Canadian Aerodrome Company, F.W. Baldwin & J.A.D. McCurdy’s Baddeck I & II, Sept., 1909, Account.

Sept., 4, 1909 THE RADIATOR OF BADDECK NO. I., Sept. 6:— I have been urging upon Mr. F. W. Baldwin and Mr. J. A. Douglas McCurdy the importance of preserving dated records concerning the development of new details of construction in the aerodromes they are building. I am afraid they are too much in the habit of merely going ahead with the details themselves without realizing that perhaps, years after this, they may be called upon for proof of,

  1. When and where important details were first conceived, and
  2. When and where they were first reduced to practice.

More recollection cannot be relied upon after the lapse of years. Some dated documentary evidence of invention should exist, or some model, the date of construction of which is marked, should be preserved. There are several new features about the aerodrome, Baddeck No. I., which may turn out to be of considerable importance. Take for example, the radiator which seems to me to be an improvement over other radiators used on other aerodromes Other radiators, so far as I know, offer considerable resistance to passage through the air, and constitute mere dead lead to be carried by the machine. In Baldwin and McCurdy’s Baddeck No. I., the radiator offers very little resistance to advance through the air; and the blades of the radiator, being curved like the main supporting surfaces of the machine, have a lift of their own sufficient to support their own weight, or at least to support a considerable portion of it, so that the radiator as a whole is no load on the machine. Here then is an importance improvement, and I asked Baldwin and McCurdy what records they had to show when and where the idea of this radiator was conceived and when and where the invention was first reduced to practice. Although no very great time has elapsed since the first conception of this idea, I found their recollection vague as to first conception and the documentary proof of conception bearing a date very much later than that to which I think they are rightfully entitled. In addition to their private notes I found that they had in their possession a letter dated May 12, 1909 to Mr. Roberts, of the Roberts Motor Co. of Sandusky, Ohio, describing, with drawings, their radiator before its actual construction. I have therefore asked them to hand over to me the original letter written May 12, for preservation among my own records, out of their own possession, marking it with the date of receipt by me, namely August 31, 1909. This letter, although it does not carry the matter back to the date of first conception is still important as a documentary description of the idea before its first reduction to practice. With the permission of Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy I place in the Recorder a copy of this letter, together with photograph of the drawings accompanying it. At my request Mr. Douglas McCurdy has written a prefatory note explaining how the letter came to be written and why it was not sent to Mr. Roberts. (Int.) AGB.

Canadian Aerodrome Company Baddeck  No. I, ready for flight, Thgursday 12th Aug., 1909.

Canadian Aerodrome Company Baddeck No. I, ready for flight, Thursday 12th Aug., 1909.

Sept. 7, 1909 THE CURVED BOW CONTROL OF BADDECK NO. I., by F.W. Baldwin Sept. 5:—The first thing I did after returning from Petewawa was to have a good long look at some photographs of the Dart and June Bug in the air, to reassure myself that they really did fly satisfactorily. The next thought was naturally to enquire why our new machine, Baddeck No. I, which is so superior to them in most respects, failed to fly as well at Petewawa. It is hopeless to try and record all the discussions we have had upon the subject. Carrying capacity, and speed, for the present seem minor considerations; and anything that looks like automatic stability, ease of handling, etc., even to the extent of sluggishness, looms up large. The curved bow-control was a departure in Baddeck No. I, and one which, I think, we must admit was a mistake under the existing circumstances. While it may, or may not have caused the accident to Baddeck No. I, it undoubtedly made the machine more sensitive. A tailless aerodrome with a curved bow-control is about as sensitive a model as we can possibly build. In our efforts to improve the safety of the machine, I think we are wise in going back to a tail, and plane controls. (Int.) FWB.

