|CURTISS AVIATION SCHOOL
AERONAUTICAL STATION, 1916
|Curtiss Aviation School or Atlantic Coast Aeronautical Station, 1916|
The Curtiss School campus --- if you could call it that --- consisted of an area at the water's edge where stood a small club house, an early version of a student center, and which also housed the manager's office. Nearby stood a huge barnlike structure called a hanger. There were a few sheds scattered about which contained motor blocks for testing engines, the drone of which went on continuously. There was the dope shop, which emitted the perpetual odor of banana oil, an ingredient of the dope used to varnish the linen fuselage and wings, as already mentioned. There was no stockpile of spare parts in the shop. When a part was broken, the airplane had to be grounded until a new one could be made. The repair shop also contained a few wooden struts, one or two extra wooden propellers, a few bolts of linen, and an old foot-powered sewing machine to stitch it up on; some extra wire and a few fittings and the mythical "sky hook" which was part of the initiation at the Curtiss School. Rookie fliers often looked everywhere for the "Sky Hook" which they said their instructor had ordered them to take with them on their first flight. More than one fledgling bit on that one!
At the water's edge there was a wooden landing ramp over which the flying boats and seaplanes were launched, and there was a flying field nearby which was actually only a strip cut through a farmer's hay field. That was the complete picture of the school, unless you included the little restaurant across the road, called the Greasy Spoon, where the fliers gathered for a cup of coffee and a sandwich.
I can't recommend this book too highly if you are interested in Early Aviation
Curtiss Co. to come to Buffalo, N.Y. to teach the flying boat. We lived in a boarding house which was very interesting. It was at 219 Porter Ave. and Pops flew at the foot of Porter Ave. One of the men he taught was Al Johnson, who knew land planes but not boats. Pops could teach on either. There were men from Russia with their wives there. Danny (Loa's mother), spent time there with me, getting baby clothes ready, etc. We were flabbergasted when a Russian woman brought her baby boy into our room to visit and she let him lie on the bed with no diaper. Danny didn't think much of that.
We were only there a few months when just before Christmas, December 16, Pops accepted a position at the Curtiss Flying School in Newport News, VA. Captain Baldwin was in charge there. Pops taught on the flying boat for quite a while. He also was sent to Washington, D.C. to demonstrate the plane in connection with a Curtiss lawsuit.
We lived in Dr. Pressey's house shared by his family on one side and two old maid sisters on the other. It was a 24 room house and the sisters rented three rooms to us and one to one of Pop's students, Ted Hequemburg. Jimmie Johnson, with whom Pops had gone to flying school in San Diego, came to teach land machines here, and lived only a block or so away. Jimmie had lost his wife a short time earlier.
Paul Culver from Ashland, who knew Pops and I before we were married, decided he wanted to learn to fly, so came there. Then he decided my dear friend Edith Dodd and he should be married in Washington, D.C. We talked the Dr. Presseys into renting their billiard room on the third floor to Teed and Paul and so we all lived there together. This house was right on Hampton Roads, where the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac was fought.