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Pioneer Plane Builder - Aviator- Engineer

Picture of Verne C. Babcock

Verne C. Babcock was born at Benton Harbor, Michigan April 28, 1885, son of a cabinet maker. He attended local schools and developed an early interest in things aeronautical because his mother, the former Della M. Lee, was one of the famous Lee Sisters, renowned balloonists of the 1890s. When his mother died in 1898 he prevailed upon her manager to allow him to finish her contracts. As a result he followed ballooning until he learned of the successful flying of the Wright Brothers, then his interest turned to the aeroplane.
As soon as he  could learn something about their plane Babcock built a copy of it, but included various ideas of his own. The undercarriage was also two long akids, and he used a monorail and catapult for take-off similar to the Wrights. It was equipped with an 18 H.P. engine made by Max Dingfelter of Detroit, who later made the well-known Maximotor Aircraft Engines. With this machine Babcock made his first brief straightaway hop at Bangor, Michigan on March 4th, 1905. A second hop that same day resulted in a complete mashup. His experience with this first plane resulted in less than 75 seconds of actual flying time and he found himself "flat broke".
Babcock and his manager conceived the idea of building a full-scale


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