CANADIAN AERODROME CO, The Aero Shed at Big Baddeck, Sept 5:— A bit of news concerning the building of the new aerodrome shed on one of the best testing grounds in Canada for aerodromes. We commenced on Monday Aug. 30, having seven men; namely, K. Ingraham, Mardock Ferguson, John McLean, Malcolm Doherty, A.D. MacRae (Bantic), A.D. MacRae, W.C. MacRe, Big Farm. The following days we worked with two men less who all worked with willingness, and would have put the building to a successful finish in 6 days, but on account of the death of old Mr. MacRae, who lived many years of usefulness and died at the age of 86 years. We therefore postponed work on the building until the following week. The Big Baddeck River rises very quickly during heavy rains, so we were obliged to turn out one night at 10 P.M. to pile all the lumber on the top of the aero shed. I don’t wish to convey the idea that the aerodrome will be in any danger from high water, because the last flood they had, which was the worst they ever had, only rose to a height of two feet at the barn adjoining the acre shed. This would only come up to the top of the wheels of the aerodrome, which would not disturb the machine, because there would be no current inside the shed. During our stay at Big Baddeck, we stayed with Mr. MacRae (Big Farm), and too much can’t be said in their praise for the kind manner they used everyone. KI.

Canadian Aerodrome Company Baddeck No. I, ready for trials, Thursday  12th Aug, 1909.

Canadian Aerodrome Company Baddeck No. I, ready for trials, Thursday 12th Aug, 1909.

CANADIAN AERODROME COMPANY Progress of Baddeck No. II., Sept. 5:— Soon after coming home from Petewawa, Baddeck No. II was balanced up, and her center of gravity located with the engine in the same position as in Baddeck No. I. It came just 19 ½ inches back from the front edge of the surface. Now to make things the same as in the Silver Dart and June Bug, this point should be about 10–11 inches back. To change the center of gravity to this point the engine would have to be moved forward about two feet, which would bring the balance wheel forward of the front chord. Such an 242 arrangement would be inconvenient. We talked the thing over, and finally decided to use a curved tail supported 10 feet out in the rear. This additional surface placed at an angle of 4° would produce a lift which would bring the center of pressure about over the center of gravity with the engine placed as in Baddeck No. I. On considering the action of the curved front control the fact was revealed that a sudden increase of the angle from any zero° or -2° to say +4° would suddenly throw in a leverage of about 1500 feet-pounds; which would, unless looked to very smartly, cause a very sudden turning upwards of the machine, and if the correction was delayed until the critical angle of the machine was passed, nothing would bring the machine back on an even keel again. Now this may be what happened to the Baddeck No. I. We are therefore going to go back to our flat control. The Baddeck No. II will therefore be more like the June Bug, having a tail and flat control. (Int.) McC.

Return of Baddeck No. I., Sept. 5:— Baddeck No.1, with engine, arrived at Baddeck, Friday (Sept. 3), and the engine was transferred by Gauldrie to the factory that afternoon. On Saturday morning (Sept.4), the Gauldrie towed the Get-Away to Baddeck, and the whole shipment was brought to Beinn Bhreagh. The shed at the Bentic Farm is almost finished, and will be ready for the reception of the machine (Baddeck No. II) by Thursday, Sept. 9. McC.

Completion of Baddeck No. II. Sept 11:— This day will mark the date of the successful finish of Baddeck No. II at the factory of the Canadian Aerodrome Co. All necessary preparations have been made to transport the aerodrome to the new testing grounds at the Beddick Farm on Monday Sept 13 if weather permits. I can feel assured that all the men who worked with us on the construction of Baddeck No. II, will join me in congratulating Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy, and in wishing all success to the Drome and her successors. (Int.) KI.

Glass-bottomed House-boat Sept. 13:— We will put the finishing touches on the Ugly Duckling house-boat at once and get her ready to be towed to Big Baddeck for Dr. Bell’s use in camping out while the Canadian Aerodrome Company are carrying on operations there. (Int.) CCB

Baddeck No. II., leaves BB Sept. 13:— The Gauldrie has gone up Baddeck River today towing Baddeck No. II onboard the Get-Away. (Int.) CCB

New House-boat goes to Baddeck River Sept. 13:— The Gauldrie towed the Ugly Duckling house-boat to Baddeck River today. The top had to be taken off to go under the bridge. It was then towed up the river to the flying ground of the Aerodrome Company at the Bentick Farm and anchored there awaiting Dr. Bell’s convenience. (Int.) CCB

Baddeck No II., leaves Beinn Bhreagh, Sept 13:— Took Baddeck No II out to the Bentick Farm to-day. She was placed on the Get-Away and towed by the Gauldrie; while Casey, Gardiner Hubbard, Cox, and W.P. McCurdy, and myself went out in the Piper. Four men stayed out at the grounds to-night, and will go right ahead and get the surfaces on. McC.

