PBA: CAC month of April until 14th May account, is featured on: Canadian Aerodrome Company Sales Pitch Too Canadian Gov., Militia Council, &c., March 09—Apr., 1910. The below are just snippets ending 14th May, for a comprehensive account fallow short link: — http://wp.me/p55eja-FK
For an account on the Silver Dart for this time period fallow short link: A.E.A.’s Prof. Alec Bell’s Drome No. 4 “Silver Dart,” From Apr., Until it Crashed, 2nd Aug. 1909, Original Accounts http://wp.me/p55eja-Fr
Mainstream history popular narrative on the organisation of, Canadian Aerodrome Company ending March 1909, certainly questionable, nor any archived documents, I uncovered establishing a precise date. We can deduct by 16th April CAC was not yet organised, “Casey” wrote a personal letter to “Mother,” Mabel Bell, saddened by AEA’s dissolvent, and parting of the ways, no mention of any company formation. If it wasn’t for the “Professor,” records for this time period would be lost; post completion, contacted Mabel B. McCurdy, requesting her assistance and cooperation in keeping proper records. The formation of the Canadian Aerodrome Company first mentioned by Prof. Bell is 7th May, records takes flight on 19th May, moreover conducted a comprehensive search, regrettably earliest date I could find, nor any official records unlike A.E.A. The company consisted of McCurdy and Baldwin, bankrolled by Prof. Alec Bell in continuance of the work, owing “Cygnet II would not leave the ground.” He needed their contribution too his flying experiments, expressed by the 11th Dec 1910 press articles on, Bell’s “Unwritten Chapter of Airship History,” by that time admitted: “Well, we all got onto the air except myself. The Doctor seemed to appreciate the joke on himself and laughed heartily as he told how the big kite on runners slid gaily along the ice, but refused to soar. ‘Too much weight for the power,’ he explained.” Carring on with Silver Dart experiments and manufacturing Baddeck I, while persuading the Canadian government and militia in purchasing their aerodromes, were the objectives of CAC.
Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell: —Prof. Alec Bell’s returns from Ottawa believing the government will finically support CAC at “Beinn Bhreagh, near Baddeck, Nova Scotia 2nd April, 1909. — Dear Mabel:— Things look very hopeful for Douglas and Casey. After the conversation that I have held with His Excellency Earl Grey and with Mr. Fielding, Canadian Minister of Finance, there can be no doubt that both the Canadian Government and the British Government will afford encouragement and assistance to the manufacture of aerodromes within the British Empire or Canada by British subjects or Canadians………….
Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell: — Prof. Alec Bell’s entertains pressuring the Canadian government, with news the Russian’s are interested Sent from Houseboat. Sunday, 4th April, 1909. — My darling: — Douglas came down to the houseboat today to let me know that he received last night a communication from St. Petersburg asking whether he could undertake to build aerodromes for the Russian Government and requesting a cable reply yes or no………
Letter from Earl Grey to Alexander Graham Bell: “Government House, Ottawa. 7th April 1909. — Dear Dr. Graham Bell, I am much obliged to you for your letter, and for the welcome news it contains that the two young Canadians, Baldwin and McCurdy, are going right ahead to manufacture at their own expense such an aerodrome as they think would be of use for army purposes, and that when completed and tested they propose to offer it to the Canadian Government. I am sending a copy of your letter to Mr. Fielding and to Sir Frederick Borden Minister of Militia, and I hope that His Majesty’s Canadian Government may see their way to give these young Canadians such support as will enable them to prove the superiority of their machine over all competitors. Yours truly, Grey”
Letter from M.L. Fielding to Alexander Graham Bell: Minister of Finance is interested, Ottawa, 7th April, 1909. — Dear Dr. Bell, I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 3rd instant. Owing to the pressure of many matters upon the attention of the Government, I have not been able to bring before my colleagues as fully as I desired the suggestions that have been offered as to the employment of the services of these young gentlemen in the building of an airship for the Canadian Government. I shall avail myself of the earliest opportunity of having the matter fully considered. Yours faithfully, M.L. Fielding”
CANADIAN GOVERNMENT AVIATION NEWS Letter, Militia Council to Bell Ottawa, 7th May, 1909, Sir:— On the occasion of your addressing the Canadian Club of Ottawa on the subject of Aerial Navigation you were good enough to draw the attention of the Canadian Government to the work of Messrs. Douglas McCurdy and F. W. Baldwin in that line and to suggest that something should be done to secure their services for Canada and to assist them, if possible, in the pursuit of their studies of the art……..
Baldwin and McCurdy to Militia Council Baddeck, N.S., 14, May, 1909 Secretary Militia Council, Ottawa, Canada. Dear Sir:— Your letter No. H.Q. 6978.4 addressed to Dr. Bell has been referred to us by his Secretary. Dr. Bell is in Washington and sails for Europe on Saturday, May 15, where he will remain for a period of perhaps three weeks.
We appreciate the offer of the Minister in Militia Council in permitting us to make trials of our aerodromes at the Military grounds at Petawawa and will be glad to avail ourselves of the opportunity. The End.
Notes by J.A.D. McCurdy and Frederick W. Baldwin, 19th May, Wednesday At Beinn Bhreagh. THE CANADIAN AERODROME COMPANIE’S NOTES.
May 18, 1909:— The sheeting iron arrived yesterday morning and was made up into a box large enough to contain the moulds and quite a supply of slabs. Ingraham thought it would be a better scheme to utilize the oil stove to provide the heat for heating rather than build the box around the coal stove. This was done and it was found that the oil stove served admirably for heating the moulds to a sufficient temperature to allow the glue between the slabs when placed in the mould to thoroughly fill up the pores between the slabs before getting chilled; furthermore the heating of the moulds serves to dry the glue and so greater rapidity, in getting the curved slabs out, results. Another man has now been engaged, Willie McDonald, and he and Ruderham are at work on the Silver-Dart putting her in good and trim shape before shipment to Petawawa. We are building a new tuberlar truss for the support of the bow control on the Dart instead of the bamboo abortion used heretofore. The lumber for the crates has also been ordered and we hope to have the machine shipped by the end of the week. Last night we received a letter from Lord Strathcona, High Commissioner for Canada, from 17 Victoria St., London being a reply to our enquiry concerning the advisability of our sending a machine to Great Britain to compete for the prize of One Thousand Pounds offered by the 2 Daily Mail for a flight of one mile in the British Isles. He expresses the opinion that the scheme probably was of an advertising nature for the Daily Mail and enclosed in his note the rules governing all competitions under the auspices of the Daily Mail. From this we gather that the competitions will be conducted in a manner similar to that employed by the Scientific American in relation to their trophy. Yesterday we received the following telegram from Mr. Bell sent from the Cedric and dated New York, May 16/
- New York, May 16, 1909.
- Baldwin, McCurdy, Baddeck, N.S.
Glad to have you make any use of the Silver-Dart you choose in Canada. Good luck tom you. (Signed) Graham Bell.
Also received a telegram from the Kirkham Motor Co. of Bath, New York stating that the crank shaft had arrived and the engine would be ready any day. This as indeed very encouraging. (Int.) J.A.D. McC.
Notes by J.A.D. McCurdy, Thursday At Beinn Bhreagh. June 10, 1909:— The assembling of the truck is going on at first rate shape although slowly. The second batch of cloth arrived yesterday and Willie McDonald is at work sewing it up to make the fourth wing. We are only waiting now for the wire from A. C. Thompsons which he assures us will be here this week when the assembling of the machine proper will be started; after that it will be only a matter of a short while before she is all assembled. It has taken quite a while to get the different parts in shape for this new machine as there is a certain amount of experimental work to be done all along. But we can tell, however, from the materials required for this machine and from our time cards the time taken on each separate job, just how long we will be in constructing a second machine.
- Received the following telegram yesterday from Montreal:— “Could supply flying-machine for Exhibition purposes at our races here July 9th and 10th. (Signed) G.A. McNainee, Secretary Automobile Club of Canada”.
- To this I send the following reply:— “Could supply aerodrome to sell you under contract conditions for that date but we cannot ourselves fly her under exhibition auspices. (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.
We have received also the following telegram from Mr. Bell:— Worchester:— Want both Montreal arrival Corsican for conference about Canadian Government proposition. (Signed) Bell.
This evidently means that Mr. Bell has some important news obtained in England concerning the Canadian Government and as he is due to arrive about the 22nd it will be just about the time when we plan to take our second machine to Petawawa. Casey advises me by telegram that the Kirkham engine develops good 40 at 1500. Weight proposition O.K. and that he has placed an order for second engine. This, in my opinion, is a good move. (Int.) J.A.D. McC.
1909, June 17, Thursday At Beinn Bhreagh, 16th June, 1909:— We started assembling the wings of the C.A.C. No. I to-day and in a very short time will have the two bottom wings assembled. The diagonal wiring in this plane through the trussed ribs comes very nicely. We have put in the ordinary Monot copper wire instead of waiting for our nickle plated wire which has been very much delayed in its preparation. assured by A.C. Thompson & Co. that it will arrive by Marion on Thursday. (Int.) J.A.D. McC.
