|Walter in Packard Car
MAY MAKE DEAL WITH AVIATION COMPANY
TO LEARN THE BUSINESS
HUNDREDS WANT AVIATOR JOBS
Walter Lees of Ashland to Change his Occupation
From Chauffer to Aviator if Opportunity Presents Itself.
Walter Lees, chauffer for L. K. Baker, will change his occupation into that of aviator, if his present plans develope. Mr. Lees says that if he makes good, Ashland will be one of the first places that he will visit if possible. He has done some stunts with his automobile, notably his recent trip from Butternut to Ashland, sixty four miles in three hours, or less, at a speed of course not exceeding the limit required by the state law. Mr. Lees wants to make that same trip in a flying machine, to see if he cannot beat his former record.
Mr. Lees met Havens, the Curtiss aviator when he arrived here Wednesday morning, and took him out to the grounds. He assisted in starting the aeroplane and was with Havens much of the time. He will put in his application with the Curtiss Bi-plane company, if there is a chance, and hopes to be among the corps of aviators for next year's events.
It costs considerable money however, to become an aviator. Mr. Havens says it cost him a lot of money. He didn't say how much. From a different source it is learned, that with some concerns at least, an advance fee of five hundred dollars is required, before considering an application. The five hundred covers a series of lessons on handling the aeroplane. Many things are required, reliability, soberness, nerve, with freedom from nervousness and so on.
From the list of applicants, only a few are chosen. "Before accepting an applicant's money" says Havens, "he is studied for several days. If the company wanted to accept money from every man who aspires to be an aviator, it could undoubtedly get tens of thousands of dollars, but it doesn't do business that way. I am not authorized to say just what is required, but I know the Curtiss officials look a fellow over very carefully for a long time, and if he is finally accepted as a learner, he must be free from physical and mental defects to an extent, for reliability is demanded. The company can't trust its machines to men who are not responsible."
Some of the best aviators in the world are graduates from motorcycles and automobiles, and there is no reason why Lees should not become a second Havens or a second Beachey.
It appears that Walter had written letters to a number of prominent persons in aviation asking for advice on how he might become an aviator. This is a copy of the letter Walter received from Hudson Maxim, President of the Aeronautical Society, in 1911.
698 ST. MARKS AVENUE
BROOKLYN, N. Y.
TELEPHONE 2315 BEDFORD
February 20, 1911
Walter E. Lees, Esq.,
722 8th Ave., W.,
My Dear Sir:-
Your interesting letter of the 15th inst. is received.
There are probably in England several hundred thousand beautiful young women, pretty as wax dolls, brought up with such moral rectitude and educated with such care that they would make most excellent wives if suitable husbands for them could be found; but the fact is, in England the matrimonial market is glutted with excellent femininity. Luck more than anything else is the matrimonial agent of those who succeed in marrying. Chance directs the darts of Cupid.
Similarly, in this country today there are a very large number of young men, looking exactly what you are looking for, and luck plays a great part in their success.Although aviation offers the greatest promise of any growiing industry today, it is not yet quite big enough to employ all those who want to work in it, unless they have both the inventive genius and the means to take it up on their own account.
I should think from your letter that you are rather an unusually bright young man, and from what you have told me, you are evidently possessed of much more initiative than the average. You are doing the correct thing in writing to prominent persons interested in aviation. Although your efforts may not bear fruit immediately, let me advise you to keep after those who are already in aviation until you are able to get into it yourself.
I am not personally working on flying machines, although I am President of the Aeronautical Society; but I will keep you in mind, because I believe you are deserving, and when I get a chance to say a good word for you, I will say it. That is all I can do.
With best wishes for your success,