|E. M. (Matty) Laird||Ralph S. Barnaby
|Walter E. Lees
The Early birds made their annual migration to Detroit Wednesday night and settled down to a spring feed at the Hotel Tuller as the guests of Frank A. Tichenor, publisher of Aero Digest.
The Early Birds, as you may suspect, are not the robins or martins all Detroiters look for at this time of year. Those who landed at the feeding grounds Wednesday night included Charles Day, designer of the wartime training plane known as the Standard J-1. "Charlie" just recently returned from a leisurely flight around the world, had many yarns to tell the old timers who were anxious to hear his experiences.
E. M. (Matty) Laird, Chicago aircraft manufacturer who designed the "Solution," the plane in which Maj. James H. Doolittle made the transcontinental speed record last year, was there too. A flock of the old timers pushed bashful Matty into a corner to draw from him some of the details of the new high speed transport, he is about to introduce.
Then there was Lieut-Commander Ralph S. Barnaby, the Navy's champion glider pilot. With him was his attractive wife who is also a pilot---and no one was interested in how the commander flew a glider from the airship Los Angeles.
"General Jim," otherwise known as Maj.-Gen. James E. Fechet, retired, was there to see that Carl B. Fritsche did not put the Early Birds on record in favor of metal airships for future bird houses.
Then there was Harold (Doc) Kinkaide, the man who has kept them oiled for years, meaning of course, the Early Bird's engines. Doc" says there were no speakeasies when he started in as a "grease monkey," or if you please, an apprentice mechanic.
Anyway, Doc got William S. Brock in one corner and this is part of what we heard:
Billy tightened his belt another notch. Then---
"You're right, Doc, Guess it's politics that's gettin' me. Over in Chicago where I'm flyin' now there's a bunch of piliticians insist on flyin' a lot. I hear 'em talk so much about reducing the budget to meet the city payroll it's kinda showin' up on me, I guess."
Bald Walter E. Lees was there, too, telling those who asked, how the Diesel engine carried him to the world non-refueling duration record since the last migration of the Early Birds.
And there was a host of others who agreed again the planes at the National Aircraft Show are just playthings compared to "what we flew in the old days."