Notes by J.A.D. McCurdy, 1909, June 17 Thursday At Beinn Bhreagh. 16th June, 1909:— We started assembling the wings of the C.A.C. No. I to-day and in a very short time will have the two bottom wings assembled. The diagonal wiring in this plane through the trussed ribs comes very nicely. We have put in the ordinary Monot copper wire instead of waiting for our nickle plated wire which has been very much delayed in its preparation. assured by A.C. Thompson & Co. that it will arrive by Marion on Thursday. (Int.) J.A.D. McC.
Our order of aluminum, placed with the Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Penn., has at last arrived which means that all the material required for our machine is now here. The two inch sheeting for the back edges has been bent to its required shape and installed on one wing. It gives a very satisfactory appearance and makes the edge look very neat. For the belt on the front we think it would be better to make it up in the form of simple V in cross section securing it to the beading by small countersunk screws. The only disadvantage this method of attachment has it that the screws must necessarily go through the cloth, a detail of construction we are trying to avoid all through the machine; but when we came to make up this belt as formerly proposed, having the open part of the bore completed by a semi-circular curve, the attachment being made by means of a 4½ inch bolt passing from the beading and belt, disadvantages offered in making this section up were more than made up for by the other method even with its disadvantage. The machinist is at work making up the ball sections for the front control so that now everything looks bright for a near finish. A letter from Baldwin received night before last, states that a shed is being erected for the Dart at Petawawa and that he is getting the center section assembled in some military shed already on the grounds. He also 35 states that the black flies and mosquitoes are his greatest trouble, his slowness in red tape with the Government being a close second. It is with deep regret that I notice by the papers that the Wrights have been granted an extension of thirty days and that Herring will probably have this advantage afforded him. I say “regret” because we are anxious for a new issue of contracts by the Government which might afford us an opportunity of putting in a bid. This may seem a selfish motive but as a business proposition I think it is fair. Both radiator sections are now finished one of which is just installed in the machine in the starboard panel and looks exceptionally neat and efficient. The radiating surface of this radiator amounts to 52 sq. ft. and I sincerely hope that this will be ample to effect the proper cooling of the motor. We weighed the machine proper Saturday, which includes the wings, four tips, all the wiring and all the cloth. The weight amounted to 300 lbs. flat whereas in the case of former machines, June Bug, Silver Dart, etc. this corresponding weight amount to 119 to 120 lbs. It is a little difficult at first to see how this weight could have been doubled but on analysing the materials used in the construction of C.A.C. No. I it is quite clear where this difference occurs. Figuring out the probable weights of the rest of the machine, controls, engine, truck, etc. and one operator weighing 150 lbs., this would bring the weight 36 of the machine in flying condition up to about 1050 lbs. This includes our full capacity of gasolene and oil. With the surface of 550 sq. ft. this would mean a flying weight of about 1.9 lbs. per sq. ft. which is less than in the case of all our former machines. The construction of the engine bed is a bit obscure. We want to try and arrange it to look as neat as possible placing material only where it is needed. The rear of the engine can be easily mounted on a double bracket placed directly over the rear chord ad Ingraham suggested that the front might be fixed by a system of tubes and guy wires. We intend to try this as a starter and if it proves to be rigid enough would be fine. If, however, there is too much play we can substitute more rigid fastenings. J.A.D. McC. http://www.loc.gov/resource/magbell.14410105
1909, June 29, Tuesday At Beinn Bhreagh June 28, 1909:— Our order of aluminum, placed with the Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Penn., has at last arrived which means that all the material required for our machine is now here. The two inch sheeting for the back edges has been bent to its required shape and installed on one wing. It gives a very satisfactory appearance and makes the edge look very neat. For the belt on the front we think it would be better to make it up in the form of simple V in cross section securing it to the beading by small countersunk screws. The only disadvantage this method of attachment has it that the screws must necessarily go through the cloth, a detail of construction we are trying to avoid all through the machine; but when we came to make up this belt as formerly proposed, having the open part of the bore completed by a semi-circular curve, the attachment being made by means of a 4½ inch bolt passing from the beading and belt, disadvantages offered in making this section up were more than made up for by the other method even with its disadvantage. The machinist is at work making up the ball sections for the front control so that now everything looks bright for a near finish. A letter from Baldwin received night before last, states that a shed is being erected for the Dart at Petawawa and that he is getting the center section assembled in some military shed already on the grounds. He also 35 states that the black flies and mosquitoes are his greatest trouble, his slowness in red tape with the Government being a close second. It is with deep regret that I notice by the papers that the Wrights have been granted an extension of thirty days and that Herring will probably have this advantage afforded him. I say “regret” because we are anxious for a new issue of contracts by the Government which might afford us an opportunity of putting in a bid. This may seem a selfish motive but as a business proposition I think it is fair. Both radiator sections are now finished one of which is just installed in the machine in the starboard panel and looks exceptionally neat and efficient. The radiating surface of this radiator amounts to 52 sq. ft. and I sincerely hope that this will