Sept 14:— Douglas, Casey, and Gardiner Hubbard went to-day to Big Baddeck to look after the new Drome Baddeck No II which is now there. The Ugly Duckling house-boat is to be sent there to-morrow to afford a camping place for me. AGB.

Canadian Aerodrome Company Baddeck No. I, At Petawawa Camp, 12th Aug., 1909.

Canadian Aerodrome Company Baddeck No. I, At Petawawa Camp, 12th Aug., 1909.

CANADIAN AERODROME COMPANY, Sept 16:— Mr. Baldwin, Mr. McCurdy, and Mr. Gardiner Hubbard went to the Bentick Farm to-day. They are staying all night. (Int.) AGB.

  • Sept 17:— Mr. Baldwin, Mr. McCurdy, and Gardiner Hubbard have been out at the Bentick Farm all day, and have not yet returned. They were away last night and will evidently camp out there to-night. (Int.) ACB.
  • Sept 18:— Mr. Baldwin, Mr. McCurdy, and Mr. Gardiner Hubbard returned from Big Baddeck this afternoon. McCurdy reports that Baddeck No. II, was run over the testing grounds to test engine and propeller. A wire in central section broke, and they are to replace the wires there with straps of iron to strengthen the section. (Int.) AGB.
  • Sept 19:— In general we have had fairly good success in getting Baddeck No. II ready for a flight, and it is expected that the machine will be ready for a trial in a few days. (Int.) KI.
  • Sept 22, Sept 20:— Mr. Baldwin, Mr. McCurdy, and Mr. Gardiner Hubbard went to the testing grounds at Big Baddeck to-day and will stay all night. (Int.) AGB.
  • Sept 21:— Mrs. Bell, Mrs. Baldwin, Miss Darling, Miss McRae of Washington accompanied by Sandie and Melville drove to the testing grounds at Big Baddeck to-day. They report that some experiments were made with Baddeck No.II, but that it did not leave the ground. No report has been received and yet from McCurdy or Baldwin, who still remain at the testing grounds over night. (Int.) AGB.
  • Sept 22:— Mrs. Baldwin and Miss Darling have started for the testing grounds by water, and I have asked Mrs. Baldwin to act as reporter for the Recorder and bring back notes concerning what has been done there the last day or two. (Int.) AGB.

Experiments with Baddeck No II., Sept 24:— Friday, Sept 17 was the first evening we took the machine out. In running the machine over the ground it was found that some of the wires had slackened up, and the machine was brought back to the shed to tighten these wires up. On the following day (Sept 18) the machine was again taken out, and as the previous day other wires were  found slack. All these wires have now been replaced with stronger ones. The machine runs very fast over the ground, but does not produce very much lift on account of small angle. Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy have therefore decided to give the machine a greater angle, in order that it might produce more lift, and thereby lessen the shock to the machine. The machine has been out every day since Friday (Sept 17), but no attempt has been made to put the machine into the air as some little thing each day had to be replaced and made stronger. (Int.) KI.

Sept 24:— Mr. Baldwin tried to put Baddeck No II into the air this evening, but on account of the short distance he had to run he was unable to do so. (Int.) KI.

Canadian Aerodrome No. I, At Petawawa Camp Thursday 12th Aug,. 1909.

Canadian Aerodrome No. I, At Petawawa Camp Thursday 12th Aug,. 1909.

1909, Sept 25, EDITORIALS AND ARTICLES:— Suggestions Concerning Tail of Baddeck II . (A letter from A G Bell, BB, to Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy at the testing grounds at Big Baddeck).

