The Dreamer

Herring 2

1887. Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, New Jersey). The Wright brothers are still five years from opening their bicycle business—and won’t even begin thinking about flight for another decade—when Augustus Herring, an engineering student with experience building model aeroplanes, proposes as his college thesis topic: The Flying Machine as a Mechanical Engineering Problem. The head of the school’s faculty summarily rejects the topic as “fanciful.” Herring quits the school—but not his fascination with aeronautics.

 

Augustus Moore Herring was an early believer in the possibility of powered flight, building (and crashing) his first full-sized glider in 1893. He went on to study the efforts of German glider expert Otto Lilienthal, eventually constructing a monoplane apparatus similar in design to the hang gliders of today, which Herring steered by shifting his body weight relative to the wing. He was employed successively by aviation pioneers Octave Chanute and Samuel Pierpont Langley, the latter serving at the time as secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

In 1896 Herring applied for a patent on a heavier-than-air, motor-powered flying machine, but his application was denied. He and Chanute were jointly granted a British patent in 1897 for a tri-wing powered glider, but the device lacked a reliable means of lateral stability. In 1898 Herring applied for a patent on a flying machine that was powered, though for just a few seconds at a time, by compressed air. That design was rejected by the U.S. Patent Office as “incapable of practical use.” Herring claimed at the time to have made brief flights with his machine, but upon summoning Chanute to watch he was unable to replicate them.

Chanute thereafter became a mentor to the Wright brothers, and when they invited him to Kitty Hawk in the autumn of 1902 he brought Herring along. Seeking a means of lateral stability other than weight-shifting, Chanute and Herring tested their current glider at the Wrights’ camp. Herring would later say the Wrights took their best ideas from him. Yet, while Chanute-Herring machines featured adjustable wings, they lacked the Wrights’ breakthrough “wing warping” design for maintaining lateral stability.

Glenn Curtiss and Lieutenant Tom Selfridge, members of Alexander Graham Bell’s “Aerial Experiment Association,” met Herring in early 1908, at which time, so he later explained, he furnished them with information “relative to curvature and method[s] of forming the sustaining surfaces [i.e., wings], the method of calculating and building the screw propellers, etc.” Given the rapidity with which the AEA developed working wings, that claim is in fact plausible. Lieutenant Selfridge wrote to Herring, taking him up on an offer to provide suggestions during construction of one of the Association’s first machines.

Later in 1908, following a ten-year hiatus in which he had researched and written extensively about aeroplanes but built nothing of his own, Herring undertook to produce a full-scale, working flying machine for the U.S. Government. Contemporaneous with the Wrights’ bid of $25,000 as the price for delivering a military aeroplane, Herring bid $20,000—and promised he would actually fly his machine from New York to Washington for acceptance tests. To demonstrate his sincerity, he provided the required cashier’s check deposit of $2,000, representing 10% of his bid.

On September 17, 1908, the first aviation fatality in history occurred at the Fort Myer demonstration grounds (near present-day Reagan National Airport) when Orville Wright crashed during War Department acceptance tests, killing his passenger, Lieutenant Selfridge. The following month Herring made “technical delivery” of his own flying machine, carrying two suitcases full of parts to Fort Myer and assembling what he explained was the center portion of the aeroplane. When the Army granted the Wrights a nine-month extension after the fatal crash, Herring sought and obtained a like extension.

At the time, Glenn Curtiss was contemplating entering the aeroplane manufacturing business in competition with the Wrights. His design used ailerons, rather than “wing warping,” but he realized that the Wright patent created an issue for him. Although Herring had never produced a functioning powered machine (and never would, as it turned out), he persuaded Curtiss he was capable of doing so, and that his ideas, inventions, and existing patents were extremely valuable. In January 1909 the two men formed the Herring-Curtiss Company. Herring, in exchange for his contributions (virtually none of which was in cash), became the majority shareholder. Curtiss, who did contribute significant cash, as well as his engine manufacturing facility, accepted a minority interest.

It’s easy enough to scoff now at the gullibility of Curtiss, but Herring was not an obvious crank. His resume was long and impressive: he had associated with aeronautical giants Langley and Chanute, and he offered Curtiss the prospect of access to inside knowledge regarding exactly what the Wrights had done in their 1902 experiments. Herring could speak persuasively of past flying accomplishments and of valuable patents that predated the patent claimed by the Wrights, including a revolutionary gyroscope system that promised a permanent and unbeatable solution to the problem of stabilizing an aeroplane.