be ample to effect the proper cooling of the motor. We weighed the machine proper Saturday, which includes the wings, four tips, all the wiring and all the cloth. The weight amounted to 300 lbs. flat whereas in the case of former machines, June Bug, Silver Dart, etc. this corresponding weight amount to 119 to 120lbs. It is a little difficult at first to see how this weight could have been doubled but on analysing the materials used in the construction of C.A.C. No. I it is quite clear where this difference occurs. Figuring out the probable weights of the rest of the machine, controls, engine, truck, etc. and one operator weighing 150 lbs., this would bring the weight 36 of the machine in flying condition up to about 1050 lbs. This includes our full capacity of gasolene and oil. With the surface of 550 sq. ft. this would mean a flying weight of about 1.9 lbs. per sq. ft. which is less than in the case of all our former machines. The construction of the engine bed is a bit obscure. We want to try and arrange it to look as neat as possible placing material only where it is needed. The rear of the engine can be easily mounted on a double bracket placed directly over the rear chord ad Ingraham suggested that the front might be fixed by a system of tubes and guy wires. We intend to try this as a starter and if it proves to be rigid enough would be fine. If, however, there is too much play we can substitute more rigid fastenings. (Int.) J.A.D. McC. http://www.loc.gov/resource/magbell.14410105
EVENTS ON BEINN — BHREAGH, 2nd July, Friday:— I Mr. Bell visited the Aerodrome Factory of McCurdy and Baldwin and saw their aerodrome first aerodrome, Baddeck No. I, in a nearly finished condition. Also which was approaching completion. He also inspected Beinn Bhreagh Laboratory and saw the front of Cygnet II which has now been arranged to be flown as a kite.
Bulletin by J.A.D. McCurdy and Alexander Graham Bell, 6th July, 1909. — MCCURDY’S VIEWS CONCERNING THE REPLY TO THE CANADIAN DEPARTMENT OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE. July 6, 1909:— My idea would be something like this. The new machine here will be in Petewawa about the 20th of this month. By that time the Silver Dart will be making some flights and public attention will be more or less attracted to that direction. Then when the new machine comes along they will sort of be ready for it and if she makes the flights as expected we will step down to Ottawa and say that here we have a bran d new machine which flies and it does so and so; do you want to buy it? We would much prefer to sell our first machine to the Canadian Government. If they say they do want to buy it the arrangement after that will be very easy. If they say they don’t want to buy it but they would like to make some other proposition I would suggest we would for us not consider that all for the time. Then go down to Washington and submit a proposition before General Allen. Do you want to buy it? If he buys it then we will sell do it right off. The second machine will be ready by that time. Then if the Canadian Government wants to buy it they can; and if they don’t we will take this over to England as soon as we like. I think it is very important that we dispose of our one machine as soon we as we can. Our plans for continued building will be very much simplified. We will have a guarantee then that we can sell machines and go right ahead and build more. We will have the money from the first machine to go right ahead. Another thing if we do dispose of a machine the prestige we will get from disposing of one to the American Government or to the Canadian Government will make our services to the Canadian for more valuable than if we do not sell at all. (Int.) J.A.D. McC.
- BELL’S LETTER TO SECRETARY OF MILITIA COUNCIL, Baddeck, N.S., 6th July, 1909:— I have just returned from Europe and have consulted with Messrs. McCurdy and Baldwin concerning the letter of the Deputy Minister of Militia and Defence addressed to me dated May 7, 1909. Messrs. Douglas McCurdy and F.W. Baldwin have associated themselves together under the name of “The Canadian Aerodrome Company” and have been engaged for some time past in the manufacture of improved forms of aerodrome modelled upon the Silver Dart at Baddeck, Nova Scotia. I find that they have already completed one aerodrome and have another well under way. If they can dispose of these aerodromes the proceeds will be employed to continue the manufacture of such machines in Canada. Their idea has been to offer their first Canadian machines to the Canadian Government which would, by purchasing them, be fostering the establishment of a new industry in Canada. Should the Canadian Government decline to consider the purchase then they would offer the machines to some other Government. Upon the sale of these machines depends the establishment of this industry in Canada; for these young men have no capital of their own and have borrowed the capital necessary to complete the machines upon which they are now at work. Mr. F.W. Baldwin is now at Petewawa with the aerodrome Silver Dart where he proposes to try out a new engine. In a short time Mr. McCurdy proposes to take the new aerodrome, the first built in Canada, to Petewawa and try it with the engine now there. If it turns out to be as successful as they anticipate Messrs. McCurdy and Baldwin will proceed to Ottawa and offer it to the Canadian Government. I filed that Messrs. McCurdy & Baldwin would be very much pleased if some arrangement could be made which they should give They would be glad to make some arrangement to give their services to the Department of Militia and Defence as Specialists in Aviation as suggested, & they and would be glad to receive from the defendant a some proposition as to terms and conditions. After the experiments with the new aerodrome at Petewawa they would be glad to. They will be in very soon and will hope to be in request to visit very soon and hope to personally with the Minister of Militia on his representative give their views as to what mentioned the funds they consider should be provided next year for the pursuit of Aerial Investigation, Construction and Navigation on the Government’s behalf. As both these I am gentlemen you will be in Petewawa very soon in personal contact with the members of the Department I shall refer you them and need say nothing further on the matter. Yours respectfully, (Signed) Alexander Graham Bell.
