Barling Bomber  
  The Leviathan of airplanes. This is the Barling bomber,
the largest heavier-than-air flyer ever built.
Flown by Lieut. Harold R. Harris
  From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Rotogravure Picture Section, September 30, 1923
Air Meet Proper Will Start Tomorrow
Speed Trophy Race Wednesday
     Here is a detailed schedule of what spectators at the International Air Meet will see, including attractions today, Sunday, September 30, 1923. St. Louis Field was opened yesterday for some advance attractions, but the meet proper starts tomorrow. The program:
11 a. m.,---Gates open. Aeronautical exhibition in tents, showing progress of development of aircraft and motors. Racing pilots will be trying out their planes. Last of contestants in the "On-to-St. Louis" race will be arriving by air.
2 p. m.---Mulvihill trophy race for model airplanes; 27 youths have models entered, each craft being powered by rubber strands.
7 p. m.---Demonstration of night flying by an army night bombing squadron, with field and planes illuminated.
9 a. m.---Gates open.
9:30 a. m.---Demonstration of the Farman plane, the smallest plane in the world, which weighs only 600 pounds but can make 60 miles an hour.
10 a. m.---Arrival of Veiled Prophet by airplane, this being the first time his majesty has ever appeared in public except for his annual parade and ball.
10:30 a. m.---Reception to the Veiled Prophet by Miss Alice Busch, retiring Queen of the Court of Love and Beauty; two special maids, maids and matrons of honor, Air Board officials and visiting dignitaries.
10:45 a. m.---Demonstration by airship TC-3 from Scott Field, with helium in its gas bag.
11 a. m.---Event No. 2, Flying Club of St. Louis trophy race, for civilians only; distance 93 miles, three times around the course. Prizes, $500, $300 and $200 in each of two classes, speed and efficiency. Entrants: Robert P. Hewitt, 1 (plane number), Farman "sport"; Charles Sherman Jones, 2, Curtiss Oriole; Lawrence B. Sperry, 14, Messenger; Edmond T. Allen, 27, B. A. S.; Maj. William B. Robertson or Lieut. Frank H. Robertson, 28, special; Walter E. Lees, 59, Hartzell Prop. Co. FC-1; Perry G. Hutton, 61, Laird Swallow; John K. La Grone, 665, Rogers-Day.
12 noon.---Arrival of air mail squadron---10 planes from Omaha, Neb.; three from San Francisco; three from New York and two from Washington, D. C.
12:30 p. m.---Event No. 8.---A Mitchell trophy race for army pursuit planes only. Entrants: Lieut. T. W. Blackburn, 53; Lieut. T. K. Matthews, 54; Lieut. G. P. Tourtellet, 55; Capt. V. B. Dixon, 56; Lieut. J. T. Johnston, 57; Capt. Burt E. Skeel, 65; all will fly MB-3 planes with Wright motors.
2 p. m.---Event No. 3---Liberty engine builders' trophy race, for military only. Distance, 186 miles, six times around the course. Prizes, $800, $500 and $200. Entrants: Ensign D. C. Allen, U. S. N., 3; Curtiss 18-5 obs; Lieut. G. B. Hall, U. S. M. C., 4, UO-1; Lieut. S. M. Connell, U. S. A., 30, La Pere; Lieut. Horace N. Heisen, U. S. A., 31, CO-4; Lieut. C. McMullen, 32, CO-4; Lieut. L. H. Smith, U. S. A., 33, CO-5; Lieut. V. J. Meloy, 34, XB-1-A; Lieut. W. B. Larsen, U. S. A., 35, XB-1-A; Lieut. H. K. Ramey, 36, De Haviland 4-L; Lieut. D. M. Outcalt, Officer's Reserve Corps, 37, DH-4-B; Lieut. W. H. Bleakley, U. S. A. , 38, DH-4-B; Lieut. J. J. O'Connell, U. S. A., 39, DH-4-B; Maj. Roy S. Brown, U. S. A., 40, DH-4-B; Capt. Robert Oldys, U. S. A., 62, Packard-Fokker; Lieut. W. H. Brookley, U. S. A., 63, Curtiss D-12.
4 p. m.---Fort bombing demonstration by the MB fighting planes.
7 p. m.---Demonstration of night flying by air mail pilots, with field and planes illuminated.
9 a. m.---Gates open
9:30 a. m.---Demonstration of the Farman plane, same as Monday.
10 a. m.---Demonstration of TC-3 or other airship, same as on Monday.
11 a. m.---Event No. 5. Aviation Club of Detroit trophy race for civilians only. Distance, 155 miles, five times around the course. Prizes, $500, $300 and $200 in each of two classes, speed and efficiency. Entrants: Charles Sherman Jones, 2, Curtiss Oriole; George B. Post, 11, Huff Daland; Harry G. Smith, 12, Anani; John L. Burns, 35, La Pere; Harold Harris, 26, Huff Daland; Edmund T. Allen, 27, 4-place monoplane; Frank H. Robertson, 29, special Standard J i; William R Robertson, 60, Raco (Orenco); Perry Hutton, 61, Laird Swallow.