Sept 24:— I have been impatient to hear news from the testing grounds. Have just seen Ingraham, and I rather think, from what he says, that you are finding some difficulty in getting off the ground, and propose increasing the angle of attack of the main surfaces. I understand also from him that you are using a flat tail depressed at the rear. Now this tail acts as a depressed rudder when the machine has headway, tending to steer the head down when the machine advances, thus increasing the difficulty in getting off the ground. I have the feeling that the great function of a flat tail is to keep the machine on an even keel with the engine thrust horizontal. In my opinion this means that the surface of the tail should be parallel to the engine thrust, and not at an angle to it. In other words the tail should be horizontal when the machine is running on the ground. If it is titled up or down permanently, I think it loses its stabilizing action, tending to steer the machine continuously either upwards or downwards; and thus interferes with its principal function, namely, to make the 326 engine-thrust horizontal, when from any cause the machine departs from the horizontal position. The thought occurs, that it might perhaps take loss labor to try the effect of the horizontal tail, then to change the angle of the main supporting surfaces…………..I enclose two telegrams that have come for you from newspaper men. I have not replied to them, leaving this for you to do, as I did not think it advisable to stir up the newspaper men until you have got over the preliminary fussing over details. Otherwise you would be in the position you were in at Petawawa, of having to make your preliminary experiments in public. Better wait until you have made a satisfactory hop, before you let the newspapermen know that you are doing anything. “Thems my sentiments”. (Int.) AGB.

 Sept 25:— Cacay, Douglas, Gardiner, Mrs. Baldwin, and Miss Darling are still at testing ground at Big Baddeck. (Int.) AGB.

Sept 25:— Mrs. Gilbert H. Grosvenor drove to the testing ground at Big Baddeck to-day. John McDormid who drove her there reports that several successful “hope” were made with Baddeck II to-day, and he feels confident that the machine left the ground and flow for short distances.

Diary kept by Mrs. Baldwin at Bentick Farm, Sept 22:—  Arrived at Hyanza on “Scrapper” 5:00 P.M. Casey met us and towed us up river to their camp. Got there at 7 o’clock. John had just given the machine a run over the ground. Did not attempt to put her in the air. Everything satisfactory. (used engine without fly wheel).

  • Sept 23:— Boys up at 5:00 A.M. Took machine out. Engine skipped at first, but picked up almost immediately; machine did not gain enough headway to make her ride lightly over rough ground. One guy wire broke and propeller split. Nothing had struck propeller, and the only way to account for its failure, is that it was caused by the racking the machine underwent. Wind got up about 6.00 A.M. and no more flights were made until sundown when wind dropped. 5:30 P.M. brought machine out to new stretch along the river bank to try and get smoother ground. Made two attempts to put machine into the air. On first run goes speed was attained, and front wheel lifted; machine felt light, but did not get up. Had to shut off on marshy ground. Second attempt ran back in a westerly direction along bank of river which gave 100 yards at a good speed; machine struck bumps, and after port strut of center panel gave way temporary splice made, and machine taken back to shed.
  • Sept 24:— Repaired center panel. Machine ready by evening, but we had to wait for Ingraham who had gone to Baddeck for the irons for the front wheel to change the launching angle.
  • Sept 25:— Put irons on and changed the angle to about 5 ½° or 6°. When the wind went down about 5 o’clock took machine out and made four flights of about 200 yards each from 2 to 8 feet in the air. (Int.) KEB.
  • Sept 26:— To-day is Sunday. No flights were made at the Bentick Farm. (Int.) McC.
  • Sept 27:—No flights were made at the Bentick Farm to-day as the wind blew hard all day from the north east. (Int.) FWB.
  • Sept 28:— Tuesday afternoon about three o’clock got machine a going. Made one short flight. Broke rear port chord on the lower surface. This chord was broken in some manner over some very rough ground after a landing had been made. Took machine back to the shed and undid cloth; broken chord was spliced. Had the machine ready again just at sundown, when two very satisfactory short flights were made. The balance seemed well, and the machine answered the controls nicely. (Int.) FWB.

Letter from McCurdy to Bell, Bentick Farm, Sept 28:— Three flights were made to-day after the wind went down. Distance about 100–200 yards; elevation about 4–6 ft; balance seems good. Will make few more short flights before attempting anything which can be dignified by the name of flight. It ought to be fine to-morrow morning, and we will let you know what happens. Hope you are all well. We are having a jolly good time and all in best of spirits. (Signed) Douglas McCurdy.

Canadian Aerodrome Company, Letter from J.A.D. McCurdy to Mabel McCurdy on the flight, Sept., 28, 1909.

Canadian Aerodrome Company, Letter from J.A.D. McCurdy to Mabel McCurdy on the flight, Sept., 28, 1909.

Sept 29:— Took the machine out this morning and made another short flight. Turned around before start of second flight and chain spreader failed. Broken part was brought to Baddeck for repairs. (Int.) FWB.

1909, Oct 8, CANADIAN AERODROME COMPANY, Sept 29:— Met Mr. McRae in town to-night, and he reports that Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy expect to make a few short flights with Baddeck No.II at the Bentick Farm tomorrow afternoon. He also reports Mr. Bell reached the testing grounds about 7 o’clock. (Int.) CRC.

Work at Factory, Sept 29:— The men employed at the Canadian Aerodrome factory on Beinn Bhreagh are now putting together Baddeck No I, and are also making separate parts for Baddeck No. II, which might be used in case of accident. McC.

Sept 29:— Baldwin and McCurdy after spending a few hours at the factory this afternoon left for Big Baddeck. They expect to give Baddeck No.II a trial to-morrow. (Int.) CRC.

Dr. Bell’s Trip to the Testing Grounds, Sept 29:— Reached the testing grounds at the Bentick Farm, Big Baddeck just at dusk. Dave Dunlop drove me from Baddeck. Found Mrs. Bell, Miss Caroline McCurdy, Mrs. Baldwin, Miss Darling, Melville and Gertrude Grosvenor hers; also Mr. Baldwin, Mr.McCurdy, Mr. Gardiner Hubbard, and John McDermid. Baddeck 2 leaves ground Sept 29. A trial flight with Baddeck 2 was made, but it was too dark for me to note the result. Mr. Baldwin was on board and I understand from him that the machine was off the ground, but flying low to the place where he landed. Mrs. Bell, Miss McCurdy (with her little dog Gen. Wolf) and Melville and Gertrude Gresvenor drove back to Baddeck with John McDermid. Mrs. Baldwin, and Miss Darling occupy a tent beside the barn. Mr. Baldwin, Mr. McCurdy, and Mr. Gardiner Hubbard have another tent, but prefer to sleep in the hay in the barn. My new house-boat is very comfortable, and I anticipate great pleasure in camping out in her. This is the old “Ugly Duckling”, converted into a glass-bottomed house-boat.

Canadian Aerodrome Company Letter from J. A. D. McCurdy to Alexander Graham Bell, September 29, 1909.

Canadian Aerodrome Company Letter from J. A. D. McCurdy to Alexander Graham Bell, Requesting $1500, September 29, 1909.

Flights with Baddeck No II., Sept 30:—Willie McDonald and McRae came in to town to-night, and report that Baddeck No. II was successfully put into the air this afternoon. They report a little damage was done to the machine in making landings as the ground is very rough, and jars the machine. (Int.) CRC.

First Flight, Sept 30:— I have brought my card catalogue with me here (Bentick Farm) so as to utilize my spare time by 386 compiling sheep statistics. At 3:45 P.M. the buzz of a rotating propeller interrupted my work; and I looked out from the house-boat and saw Baddeck No II just starting towards the distant end of the field. I did not see who was in her. As her distance increased I could not tell whether she left the ground or not. Leaving the house-boat, I took my station on the field, near the line of flight, and about half way between the starting point and the barn.

Second Flight Sept 30:— At the distant end of the field the Drome was turned round facing the barn, and started again towards me with Douglas McCurdy as aviator. The machine left the ground two or three times, making short jumps of only a few yards at a time. I don’t think she cleared the ground by more than a foot or two. Then the engine was shut off, and the Drome landed gently on the grass not far from the point where I had stationed myself. The machine was shoved back to the distant end of the field by several men. The difficulty they had in moving her shows that great power must be exerted by the engine to move herat all on this ground; and it might be well to consider the advisability of having a specially smoothed place to start from. The engine must indeed be a good one, and the propeller very efficient, to enable the machine to gain 387 lifting speed on rough ground.