BEINN BHREAGH RECORDER & Journal 1909 JULY – Nov., Alexander Graham Bell, Beinn Bhreagh.
Baddeck Citizens visit Aerodrome Factory, 9th July:— At the invitation of the Canadian Aerodrome Company a large number of persons came over from Baddeck and visited the Aerodrome Factory. Mr. Douglas McCurdy presided upon the occasion, and exhibited the new aerodrome that has just been completed by the Company— the first built by them. He stated that this was the first aerodrome of exclusively Canadian manufacture; and that it had been made entirely by Baddeck men. For this reason the Company had given the people of Baddeck the opportunity of seeing it before its departure for Petewawa, where it will be fitted with an engine. To mark the place of its origin the machine will be officially known as the aerodrome “ Baddeck No. I ”. Mr. Douglas McCurdy presided upon the occasion and exhibited to the gathering the new aerodrome the first manufactured by the Company. Since called, “Baddeck No. I”, which ha d just been completed, with the exception of the engine which is at Petawawa. for the device is at Petawawa This is the first aerodrome of exclusively Canadian manufacture. (The engine for the new aerodrome is at Petawawa) & Mr. McCurdy thought that the people of Baddeck would like to see the machine before its departure for Petawawa to where it will be fitted with an engine. After the exhibition the visitors adjourned to Mrs. Baldwin’s Bungalow, where afternoon tea was presided over by Mrs. Frost, sister of Mr. Douglas McCurdy, and by Miss Georgina McCurdy.
Bell to Curtiss, Baddeck, 16th July:— Heartiest congratulations from all. Hope this means the Scientific American Trophy for you.. Baldwin and McCurdy will soon try to rival your achievement in their new aerodrome “Baddeck No. I” which has been sent to Petawawa. (Signed) Graham Bell.
McCurdy leaves for Petawawa 21st July, Wednesday:— Mr. J.A. Douglas McCurdy left Beinn Bhreagh for Petawawa. Wednesday Morning July 21. Bell.
NEWS FROM PETEWAWA:— A letter has been received from Mr. Douglas McCurdy at Petewawa Camp, Ontario, to the following effect: McCurdy to Bell, July 26:— Bell remarks: Mr. McCurdy says “we” arrived at Petewawa Camp etc………An interesting personal letter has been received from Mrs. Baldwin, dated July 25, describing the events at Petewawa; but the points are all covered by McCurdy’s letter quoted above. The machine now being assembled at Petewawa is undoubtedly the “Silver-Dart”, not the “Baddeck No. I”.
THE SILVER-DART AT PETEWAWA, 7th August: — Letters have been received from Mrs. F. W. Baldwin dated August 2 and 3; and also a letter from Mr. Douglas McCurdy (August 2), which enable me to put on record the main facts concerning the four flights of the Silver-Dart at Petewawa August 2……………We have decided not to repair her now, but go ahead on Baddeck No. I, which machine arrived on Saturday. This morning and afternoon (Aug. 2) we got her out of the crates, and the center section assembled. The motor will probably be brought down from the shed tomorrow afternoon and installed; and then the rest of the assembling completed by Friday, when we hope to try her out. The point about the engine has been very satisfactorily demonstrated, and she is a dandy. Please tell Mr. Bell that there was not a delay of one-half minute in getting under way. She always starts first turn of the propeller and turns up, with the gear we are now using, 1400 – 1500 rpm. with a ratio of 16:30, so the propeller turns about 900 rpm. The speed of the Dart was, I should judge, about 45 to 50 miles per hour, and the controlling is as easy with two as with one. I do wish that you and Mr. Bell could see the Baddeck No. I fly. The grounds are not as good as the field in Baddeck; so we will, perhaps, decide to fly No. 2 there. etc. (Signed) Douglas.
EXTRACTS FROM BALDWIN‘S LETTERS: 4th August:—Work on Baddeck I is progressing very nicely indeed. The center section is pretty well up today, and the left wing. There is no question about it, that the new one is a tremendous improvement over the Dart in construction and cleanness of design, and unless our curves are very bad indeed should carry a better load and be capable of making better speed than the Dart. Our idea has always been to have a little reserve power, and it would seem as if we were actually going to have it in this machine. Etc. F. W. B.