Within a year Herring and Curtiss had, with good reason on both sides, grown mutually mistrustful. A series of corporate maneuvers designed to wrest control from each other culminated in an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding orchestrated by Curtiss, who was ultimately able to separate Herring from the manufacturing business. Herring went on to a brief, unhappy association with Starling Burgess in the design and manufacture of aeroplanes. Curtiss’s business prospered, even as he continued to battle the Wrights.

Although the Herring-Curtiss bankruptcy was finally adjudicated in favor of Curtiss, Herring seized on a failure by company attorney Monroe Wheeler to complete a formal dissolution of the corporation. In 1916, as soon as an injunction against voting his stock expired, Herring sued Curtiss and the other former directors for five million dollars, alleging that they had defrauded him of his interest in the company and claiming entitlement to 69% of the stock of various successor Curtiss companies, which by then were extremely valuable.

When the trial judge ruled against him in 1923, Herring filed an appeal, but by that time he had been partially paralyzed by a series of strokes. He spent his last years in a dingy Brooklyn apartment, alone and sick, occasionally interviewed by sympathetic journalists who wrote of him as “the forgotten leader in aviation.” Herring died in 1926 at the age of 58, still dreaming of what might be—and of what might have been.

Two years after Herring’s death, the appellate court reversed the trial court decision and found that Curtiss and the other directors had indeed acted wrongfully in 1909-1910, most notably when they orchestrated the sham sale of three aeroplanes to Charles Hamilton—a transaction that led to Eugene Ely’s finding a place on the Curtiss team. Vindication came too late for Herring to enjoy, but his legal victory was far from symbolic. Curtiss was ordered to testify in a subsequent proceeding to determine what amount would be paid to Herring’s heirs. In mid-July 1930, still entangled in the litigation, Curtiss was convalescing from an emergency appendectomy when he suffered a pulmonary embolism and died suddenly at the age of 52. His widow, unwilling to continue fighting the Herring heirs, settled out of court. In the middle of the Great Depression, they received an amount that may well have reached as much as half a million dollars.

The accompanying image, and more information about the inventions of Herring and Chanute, can be found at http://www.flyingmachines.org/chan.html

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The Dreamer

Skylark

B13

August 19, 1910. Sheepshead Bay, New York. As a publicity stunt, Curtiss aviator Bud Mars takes his wife, Marie, on a short ride. He then does the same with Mabel Ely. The effect is electric: crowds flock to Sheepshead Bay for the chance to see women in the sky.

 

Born in Michigan in 1876, diminutive James Caren McBride left home as a teenager and made his way to Chicago. Unable to establish a career in the theater, he turned to the circus, becoming a trapeze artist and the understudy to the high-dive specialist—and changing his name to James Cairn “Bud” Mars, in order to spare his family further embarrassment from association with a circus performer. Around 1892 Mars met hot-air balloonist Thomas S. “Capt. Tom” Baldwin, who taught him how to make parachute jumps from a balloon. He left the circus and went into the balloon exhibition business, billing himself as “Mars, the Lion-Hearted Dare-Devil.”

In 1904 Mars was living in Oakland when Baldwin sought him out for assistance in building the first “dirigible” (steerable) airship in America—what is today known as a blimp. They called their creation California Arrow. In August 1904, powered by a Curtiss motorcycle engine and with Baldwin at the controls, it flew a sensational circuit over Oakland. Baldwin and Mars thus beat the Wright brothers by a month in making the first American powered flight to begin and end in the same place. Mars continued his spherical ballooning career, at times ascending with his wife, Marie.

Representing the Oakland Aeronautical Club, Mars was present at the January 1910 Dominguez Field international aviation meet, where he was recruited by Glenn Curtiss for his nascent aeroplane exhibition team. Mars became the third member of that team, joining Charles K. Hamilton and Charles Willard, and he appeared in the first exhibition Curtiss staged personally, at Memphis in April 1910. The big news out of that exhibition was Curtiss’ lowering the world record for quick starts to just under six seconds. Mars, who called his Curtiss machine Skylark, concluded the meet by losing control in gusty winds, crashing into a parked car, and demolishing the aeroplane. Luckily, he injured no one.