1:15 p. m.---Balloon sn???ping and acrobatic flying demonstration.
2 p. m.---Event No. 6, Merchant's Exchange trophy race for civilians and military. Distance, 96 miles, three times around the course. Prizes, $1000, $700 and $500. Entrants: Lieut. M. A. Schur, U. S. N., 5, DT-4; Boatswain E. E. Reber, U. S. N., 6, DT-4; Lieut. Robert J. Brown, U. S. A., 41, DT-2; Lieut. M. S. Fairchild, U. S. A., 42, Breguet 14-B-2; Lieut. H. G. Crocker, U. S. A., 43, T-2; Lieut. H. L. George, U. S. A., 44, Martin bomber; Lieut. L. P. Arnold, U. S. A., 45, Martin bomber; Capt. E. C. Black, U. S. A., Martin bomber; 1st Lt. Walter S. Hallenberg, 58, Martin bomber.
4:20 p. m.---Exhibition of parachute jumping from airplane.
7 p. m.--- Night flying demonstration, same as Monday night.
9 a. m..---Gates open
9:30 a. m.---Demonstration of the Farman plane, same as Monday and Tuesday.
11 a. m.---Event No. 7, Detroit News air mail trophy race for air mail planes and pilots. Distance, 186 miles, six times around the course. Prizes, $800, $500 and $200. Entrants: Ernest M. Allison, L. H. Garrison, William C. Hopson, James H. Knight, Harold T. Lewis, James F. Moore, Dean C. Smith, Frank R. Yager, Randolph G. Page, E. F. White, B. H. WInslow, W. F. Blanchfield, R. H. Ellis, W. D. WIlliams, R. F. Collins and W. L. Smith. Plane numbers not yet assigned.
2 p. m.---Event No. 8, Pulitzer trophy race, the air classic of America, for civilians and military. Distance 124 miles, four times around the course. Prizes $2000, $1500 and $500. Entrants: Lieut. S. W. Callaway, U. S. N., 7, Wright fighter; Lieut. L. H. Sanderson, U. S. M. C.,Wright fighter; Ensign A. J. Williams, 9, R-2-C-1; Lieut. Harold J. Brow, U. S. N., 10, R-2-C-1; Lieut. Alexander Pearson, U. S. A., 48, Verville-Sperry racer; Lieut. W. Miller, U. S. A., 49, Curtiss racer; Lieut. J. D. Corkille, 50, Curtiss racer.
4 p. m.---Demonstration of the Barling bomber, largest airplane in the world.
5 p. m.---Formation flying.
7 p. m.---Night flying demonstration, same as Monday and Tuesday nights.
The ZR-1, the giant airship of the Navy, will be demonstrated at the most convenient time, dependent on its arrival. The helicopter, which will be on display, may give a working demonstration.
Admission Charges
Today---Adults, 50 cents; school children, 25 cents.
Tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday---Adults, $1; school children, 50 cents.
Holders of tickets will be provided with free parking space for automobiles.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sunday, September 30, 1923

Barling Bomber
     The experimental Witteman-Lewis XNBL-1 Barling Bomber triplane was designed by Walter Barling for the United States Army and was the largest aircraft in the world, when it first flew on August 22, 1923, by Lieutenant H.R. Harris. Its poor performance, however, led to its being destroyed in 1928.
Photo & Text Courtesy of Roy Nagl
from the Ancient Aeroplanes Vintage Photos CD
Ancient Aviators Website
     The second "monster" to appear at the St; Louis air meet was the Army's answer to the ZR-1 (The Navy's first American-built rigid Dirigible) --- the Barling Bomber, "the largest airplane in the world." Powered by four tractor and two pusher engines, the gigantic triplane was 65 feet long, 28 feet high, and had a wingspan of 120 feet (the exact distance of the first sustained heavier-than-air flight). A contemporary journal commented:
     "The arrival of the Barling Bomber at the St. Louis airport was in a way the remarkable event of a week's crowded aerial demonstrations. To say that six-engined triplane is huge, does not in the least convey the impression it is on the ground or in flight. "monumental" would perhaps best express it."
     The Barling Bomber remained at the St. Louis airfield throughout the week, stupefying the thousands who inspected it. The pride of the Army weighed 27,132 pounds empty, and with its gross weight of 42,569 pounds it could reach 95.5 miles per hour. The ship cost $500,000 to construct and, like the Shenandoah,required a special hangar at a cost of $700,000. Little flying was done after its maiden flight on August 22, 1923, however, because when officials in Washington requested that it be flown a mere 400 miles from Dayton, Ohio, to the capital for exhibition purposes, the bomber was unable to climb high enough to clear the Appalachian Mountains. After lying in disrepair for five years, the Barling was surreptiously destroyed in 1928 at the order of General H. H. Arnold so that no public outcry would be made over the million-dollar waste of taxpayer's money.
From James J. Horgan's
The Patrice Press, 1984
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