6th August:—Baddeck No. I is coming along nicely and by Saturday will be all ready. The newspaper men are not taking any chances on missing a flight and are practically camping on the grounds. Two of them had inside information that we were going to try her at dawn, and so slept in a freight shed which is near the cavalry field. Another wise man from Pembroke had the same information only, according to him, we were going to cross the Ottawa River. Accordingly he brought a large party up in his launch a distance of about fifteen miles, and spent most of the night and early morning cruising up and down. Everybody is tremendously interested. If we can make good flights with Baddeck No. I, the Silver-Dart episode will 99 be forgotten as an accident, and remembered only as an entirely satisfactory test of the new motor. Earl Gray sent us a very nice telegram from Glacier Mountain (Mr. Baldwin neglected to enclose a copy for the BB Recorder. AGB).***FWB
7th August:— We have no intention of trying to see what the machine is capable of, for some time, until we got thoroughly familiar both with the machine and the grounds. Flying over this undulating ground is a very different proposition from the ice, or level field. A landing can be effected anywhere on the ground if necessary, but some parts are much better than others, and we cannot afford to take any chances. From our brief experience of making a landing not perfectly judged, on uneven ground, the danger seems to be on the rebound, which is almost certain to be erratic. The Toronto News had a little jest on me to the effect that while they always understood me to be temperate, there was reason to believe that I took a drop too much at Petewawa. Kan (Mrs. Baldwin) was very much annoyed when she heard of it, and was on the point of writing an indignant letter to the Editor when the joke dawned on her. ***(Signed) F. W. Baldwin.
PIN-PRICKS AT PETEWAWA, 12th August:— McCurdy and Baldwin are evidently having trouble in Petewawa in getting the Baddeck No. I in condition to fly. A telegram from McCurdy, August 7, announced his intention of making a trial flight that afternoon, but nothing seems to have transpired since then. A telegram received yesterday by Ingraham throws light upon some of the causes of delay. McCurdy says:—Petewawa, August 11: — Put turnbackles on both ends wire between surfaces, also spoke terminal on all wires exposed. Don’t thread wires themselves for vibration breaks them at nipple. Not enough play. (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.
Bell remarks:— They are evidently experiencing difficulties from powerful sympathetic vibrations set up in their struts and wires by the shaking of the machine under the influence of the new engine and propeller. This is a serious matter and I thought it well last night (August 11) to send McCurdy the following suggestions concerning the prevention of sympathetic vibration in struts and wires.
BADDECK NO. I., TAKES THE AIR. 12th Aug., 1909. Aug. 13:— A night message from McCurdy, received this morning, announces that the aerodrome “Baddeck No. I” successfully took the air yesterday afternoon (Aug. 12) at Petawawa, Ontario. In this telegram Mr. McCurdy says:— Petewawa. Aug. 12: — Baddeck No. I made successful jump this afternoon about one hundred yards. Control sensitive. Action good. Power plant satisfactory. Complete staff from Ottawa here. Took your advice. Will try jump again to-morrow. (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.
The following congratulatory telegrams were sent today (Aug. 13) to McCurdy and Baldwin at Petewawa:—
- Aug., 13: — Heartiest congratulations for first flight Baddeck No. I from Canadian Aerodrome Companys’ staff. (Signed) K. Ingraham.
- Aug., 13: — Heartiest congratulations on first flight of Baddeck No. I from the Beinn Bhreagh Laboratory staff. Please make a record flight. (Signed) W. F. Bedwin.
Aug. 13: — There is no finer drome in the world to-day than Baddeck No. I. Go slow with her, and make only short flights till you have thoroughly learned the feel of the controls. Don’t play to the crowd by anything sensational. Many short practice flights should be made before you even attempt to show the capabilities of your machine, which are undoubtedly great. Congratulations on a successful beginning yesterday. (Signed) Graham Bell.
SECOND FLIGHT OF BADDECK NO. I., 13th August, 1909. August 14:— The following night message from Baldwin and McCurdy was received here this morning.— August 13: — In trial this evening machine proved tail heavy, and slid down backward after travelling two hundred feet, breaking running gear, and rear of bottom surface. Nobody injured. (Signed) Baldwin and McCurdy.
