satisfactory. Feels to King’s taste. (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.

Letter: McCurdy to G.H. Bell, To G.H. Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 14, 1908:— Just received your note of December 10th. I have already mailed Mr. Bell an account of the experiments here with the Loon, and a short account of the preliminary tests with the Silver-Dart. If these letters come in Mr. Bell’s absence, open them up and take anything you want. We this morning had four flights with the Silver-Dart. We were already on the track at & 7 A.M., so as to get going before the wind came up. Three starts were made down the track in the usual manner, the machine rising gently from the ground after covering a distance of about 150 ft. The remarkable part of it is that no torque manifested itself, as in former machines. The Dart rose directly from the track without veering off to starboard, as is generally the case, and another curious fact is that the starboard hind wheel would invariably lift first, whereas to be in keeping with the torque theory the port wheel should have lifted first. These flights were all short, the machine dropping of her own accord. One flight was tried up the track in a reversed direction more as a matter of convenience in getting the machine back to the starting point than anything else. The engine is now fitted with mechanical intake valves and this means that she runs constantly without necessitating a change in the mixture after being once started, as was the case in the suction valves. The best propeller speed obtained was 808 R.P.M. It was anticipated that with a pitch of 6 ¼ ft. the theoretical pitch speed would not be sufficient to give the machine life and our fears were realized this morning. We are now, however, constructing a new propeller of greater pitch, 7 ft. diameter and 22 degrees at the tip. The engine has power enough to turn over this greater load giving probably the same number of revolutions as we have now. This ought to increase our pitch speed to the required extent. A slight accident occurred after we had taken the machine back to the tent. It was decided there to run her once more to test accurately the number of revolutions, but shortly after we had started, cylinder No. 2 blew off, the same one as before. As, however, an extra cylinder and piston are already made this will necessitate no very long delay. Mr. Curtiss has determined this time to secure the cylinders to the crank case by the addition of some stronger truss construction. We hope very much that Mr. Bell will stop off here on his way from Washington to Baddeck. I think what we have here, both the water and land experiments will interest him tremendously, and we may keep him long enough to finish up our tests here and accompany him to Baddeck for Christmas. Wish you every success with the new Bulletin.

  • (Signed)  J.A.D. McCurdy.

Letter: McCurdy to Mrs. Bell, To Mrs. A.G. Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 14, 1908:— I have written Mr. Bell, both to Baddeck and Washington, all about our experiments here, and as I presume you will see the Baddeck letters, I will not repeat myself here. This morning, however, as I have already telegraphed you, we made four trials of the Silver-Dart, all very successful and promising. A slight accident to the motor will delay us for a couple of days, but by that time Mr. Bell will be here, we hope, and see what we really call “successful flights”. Tell Casey that we are fitting the Loon with two small hydroplanes 9 ft. long × 7“ wide, with a curve of 1 in 15 placed with an angle of instance of 5 degrees 6 in. below the boats, one forward and one aft. Ask him if he thinks this will be O.K. It would be nice if we could all be in Baddeck for Christmas, and I do hope we can get through here and all go down with Mr. Bell. (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.

Telegram: McCurdy to Mrs. Bell, Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 17, 1908:— Silver-Dart made two successful flights this A.M. Longest 1 ¾ miles. Completed the turn but flew too low, disabling running gear. Too much wind to continue this P.M., but everything will be in readiness to-morrow morning. (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.

Telegram: Curtiss to Mrs. Bell, Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 17, 1908:— John made two flights to-day. One-half mile and mile. Dropped one wing in landing. Repairs easily made by Sunday when we expect Mr. Bell. (Signed) G.H. Curtiss.

McCurdy to Mrs. Bell: To Mrs. A.G. Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 19, 1908:— The wind blew so hard yesterday that the machine was threatened, and in fact the tent was torn from the ridge pole right down to the side in several places. It is getting so late in the season now that the weather cannot be relied on, and to eliminate all chance of losing the machine, as far as wind and snow are concerned, we have decided to put up a shed right by the tent in which to house the machine. Mr. Harry Champlin has very kindly consented to allow us to do this. The work is busily going ahead at the present. Even if we do not fly any more this year the shed will always come in as useful and even in the Spring and Summer will be much better than a tent….I have wired him to come by all means, and it will be especially nice for him to come now as Mr. Bell will be here. (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy. Building the Shed at Hammonsport.