Curtiss and the rest of his team met Eugene Ely at an exhibition held in Minneapolis at the end of June 1910. Mars and Ely went on to perform together in Sioux City, Iowa, where four thousand spectators turned up only to see flights described as “not thrilling. The ‘bird men’ were unable either to get very high or to stay in the air any great length of time.” Mars had to threaten to sue to collect the appearance fee.

Mars and Ely continued to struggle with their lightweight machines until the final two weekends in August, when the Curtiss team held an exhibition at Sheepshead Bay on Long Island. Competition was fierce at the time with the Wrights, who had just finished exhibiting in Asbury Park, New Jersey; in addition, patent litigation between the rival flyers was very much in the news. As a marketing strategy designed in part to curry public favor, Curtiss proposed to use the Sheepshead Bay meet to demonstrate the “science of aviation.” He authorized passenger rides for representatives of all the major New York newspapers, and for the aviators’ wives as well.

Carrying women passengers had little to do with the “science of aviation,” of course, nor was it a complete novelty. The first woman to fly as an aeroplane passenger in America was Sadie Van Deman, a friend of the Wrights’ sister Katharine and the wife of an army officer on the General Staff. On October 27, 1909, Mrs. Van Deman rode with Wilbur Wright for several minutes at a reported height of sixty feet.

Nevertheless, when Bud Mars made his Sheepshead Bay passenger flights (in a machine more powerful than his Skylark), newsmen were delighted to have the new focus. “Wives of the three leading aviators are much in evidence at the track,” noted the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The two sizeable photos accompanying a story headlined “Aviators Thrill Spectators at Sheepshead Bay Meet” depicted no flights, but rather (a) Mars and Mabel Ely seated in an aeroplane on the ground, and (b) Mars chatting with Lena Curtiss, Mabel Ely, and Marie (see photo above).

But Curtiss manager Jerome Fanciulli had a bigger publicity stunt in mind: the suggestion that a woman might actually pilot an aeroplane. This too was not unprecedented—Raymonde de Laroche in France and Lidia Zvereva in Russia had done it earlier that year, and both were by then licensed—but, at the time of the Sheepshead Bay exhibition, no American woman had flown except as a passenger.

The press was quick to take the bait. “Mrs. Glenn H. Curtiss, wife of the American aviator, is going to become a sky-pilot. Mrs. Curtiss already understands [the] working of aeroplanes and her husband is going to teach her to become an expert flyer.” The Washington Post reported that Marie Mars and Mabel Ely (the latter described as being courageous to the point of recklessness) “have been pestering their husbands for small machines of their own.”

The day of the woman aviator is at hand. As automobiling has developed the woman chauffeur, so flying will bring within the next year the airette or airess or aviatress—whatever the term may be.

Curtiss was indeed contemplating the addition of a woman to his exhibition team: Blanche Stuart Scott (see 29 Jan 16 post). But none of the three wives would ever pilot a plane. And Mars was done giving passenger rides.

In anticipation of competing in an air race from Chicago to New York that fall, Mars obtained the eleventh license issued by the Aero Club of America. Curtiss tapped him to make the first attempt to fly off a ship in November 1910, but a freak pre-flight accident damaged his propeller. The mishap allowed Eugene Ely to make his pioneering flight two days later.

When Curtiss and Fanciulli persisted in giving Mars what he perceived as undesirable flying assignments, he quit the team in December 1910 to join Baldwin on a tour of Hawaii and the Far East. His unexpected absence caused Curtiss to summon Ely to the west coast, thereby providing Ely the opportunity to make his famous ship landing a few weeks later.

Mars, after a six-month global circumnavigation during which he exhibited in a Baldwin “Red Devil” biplane, arrived in New York “laden with trophies, dignified with more titles than he can remember or pronounce, and brimming over with anecdotes of his adventures.” He had flown in Honolulu, Manila, Sumatra, Japan, Java, Singapore, India, Siam (Thailand), China, Korea, Siberia, Russia and Poland. He lavished praise especially on the Japanese, reporting that they “believe that the aeroplane is cheaper and far more dangerous than the dreadnought [battleship], and they are bound to master aviation.”