Prof., Alec Bell remarks:— The telegram simply shows that the machine has not yet been properly balanced.— The defect is easily remedied. It is inevitable that much time should be consumed in testing out any new machine like this; and it is only unfortunate that at Petawawa, these preliminary experiments have to be made in the presence of important visitors. It seems a pity that all the necessary preliminary fussing over details should not have been made here rather than at Petawawa, on account of the impression created in the minds of spectators who know nothing about aerodromes. The Baddeck No. I is probably the finest aerodrome ever constructed; and there can be no doubt that after a few days of experiment to ascertain and remedy the little defects of adjustment that are always found at first in new machines, the Baddeck No. I will make good flights, and be recognized as one of the great machines of the world. Meanwhile Baldwin and McCurdy have our sympathy for the trying conditions under which they have to make their preliminary tests. We may repeat to Baldwin and McCurdy as our own, the sentiment so well expressed to them yesterday by Mr. Davidson:— “Impossible to keep you down. Good luck to Baddeck No. I”.
THE CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT TO BADDECK NO. I., By A G Bell, Aug. 16:— Upon reflection, I am unwilling to accept the explanation of the accident to Baddeck No. I given by the newspapers, and by McCurdy himself viz., that the machine was “tail-heavy.” Both Baldwin and McCurdy are experienced men, and would not be likely to make the radical mistake of balancing their machine in this way. They have always been careful in the past to put the center of gravity forward rather than back. They certainly would not have attempted a flight, unless they had previously satisfied themselves, by experiment and by calculation, that the machine was properly balanced. That is:— That it was slightly head-heavy to begin with. To suppose otherwise would be to cast a reflection upon their abilities as aerodrome constructors and engineers. Before starting out therefore, they made such experiments as they could, to test the balance of the machine on the ground, and came to the conclusion that the Baddeck No. I was not tail-heavy in the slightest degree. Otherwise they would not have attempted a flight. McCurdy is now inclined to think that this conclusion was erroneous, because when the machine was tried, it turned stern down, and dived backwards to the ground; but this is by no means certain. If the stern turned down, the head of course, turned up; and the effect might have been produced either by excessive weight at the stern, or by too much lifting power at the bow. I am satisfied, from my personal knowledge of the competence of both Baldwin and McCurdy, that there was NOT excessive weight at the stern; and therefore look to the front control for the cause of the turning movement. Here we are met by the fact that the front control contained a new feature in aerodrome construction, not hitherto tried, so far as I am aware, in any machine:— The surfaces of the front control were curved, like the main supporting-surfaces of the machine. In former machines they were flat. Theoretically this should increase their lifting power when turned at a positive angle; and diminish their depressing power when set at an negative angle. I anticipate therefore, that when McCurdy steered up with his front control, a greater effect was produced than with an equal movement of the Silver-Dart’s control; and when he steered down, a less effect.
Now suppose the machine to be climbing to an alarming degree, not justified by McCurdy’s previous experience with the Silver-Dart, what would he do? Naturally he would try to correct the climb by steering down. Then he would probably discover that a depression of the front control, which would have been quite sufficient with the Silver-Dart, failed to bring the head down; and all he could do would be to depress the control still more. But all this time the headway of the machine would be diminishing because of the climb up hill; so that from this cause alone, quite irrespectively of the form of the control, the ability to steer down would be diminished as headway was lost. Headway is always less in going up hill than in coming down, so that a rudder will always work better on the down grade than the up. This suggests the advisability of giving a front control more steering power when correcting a climb than a dive. Curved surfaces, with their concavities above might accomplish this result; but in Baddeck No. I the concavities are below. This arrangement seems also to be disadvantageous when the machine slides down backwards towards the ground. Under headway the curved surfaces steer the head up better than down. Under sternway they steer the stern down better than up.
Imagine the Baddeck No. I at the highest point of its head tilted up at a dangerous angle. The cop for the engine to climb, and McCurdy the front control in a vain attempt to steer, (I say “vain” because headway has been lost, no rudder will steer). The inevitable slide backwards down hill by sternway, and the front control acts as a tail. Unless McCurdy instantly reverses the position of his front control all is lost. Under stern-way the depressed control will steer the stern down still more; and this steering action will be increased and intensified by the fact that the concave surfaces are then presented to the wind of backward advance. Nothing can save him, but the elevation of the control so as to steer the stern up; but in doing this the control presents its convex surfaces to the wind of backward advance, so that it has less effect in correcting the backward dive, than if the surfaces were flat, or curved with the concavities above. I am very much afraid that the front control of Baddeck No. I constitutes a dangerous innovation upon established practice, increasing the danger to the aviator and the machine. If we must depart at all from established usage let us go in the opposite direction from this. Turn the whole thing upside-down, with the concavities above instead of below. After considering the behaviour of Baddeck No. I during the accident of Aug. 13, I have came to the conclusion that the curved surfaces of the front control were perfectly capable of producing the effects observed, especially in the hands of an aviator inexperienced in their use, and accustomed to a different form of control. I take no stock in the “tail-heavy” theory; for 130 Baldwin and McCurdy had previously examined the machine on the ground with this special point in view, and had decided that the balance was O.K. Let us look to our front controls. (Int.) AGB.
