CURTISS' EPOCHAL FLIGHT, 1935
From the George Page Collection
AVIATION EDITOR, THE DETROIT NEWS
CLEVELAND, Sept. 2,---Five thousand feet above Lake Erie Sunday, nine of America's pioneer airplane pilots stood in the aisle of a big transport plane and drank a toast to the late Glenn H. Curtiss in commemoration of his record flight across Sandusky Bay 25 year ago to the day. Those who paid tribute to Curtiss were members of the Early Birds, a thinning band of pilots who earned their wings before 1916. The Early Birds assembled here in connection with the National AIr Races.
The engines of the Curtiss Condor were throttled slightly as though to pause just off shore from Cedar Point, where Curtiss landed in 1910 after a 64-mile flight from Cleveland, then the world's record for a flight over water. Curtiss took 74 minutes for the flight and barely made it. The Early Birds just 20 minutes. Curtiss flew on the hard board seat of a rickety contraption woven from wire, cotton and bamboo. The Early Birds rode on cushions of down that could be made into berths when night came.
In the Cleveland Press 25 years ago, Curtiss complained, "The airplane did not rise readily because it was loaded with 10 gallons of gasoline and two gallons of oil." The Early Bird's plane carried 250 gallons, enough for a flight of 800 miles. It climbed 1,000 feet a minute and made 170 miles an hour in level flight.
Horace B Wild offered the toast to Curtiss. Augustus Post, one of the country's oldest airmen, associated with Curtiss in many early day aerial adventures, and Art Mix, first man to enlist in the Army Air Corps. in the days when it was the Signal Corps, were among those paying tribute to Curtiss. Others aboard were: Walter J Carr and Walter E. Lees, of Detroit; L. B. Kimball, Ernest C. Hall, C. R. Sinclair and Edward H. Young.
The airmen were flown over the Curtiss trail by Pilot B. W. Robinson, as the guests of C. R. Smith, president of American Airlines. The co-pilot waas W. H. Talbot.
William E. Scripps, president of The Detroit News and president of the Early Birds, also retraced the course followed by Curtiss when he flew from Cleveland to Pontiac in the Early Bird, The News plane, Sunday afternoon. The plane circled Cedar Point during the flight from Cleveland.