AEA's, J.A.D. McCurdy Silver Dart Shed Under Construction at Stony Brook Farm ½ mile racetrack near Hammondsport, Dec., 1908.

AEA’s, J.A.D. McCurdy Silver Dart Shed Under Construction at Stony Brook Farm ½ mile racetrack near Hammondsport, Dec., 1908.

To Mrs. A.G. Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 22, 1908:— *** Mr. Bell left yesterday after a day’s stay. We had a most profitable and interesting time. Mr. Means, Editor of the Aeronautical Annual, Mr. Jones, Editor of Aeronautics and Mr. Kimball of helicopter fame, were her. We did not get off very good flights. I will write a little later about that, we may do something yet today. To-morrow we shall start crating the “Silver-Dart” for shipment to Baddeck. The engine will follow as soon as the “Loon” with its hydroplanes are tried and some shop tests made which, however, will not take long. I am sorry we could not have finished up and gone back with Mr. Bell. We should have liked very much to have been with you during the holidays. Wishing you a merry Christmas, I am. (Signed) G.H. Curtiss.

BELL’S Anecdote On Visit To Hammondsport, December 28, 1908:— About sundown on Sunday, Dec. 20, the machine made a fine run on the ground, but when McCurdy elevated the front controls, the machine only rose sufficiently to clear the raised side of the track, and immediately came down in the field beyond running some distance over the snow before the engine was stopped……. installed on the Silver-Dart on Monday, Dec. 21, but weather conditions, prevented any trial of the machine on that day before I left, and I have not heard of greater success having been attained since.

 

IMPORTANT CONFERENCE AT HAMMONDSPORT, December 29, 1908:— I had always had the idea that the word “aerodrome” had been coined by Langley by compounding together two Greek words aero (air) and dromos (“a course, race, running; flight; a fleeing; escape)”. The word “dromos” being derived from “dramein” the infinitive of a verb meaning “to run”, “to move quickly”; it is obvious that the root meaning of “aerodrome” is “air runner”. I find, upon examination, that I was mistaken in supposing that the word “ae or ro drome” originated with Langley. The Smithsonian correspondence has revealed the fact that Prof. Langley correspond with Prof. B.L. Gildersleeve, the distinguished Professor of Greek at Johns Hopkins University concerning a suitable name for his machine.

  • In a letter to Prof. Langley, dated, Oct. 30, 1890, Prof. Gildersleeve says:— “The word you want is made to your hand in aerodrome (aero-dromos) “air runner”. *** No one will have anything to say against a Greek word that is found in the Lexicon”.

Again under date, November 4, 1890, Prof. Gildersleeve says:—

  • “To my mind” -drome” connotes swiftness, as the “dromedary”, is the “swift camel”. The main thing is to get a word of fairly classic formation, fairly suggestive (not exhaustive) of the thing, and wholly easy of pronunciation. Modern Scientific nomenclature is based on definition. Hence the awkwardness to begin with, and the inadequacy to end with.

It thus appears that the word “aerodrome” was suggested by Prof. Gildersleeve and adopted by Prof. Langley. It is not a new word artificially compounded from “aero” and “dromos”, but is an old word in actual use by the Greeks and to be found in every Lexicon. Everyone, therefore can get the proper definition for himself by consulting a Greek Dictionary. I have just examined a Greek Lexicon and find the following two words bearing upon the subject:—

  • Aerodromeo , “to traverse air”.
  • Aerodromos , “traversing air”.

These are the meanings of the words as used by the Greeks; and I have therefore written to Mr. Jones that there appears to me to be no impropriety in extending our meaning of “aerodrome” to cover all flying machines of the heavier-than-air type as he suggested or even to include dirigible balloons. In fact th r e word “aerodromics” might, consistently with its Greek meaning replace the word, “aeronautics” itself, so as to cover the whole field; and such a word would be more appropriate than aeronautics, for balloons and flying machines are not analogous in any respect to ships and they all “traverse the air”. A.G.B.