Mars suffered a near-fatal crash in Pennsylvania in June 1911 but returned to flying and was reunited with Ely in August at a Chicago international aviation tournament. Toward the end of the year, the two aviators and their wives jointly rented an apartment/hotel suite in Manhattan. Following Ely’s death, Mars organized an exhibition to benefit Mabel Ely. He resumed regular flying later in 1912, having taken nearly a year off, but in September he crashed again and required hospitalization.

Although Mars flew occasionally after that, his aviation career was over, with the exception of instructional duty as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Service during World War I. An estrangement from Marie ended in late 1913, at which time she was quoted as saying there was “not enough money in the world to get her husband to fly again.”

In later years, Mars’ name became associated with a string of business ventures, including an air purifier, an aeroplane service station, various real estate ventures, and gas engineering. He was divorced by the time of the 1930 census and living alone in a New York boarding house. Regularly consulted as an expert in early aviation, he is credited with being the first person to advance the theory (finally confirmed in 2013) that the Hindenburg disaster had resulted from a dangerous buildup of static electricity.

During World War II the aging Mars reminisced about his 1911 tour of Japan, during which he had given crown prince Hirohito, age 11, an aeroplane ride. “I wish we had crashed,” he reportedly said.

Bud Mars died in 1944, at the age of 68, from an unspecified heart ailment while being treated in a veterans’ hospital. He is buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery.

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Skylark

Crazy Man of the Air

Hamilton

March 5, 1910. Portland, Oregon. Charles Keeney Hamilton answers the question of whether an aeroplane can outrace an automobile.

Charles Hamilton was a former balloonist and parachute jumper who became involved with aeronautics at the age of twenty in 1905, testing the gliders of New York attorney Israel Ludlow first on a Florida beach, then over waterways in the New York/New Jersey area: the glider—a giant box kite—would be towed by automobile or tugboat until Hamilton rose into the air. Because the Wright brothers hadn’t yet disclosed their success at Kitty Hawk two years earlier, a November 1905 Scientific American article on the Ludlow/Hamilton flights noted that, until the invention of lightweight motors, it would be “impossible to launch an aeroplane flying machine by means of its own power.” In their final collaboration, in Florida in April 1906, Ludlow became paralyzed in a glider crash. He nevertheless maintained his enthusiasm for aviation.

In the spring of 1909 Hamilton traveled to Japan to fly dirigible airships at exhibitions. Ever since the French had begun their aeroplane experiments, he had wanted to try. He already knew of Glenn Curtiss as a manufacturer of lightweight airship motors, but when he read of the money Curtiss had won in the international aviation meet in France (roughly equivalent to $375,000 today), he returned to America forthwith. The two met during the Hudson-Fulton Celebration around the end of September.

Hamilton was not a large man: he stood barely five feet and weighed a hundred pounds. And he could point to that size as a significant advantage in operating underpowered aeroplanes. When Curtiss, looking to monopolize the exhibition business, proved receptive to the request, Hamilton became in effect the first member of the Curtiss exhibition team. Technically, he agreed to lease an aeroplane from Curtiss in exchange for a percentage of the money he earned at exhibitions.

Hamilton’s formal instruction began on October 31, 1909. The following day, after a bit of practice, he flew for more than twenty-five consecutive minutes. A month later he launched his career as a professional aviator in Missouri and then went on to fly at Dominguez Field with Charles Willard (see 05 Feb 16 post). By late January he was on tour in the Southwest, operating the famous eight-cylinder Curtiss Rheims racer.

In the spring of 1910, Hamilton’s tour of the west coast included a stop in Portland, where a newspaper reporter attempted to describe for readers the experience of witnessing, with one’s own eyes, a man in a flying machine:

“He’s off!” someone shouts. Down the rolled speedway at the rate of 25 miles an hour, running handily on its trio of wheels, the machine goes. Now it is barely skimming the ground; the wheels are stopping their revolutions. Attenuated by distance, the strange moving thing presents the appearance of a gigantic insect, its long, thin bamboo limbs stretched out. Now it is a foot off the ground. Suddenly a slight depression is reached in the ground ahead, the aviator ducks his machine downward for one last spring and shoots upward as if climbing an incline of blue ether. Higher and higher he goes and the gaping throng stretches its neck and gasps.

 The machine is circling the race course beneath. With the ease and grace of a seagull the turns are made. From the aviator’s mouth an occasional puff of smoke can be seen issuing. Now he has taken the cigarette in his hand to flick the ashes from the tip. In a moment he is above the spectators who, gazing upward, suddenly see him dip downward. Many cry in affright, but with a slight touch, as if responding to a telepathic message rather than to a mechanical theory, the plane dashes upward again, describing a graceful parabolic curve.

