|STEVE MCGORDON, 18??-1917|
|Steve McGordon, 1916.|
In addition to Walter, the Curtiss School had the following instructors: Vic Carlstrom, Vic Vernon, Jimmy Johnson, Carl Batts, Steve McGordon, Ted Hequemburg, Lawrence Leon, Bert Acosta, and Andrew "Stew" Cogswell.
April 1. Steve flew an R-2 with a passenger from Newport News, Virginia to Washington, D.C., and returned in 4 hours and 45 minutes. This was quite an impressive performance for the time.
Editor's Note: The specifications for and a photo of the Curtiss Model R may be found on the Aero Data Files site. Use your "Find" button and look for R, R-2
May. Victor Carlstrom was the winner of a 28-mile aeroplane race at Sheepshead Bay, New York. His time was 14 minutes 21 seconds. Steve McGordon, another Curtiss pilot-instructor, was second with a time of 15 minutes, 31 seconds.Ruth Law, one of the few female flyers, came in third, flying a tiny Curtiss biplane with a 30-foot wingspan. Her time was 18 minutes, 16 seconds.
Steve died as a result of a fire. He was in the front seat of the plane, his student was in the back. There was no throttle or switch in the front. On landing, the plane's tail went up in the air, the propeller hit the ground, and the engine braces broke. All Curtiss OX5's had the rear end of the crankshaft extending back out of the engine, with a socket for a crank to fit into, usually used when installed in a pusher Curtiss F Boat. This shaft was so long and so close to the gas tank, that the tank had a recess in it to accomodate the shaft. When the engine braces broke, the shaft ripped into the gas tank, allowing the gas to escape, which caught fire.
In this case, the student became confused and did not cut the switch. There was a big burst of flame around Steve. He tumbled out, but not before he was badly burned and had breathed in the hot flames. He lived several hours, but his lungs were badly burned. I went to the hospital and talked to him several hours before he died. He was quite rational and we talked over the accident to determine just what caused it. Steve was a fine fellow. The student was slightly singed, but recovered. All planes were grounded until throttle and switches were installed in the front seats.