AEA’s Drome No. 4, McCurdy’s Silver-Dart at Stony Brook Farm ½ mile racetrack near Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec., 12, 1908.

AEA’s Drome No. 4, McCurdy’s Silver-Dart at Stony Brook Farm ½ mile racetrack near Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec., 14, 1908, the above date is questionable.

AEA’s Aerodrome No. 4, Silver Dart, starts, short-flights or hopes, and Flights While at Hammodsport N.Y.

Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 9, 1908:— On Sunday we had three starts all of about 200 yards. On Wednesday the 9th, we had an early trial. Unfortunately, however, before we had gone 150 ft. the machine showed marked lift an accident occurred. This will necessitate a delay of two days, so on Saturday we expect to have everything in first rate shape. 3 starts one was a “short-flight,” failed start on the 9th.

Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 10, 1908:— Under separate cover we are mailing you seven pages of Silver-Dart pictures showing first trial. This took place Sunday, December 6th. Three starts were made. The machine left the ground each time, but only one real flight was made.

Hammondpsport, N.Y., Dec. 14, 1908:— Just received your note of December 10th. I have already mailed Mr. Bell an account of the experiments here with the Loon, and a short account of the preliminary tests with the Silver-Dart. If these letters come in Mr. Bell’s absence, open them up and take anything you want. We this morning had four flights with the Silver-Dart. We were already on the track at & 7 A.M., so as to get going before the wind came up. Three starts were made down the track in the usual manner, the machine rising gently from the ground after covering a distance of about 150 ft. 4 starts and 4 Flights.

Hammondsport, N.Y., Dec. 17:— John made two flights to-day. One-half mile and mile. 2 starts 2 Flights.

Gen. Allen To A.G. Bell, Washington, D.C. War Department, Washington, D.C., Dec. 17, 1908:— A telegram has just been received at this office from Mr. J.A.D. McCurdy, Secretary of the Aerial Experiment Association, informing us of two successful flights of the “Silver-Dart” to-day, one of them extending one mile and three-quarters. Permit me to extend congratulations on this important achievement, and I regret that, due to pressure of public business just at present, it is not possible to have an officer of the Signal Corps present during these tests.

  • (Signed) James Allen Brigadier General, Chief Signal Officer of the Army.

IMPORTANT CONFERENCE AT HAMMONDSPORT, December 29, 1908:— Prof. A.G. Bell Account: On Sunday, Dec. 20, 1908:—With Bell present an attempt was made, to go with the wind down the valley towards Lake Keuka. A fine run however when the machine raised a few feet an immediately came down in the field beyond running some distance over the snow before the engine was stopped……..Three attempts were made with similar results and further experiments had to be postponed to another day. 3 failed starts

Monday, Dec. 21, 1908:—A New propeller installed but weather conditions prevented any trial of the machine on that day before I left. And I have not heard of greater success having been attained since, now 28th Dec.

Dec. 23rd 1908:—To-morrow we shall start crating the “Silver-Dart” for shipment to Baddeck.

Jan. 2, 1909:— We are preparing to ship the “Silver-Dart” to Baddeck. The crates are made and we will start taking it down to-morrow.

Jan. 4, 1909, Curtiss to Mrs. Bell:— Everything right here. McCurdy left to-day via Toronto. Have written. (Signed) G.H. Curtiss.

Jan. 9, 1909:— All the parts of the “Silver-Dart”, together with materials, tools, silk, etc., belonging to the Association, went forward by express Jan. 6th.

 

I could be wrong, however counted a total of 13 starts were attempted, 4 failed; equals 9 successful starts, with 5 short and two flights unfolding while the Silver Dart was at Stony Brook farm, H. Champlin’s half mile racetrack, near H.Q. Hammodsport, N.Y.

 

 

Spañard.

 

 

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