 Once more he is circling the course, mounting higher and higher at each lap, suddenly turning off at the farther side and continuing to mount upward. Now he is 500 feet in the air and is coming back toward the field. While yet many yards from a position over the field the motor stops.

 The crowd is horrified. Many think they are about to witness a tragic scene. Everyone is holding his breath. Far up in the air, clearly visible against the sky of blue the aeroplane maintains its equilibrium. It is coming down. The altitude [elevator] is pointed downward and even those who are acquainted with the theory of aeroplanics are fearful for the safety of the daring bird man. When within 100 feet of the ground the machine gives a beautiful, graceful, sinking sweep and the spectators can hear the swishing sound as it rushes through the air and alights on the ground, racing along the course for half a hundred yards by its own momentum.

 Most of the time the crowd has been too busy holding its breath to cheer, but it is all over and gray-haired men, boys with excited flushed faces, and women rush down the field to where Hamilton has stopped his machine, which is immediately taken in charge by two of his men. More with the air of a stage flunky who is removing a setting than of a star who is responding to a repeated encore, Hamilton walks back to his temporary hangar, while the spectators applaud and the band strikes up a patriotic air.

Immediately after that performance, Hamilton defeated a Buick in a match race, winning $100. Eugene Ely, who was living in Portland at the time, may have watched the race. Within a month he, too, would become an aviator.

Hamilton quickly gained a reputation as the “crazy man of the air.” Days after his Portland appearance, while deliberately diving toward a pond at The Meadows in Seattle (near the site of present-day Boeing Field), he crashed and had to be hospitalized. His own manager sued him, claiming drunkenness.

On June 13, 1910, Hamilton completed the first flight ever made between two cities—New York to Philadelphia and back in a single day—and won a prize variously reported as $5,000 and $10,000. But a dispute with Curtiss over how much of the money he was entitled to keep ended their professional relationship. In the lawsuit that followed, and many others as well, Hamilton’s attorney was one-time glider inventor Israel Ludlow.

During the summer of 1910 Hamilton ordered a 110-hp biplane, built to his specifications. He named it the “Hamiltonian” and expected to compete with it against Curtiss and others, but a near-fatal crash in Sacramento kept him from flying much in September and October. He joined Alfred Moisant’s International Aviators in November, performing over the next few months in Texas, the Southeast, and Mexico. He appeared to have resolved his differences with Curtiss by the summer of 1911, when he was scheduled to take part in a three-way race of Curtiss machines between the Gimbel department stores in New York and Philadelphia. At the last moment he begged off, and his place was taken by Ely.

Hamilton continued to fly throughout 1912—and to crash. He claimed to have had a silver plate implanted in his head, and to have to have ordered a watch charm fashioned from the fragment of skull that it replaced. He announced plans to complete an aerial loop-the-loop, considered impossible at the time, but he never intentionally accomplished it. In early 1913 he survived yet another crash, this time in Florida, by jumping clear of his machine at the last moment.

Divorced by his wife, Hamilton remarried in October 1913. Three months later, at home in bed, he suffered a fatal hemorrhage that some historians believe to have been tubercular, although it was attributed in his death certificate to a broken rib suffered in a crash. He was 28 years old.

Thanks to John Sippel, author of a forthcoming Hamilton biography, for suggesting revisions to this entry.

Crazy Man of the Air

Golden Flyer

Willard

August 3, 1909. Mineola, Long Island. Charles Willard becomes the first American to take a flying lesson—and the fifth American to operate a flying machine. Two of the others are a pair of brothers named Wright. The third, Lt. Tom Selfridge, died ten months earlier in the crash of a Wright Flyer piloted by Orville Wright. The fourth is Willard’s instructor, Glenn Curtiss.

Charles Forster Willard was born in Massachusetts and grew up in Manhattan, the son of an electrical engineer. He planned to, but didn’t—as is commonly reported—attend Harvard College. Nor was he a race car driver, although he did work as a mechanic for a Winton automobile dealer in New York. Willard was twenty-five in 1908 when Stanley Beach, aviation editor for Scientific American magazine and a cousin of the automobile dealer, invited the mechanically inclined Willard to help him build a flying machine. Their device never flew, but in the course of its construction Willard gained a practical understanding of aerodynamics and flying machines.

