Viewing page 30 of 34

SEPTEMBER 30, 1930.


Glider Contest Pilots Take Long Aerial Trips; Bowlus Discusses Birds 
O'Meara Enjoys Flight of One Hour and 23 Minutes While Wolf Hirth Remains Up Nearly an Hour in His Kagel Sailplane - Bendix Airship Display Attracts Attention - Glider is Damaged on Way Here From Michigan - Bowlus Talks on Bird Flights. 
Not one bit dismayed by recent accident to gliders, considered an unwelcomed by expected part of contest flying, Elmria's guest pilots took to the air bright and early Monday morning, at the opening of the second and final week of the first national meet. During the first contest week many residents seemed a little in doubt as to what it was all about but Sunday and Monday's spectators seemed to have been reading up on gliding statistics. 
Jack O'Meara of Akron, O., flying a Cadet 2, made two flights from the Coleman Avenue field/scene of Monday's work. His longest flight was one hour and 23 minutes. Albert Hastings, California, flying a Franklin, was up one hour, 47 minutes, 5 seconds. Prof. R. E. Franklin, University of Michigan, flying a Franklin, was in the air 13 minutes. Wallace Backus, New Jersey, in a Franklin remained in the air 30 minutes and WolF Hirth, Germany, in his Kagel Sailplane, remained aloft 54 minutes and 50 seconds on the second of two flights. 
Contest officials received information, Monday night, that a Franklin glider being towed by airplane from Ypsilanti, Mich., to Elmira, as a contest stunt as well as for use here as damaged in a storm shortly after starting. Reports indicate that the plane and glider ran into a gale of such severity that he glider pilot feared for his safety and after cutting loose from the palne, and being unable to control the tiny ship, jumped to earth via the parachute route. 
Employes of the Eclipse plant, as well as a large number of Elmirans visited the airport Monday to inspect the Bendix Aviation Company's Stinson plane equipped with aviation devices manufactured by Bendix at the Eclipse and other plants controlled by the coroporation. William Eddie, pilot, proudly displayed the plane's instrument board, declared to be the most elaborately equipped on any airplane. The numerous aids to aviation seen on the plane, especially those made in Elmira, aroused general interest. But few individuals realize that the wheel hubs of every American plane used in the World War, including those made here and purchased by allied governments, were the products of the Eclipse plant. This plane came to Elmira in connection with the glider meet. 
The sixty-foot sailplane that carried Jack Barstow on the longest motorless flight of history a few months ago, was one result of 20 years of study of the birds on the part of W. Hawley Bowlus, America's champion glider pilot now in Elmira, who built the ship that remained in the air more than 15 hours. 
The birds are still the greatest of all pilots, of the air, and men can learn much from them. Probably the most economical flying in the world, for example, is accomplished by the golden plover, which, according to naturalists, frequently makes non-stop flights of 2400 miles on two ounces of fat, says Mr. Bowlus, who continues:   
 "Some soaring birds, notably the gulls and pelicans, use their wings a great deal for flapping flights. Buzzards and hawks, on the other hand, move their wings only infrequently. Regardless of how small the air currents and up-drafts may be, they seem to be able to soar without physical effort.
"On several occasions, I have observed buzzards soaring as low as two or three feet above the ground. 
Every second I expected them to use their wings to gain height. But they seemed to know just where the up-currents were and how to utilize them to gain altitude regardless of how low they might be. 
"Being able to maneuver quickly, these birds can climb gracefully on slight uprising air currents like those that come from the roods of buildings, from sandy spots heated by the sun, and from the small whirlwinds that stir the leaves and dust on hot Summer days."
"I have watched buzzards soaring in such whirlwind, or convection, currents many times, They approach from any direction. As soon as they feel themselves being lifted, they swing in a wide, sweeping turn until they find the extent of the up-draft. Then they usually fly on the outer portion of the circular convection current, where they are able to make complete circles following the upward trend of the air. 
"Pelicans and gulls usually do their scaring along the cliffs in the up-currents formed by the ocean breezes striking the promontories. They seem to fly in squadrons with a leader who is responsible for the amount of work done. When the leader of a long line of pelicans
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact