It was announced on March 3rd at a meeting of the Aeronautic Society by Lee S. Burridge, the president, that he had concluded a contract for the purchase of a $5,000 aeroplane for the Society's first public exhibition this year at Morris Park.
The contract is with Glenn H. Curtiss, of Hammondsport, N. Y., member of Dr. A. Graham Bell's well-known Aerial Experiment Association, who, in the Association's aeroplane, the "June Bug," built at his factory, has made many successful flights at Hammondsport, chief of which were those of July 4th last, when he won for the first time the Scientific American trophy.
Arrangements have also been made with Mr. Curtiss for him to give public demonstrations of flight for the Society at Morris Park. The Society is converting the old race-track into a first-class aerodrome. The grandstand will accommodate thousands of spectators who will undoubtedly gather there to see Curtiss fly, and to witness the aeroplane races which will take place.
The Aeronautic Society is thus the first aeronautical body in America to purchase an aeroplane.
The first public flights by Mr. Curtiss in New York city are to be made at Morris Park early in the month of May.
In describing the new machine, Mr. Curtiss states that it will be in many ways different from the aeroplanes made for the Aerial Experiment Association. The main surfaces, of about 30 by 4 feet, will be parallel and not arched as in the "June Bug." It will have front and rear rudders controlled entirely by the aviator. The transverse stability will be maintained automatically by a new device. There will be many features that are novel, although not untried. The weight will be about 600 pounds, which is much lighter than the average of the machines now flying. The aeroplane will be capable of lifting 200 pounds. The engine will be a 4-cylinder, water-cooled motor of 25 horsepower, which experience has taught is sufficient. The propeller, of 5 1/2 feet diameter and the same pitch, will be mounted upon the engine crankshaft at the rear, The frame of the aeroplane will be of spruce wood and the surfaces of rubber-impregnated silk.
The aeroplane will be mounted upon a 3-wheeled chassis, and it can be started either by running along on the ground under its own power or by being jerked suddenly forward by a falling weight, as is the Wright machine. It will have a speed of over 40 miles an hour, and Mr. Curtiss expects to make several new records with it.
Immediately following the news of the purchase of an aeroplane by the Aeronautic Society came the announcement last week of the formation of a $300,000 company organized by Mr. C. F. Bishop, the president of the Aero Club of America, for the manufacture of aeroplanes and dirigibles. A. M. Herring, the aeroplane inventor who is under contract to supply the government with a 2-man machine by next June, has a large interest in the new company, to which he will assign his American patents upon automatic stability devices, etc., when they issue. G. H. Curtiss is also a principal stockholder, and for the present the aeroplanes and motors will be built at his plant at Hammondsport, N. Y. The aeroplanes to be produced are to have all the improvements devised by Herring and Curtiss, and they are to sell at $7,500 each. It is also proposed to build gliders for $600. Capt. T. A. Baldwin will attend to the manufacture of dirigible balloons, several of which will be constructed shortly. The co-operation of the leading experimenters in both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air apparatus should do much toward furthering a rapid development of aeronautics in America.
Originally appeared in Scientific American, 100,, March 13, 1909, p. 203.