Beach was instrumental in founding the Aeronautic Society of New York, formed in the summer of 1908 by younger members of the Aero Club of America who wanted to investigate the potential of heavier-than-air flying machines, rather than spherical balloons and dirigibles. When, after several months, none of its members’ efforts had produced a machine capable of flight, the Society made a bold decision. Hoping “to create a more general interest in the art,” it sought to commission a machine from someone who would guarantee to produce a working aeroplane for an exhibition the Society wanted to hold in the summer of 1909.

The $5,000 purchase price quoted by Glenn Curtiss and accepted by the Society included personal instruction of two Society members. Once completed, the sale represented the first commercial purchase of an aeroplane by anyone other than a governmental agency. It was a coup for Curtiss, too, since the Society had initially considered and rejected the idea of buying a Wright machine. Curtiss immediately went into business with aviation pioneer Augustus Herring and opened the first aeroplane manufacturing business in America.

In July 1909 the Aeronautic Society took delivery of “Herring-Curtiss No. 1”—christened Golden Flyer, from the color of its wings—and soon afterward Curtiss set about fulfilling his obligation to provide instruction to two members. The first, decided by a coin flip at the Aero Club field, was Charles Willard. Curtiss briefly explained the controls and gave a few pointers before Willard took off on his own, achieving a short but successful flight. The second student pilot was Alexander Williams; unlike Willard, he took off too steeply, turned too sharply and stalled, landing Golden Flyer upside down. Williams survived with a broken arm but never flew again. (Notwithstanding detailed news coverage the next day, Willard would insist fifty years later that his inaugural flight came more than two weeks after Williams crashed.) Willard spent every evening while the machine was being repaired going on rides at Coney Island, so as to get comfortable with the sensation of moving through the air.

Curtiss had to leave New York to fly in an international aviation tournament in France. Consequently, once the machine was repaired Willard essentially taught himself to fly. He then set off touring on behalf of the Aeronautic Society—ostensibly to encourage enthusiasm for aviation, but also “with the hope of raising funds for experimental work and more sheds and workshops.” He thus became the first professional exhibition pilot in America—and the first challenge to the Wright brothers’ claim that anyone who flew for money owed them a royalty. The Wrights brought suit in August against the Aeronautic Society and Herring-Curtiss, seeking money damages and possession of Golden Flyer, which they intended to destroy. It was the first shot in a patent war that wouldn’t be resolved until the United States was on the brink of entering World War I.

In January 1910 Willard and Curtiss were among the aviators participating in the first international aviation tournament held in the United States, at Dominguez Field near Los Angeles. The Aeronautic Society decided to sell its Golden Flyer to balloonist Charles J. Strobel. Willard elected not to work for Strobel, however, instead signing a lease agreement with Curtiss under which he flew a new Herring-Curtiss machine and kept a percentage of the exhibition fees generated.

Willard flew for a year and a half on the Curtiss team, which Eugene Ely joined in the summer of 1910. On one memorable occasion, a Missouri farmer took a shot at Willard’s passing plane, “just for luck.” Willard designed a more powerful flying machine of his own, Banshee Express, and flew it regularly at exhibitions.

Willard expected to make the first landing on a ship in January 1911, a flight for which Ely would become internationally famous, but Curtiss—hoping to sell aeroplanes to the Navy—considered the fact that Banshee Express wasn’t “pure Curtiss” a marketing negative. Willard did contribute significantly to the design of the primitive arresting device used by Ely, the forerunner of the modern tailhook.

Long a bachelor, Willard married in March 1911. He quit the Curtiss exhibition team that summer, having flown for two years with very few mishaps. He ceased exhibiting soon afterward, settled in Los Angeles and designed aircraft, later moving to the East Coast as an aeronautical engineer. He was the chief engineer for Glenn Martin, and he designed flying boats for Glenn Curtiss.

The first professional aviator in the world, Willard lived to see men land on the moon and spend time aboard orbiting space stations, but he ridiculed the idea of visiting other planets as “humanly outrageous and impractical.” He is said to have asked of interplanetary travel, “What are we going to do when we get there, anyhow?”

Charles Willard died in 1977 at the age of 93.

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Golden Flyer