THE CANADIAN AERODROME COMPANY, Baddeck No. II., Aug. 17:— Glad to any that Baddeck No. II is coming along very nicely, and would dare say it will be ready for flying by the middle of next week unless we are held up for stock which we expect very soon. (Int.) MI.
Return of Baldwin and McCurdy, Aug. 19:— Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Baldwin, and Mr. J.A. Douglas McCurdy arrived at Beinn Bhreagh to-day from Petewawa. (Int.) AGB.
1909, Aug. 28 SOME FACTS CONCERNING THE CANADIAN AERODROME COMPANY AND ITS WORK: by J.A. Douglas McCurdy Aug. 27:— The Aerial Experiment Association which expired by time limitation on March 31, 1909, had performed a certain work. It was fully realized that, although the different steps had gone under the head of “experimental work”, still the machines embodied the essential features which go to make up not only a practical but a commercial aerodrome. It was never the intention of the Association, however, to enter into this field of commerce. That was left to be the work of some Company organized specially for this purpose. Mr. Bell suggested that two of the members of the A.H.A. — F.W. Baldwin J.A.D. McCurdy — should work together as a company and quietly build and produce a machine such as they would like to sell to the Canadian or British Government. Mr. Bell further proposed that he should loan the Company sufficient money to construct two machines; this money to be paid back upon the completion of the first sale. The name finally adopted was “The Canadian Aerodrome Company” and their headquarters were established at Beinn Bhreagh in the building formally known as the “kite house” on the flying field at the Laboratory. The first thing to be done was to decide upon the general design, dimensions, lines, etc. to be followed in the construction of the machines. The general design of the Silver-Dart was decided upon and its form adopted as a standard 176 model. One of the greatest departures, however, was in using trussed ribs which allowed of three distinct advantages.
- That of greater strength afforded by the depth of rib; 2. Two layers of cloth which would completely imbed the rib; and 3. Afford a space where the horizontal diagonal wires could be placed where they could be completely hidden and so reduce the head resistance. Instead of using for our surfaces specially prepared rubber silk we selected No.10 grade of the cloth used for light sails in racing crafts. This material is very light and strong and almost impervious to air besides having the distinct advantage of not being easily rotted. The wing tips were curved at the back edge instead of being triangular as in the Silver-Dart. This form gave them almost double the area. Early in May I made a trip through the motor factories of Canada and the United States where a motor such as would suit our purpose would be likely found and our choice finally fell on a Kirkham motor manufactured at Bath, New York. A thorough test was made of the motors he had in stock and the horse-power at varying speeds determined. This test pointed out the fact that 40 H.P. could be relied upon at 1400 rpm. while the motor was capable of developing 48 H.P. at slightly over 2000 rpm. Mr. Kirkham assured me that he could construct for us a motor the same as the one tested but having a chrome steel crank shaft and aluminum casings which would weigh 320 lbs. (including a Bosch high tension magneto) and for which he would charge $800.00.
After consulting with Baldwin by telegraph the order was speedily placed and delivery guaranteed within three weeks. A few days before the date set for delivery Baldwin arrived at Bath and ran a test on the new motor which fully satisfied our expectations and orders were at once given to have the motor shipped to Petewawa, Ontario, where, at the invitation of the Canadian Government, was proposed to try out our new machine together with the Silver-Dart. A unique gasolene tank was constructed of copper to fit exactly between the cloths of the top surface of the center panel with its top and bottom conforming absolutely to the curve of the surface. With such construction the head resistance was cut down to zero. The form of radiator used was also original with us and, I think, will hold a very important place in aerodrome construction in the future. It consists of sixteen cubes made up in two distinct sections; one section of eight tubes being placed between the front strats of the first panel on the port side. Each tube is three inches wide, 3/32nds thick and 6 feet 6 inches long and carries the same curve given to the supporting surfaces. This gives us a cooling surface of 52 sq. ft. Whether this is sufficient or not to cool the 40 H.P. engine has not yet been determined. Another departure from the Silver-Dart design is in the front control the surfaces of which are given a slight curve similar to that of the main surfaces instead of being 178 flat as in former cases. This curve is not in the lateral but in the fore-and-aft direction. Tubing was used throughout the machine where necessary, bamboo being entirely done away with. The hubs of the wheels and the running gear were made from our design and have twice the length of the ordinary hub in a wheel. This gives the spokes a greater angle of spread which will give the wheel greater resisting power to skidding strain. So far our staff has comprised about eight to ten men with Mr. Kenneth Ingraham as foreman and as each man is becoming every day more skilled in his special line, it is safe to predict that machines of the future can be turned out in a much shorter period of time and with perhaps better workmanship than those our first aerodromes. (Int.) McC.