Third Flight Sept 30:— A third attempt was made, starting from the distant end of the field, with Baldwin as aviator. This time there was no doubt of her lifting. The machine, I should judge, was about ten feet clear of the ground when she passed me; and made a flight of, I should say, about half a mile or more altogether. From my distant point of view she seemed to be flying well, but not keeping at an even distance from the ground. Every few moments it appeared that Baldwin was about to alight, when he apparently changed his mind and steered her up again. The machine responded and rose without having touched the ground at the lowest point of her path. This manoeuver was executed two or three times before the aerodrome shed was reached; but even here she did not land, and Baldwin rose again into the air although a end of the Baddeck River lay just beyond, which it would be necessary to avoid by a turn. It looked as though he intended to make a circuit of the testing ground, but in the middle of his turn, when he was quite near the River, he evidently decided to land and shut off the power. The moment the engine stopped, the head of the machine went up in the air like a rearing horse, and the Drome made a bad landing, striking on her port wing and tail. Considerable damage was done to the running-gear, and some struts were broken. Baldwin was unhurt; but Baddeck No 2 will be laid up for repairs for a few days. Present on the field:— Baldwin, McCurdy, Bell, Hubbard, W. McDonald, John McDermid, and at least one other man whose name I do not know (Mr. Cox identifies him as Mr. Wm. McRae from one of the photographs appended). Mrs. Baldwin, and Miss Darling viewed the flight from the aerodrome shed.

Cause of Accident by AG Bell:— I have not yet talked with McCurdy and Baldwin about the cause of the accident; but I gain the impression that the center of gravity is too far back, and that they have attempted to remedy this by getting a lift from the tail by placing it at a positive angle to the line of advance (that is, rear depressed), relying on the consequent displacement of the center of pressure backwards to remedy the defect of the center of gravity, for they cannot well bring the engine further forward in the machine. While the tail may thus support a considerable percentage of the load when the machine is in rapid motion, it will support much less when going more slowly; and it is conceivable that the machine, while properly balanced when in rapid flight, may perhaps become tail-heavy at slower speeds. It is true, that the center of pressure moves backwards when the speed is reduced, both in the main surfaces 389 and the tail, but lifting power diminishes in greater ratio than reduction of speed, and it would be well to work out whether this would affect the balance. Not so sure of it myself.

Canadian Aerodrome Company, Drome Baddeck No. II, At Bentick Farm, Big Baddeck N.S., Mabel McCurdy Observing,  Sat., 25th Sept., 1909.

Canadian Aerodrome Company, Drome Baddeck No. II, At Bentick Farm, Big Baddeck N.S., Mabel McCurdy Observing,
30th Sept., 1909.

Cause of accident by JAD McCurdy, Sept 30:— In all the flights so far, Casey and I have noticed the fact that the moment the power is shut off, just before landing, the machine has a tendency to rise, and in fact has done so:— But in previous flights a sudden depression of the front control just as the power was shut off, prevented this abnormal rise, and a good glide has resulted. Now this might be due to several causes:—

  1. That the center of drive is too high.
  2. That the center of gravity is too far back.
  3. The third reason was suggested by Casey immediately after the accident, and I am inclined to think that he is right. I will leave him to write it for himself, as he has just come in. (Int.) McC.

Cause of accident by FW Baldwin, Sept 30:— The machine got up nicely, and seemed to balance perfectly. After passing the shed I felt I was a 392 little too close to the River, and shut off. Immediately, the bow came up. Instead of correcting this tendency at once, I tried to bring her down gradually. The result was that headway was partially lost; and the landing was bad, breaking the machine and two wheels. The cause of the tendency to shoot up when the power is shut off, seems to me to be the sudden reduction in the pressure under the tail, when the draught from the propeller suddenly stops. (Int.) FWB.

Discussion of accident resumed by A G Bell, Sept. 30:— We all three, Baldwin, McCurdy and I, seem to agree that the sudden lifting of the head when the power is cut off is due to the sudden cessation of the air-pressure on the under surface of the depressed tail. Quite independently of any lift produced at the tail by the wind of advance, an additional lift is caused by the draught of the propeller pushing against the depressed tail. While the machine is flying, this additional lift is compensated for, by suitable manipulation of the front control to keep the machine on a level course. The extra-lift at the tail tends to tip the head down; the compensating action of the front control tends to steer the head up; and these two actions are equal and opposite. Now cut off the extra-lift at the tail, and the front control is left steering the head up. Unless therefore the 393 front control is depressed as the engine power is shut off, the head will turn up.






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