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After the winter season was over Rodger returned to St. Louis with the Bennoist crew. That spring a wealthy Duluth, [[strikethrough]] Wisconsin [[/strikethrough]]Minnesota, grain trader and sportsman, W.D. Jones, purchased a new Benoist flying boat and in June 1914, Rodger left the Benoist Company to fly for Jones, doing social flying and making commuting trips. Jones named his new craft the "Lark" and operations started on June 8th with Fritz Ericson as mechanic. Later Rodger gave Ericson some instruction and he went on to work for the Jannus brothers in their later projects. Rodger also gave Jones some instruction in the operation of the "Lark" and a very active flying season resulted. About August 1st Rodger purchased the "Lark" from Jones and he and Ericson left on an exhibition jaunt. They first went to Cedar Point, Ohio, to join Tony Jannus who had also left the Benoist Company and was operating a thriving passenger-carrying business there. Rodger and Ericson also filled some exhibition dates [[strikethrough]] and [[/strikethrough]] later that fall first at Muscatine, Iowa, then to Burlington and Ft. Madison, Iowa. They spent several days at each point carrying passengers and giving exhibitions. In early October Rodger made an appearance in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. following which he flew down the river, 140 miles, to Bellaire, Ohio, for an exhibition. Rodger and Ericson then joined in Baltimore to start a business of their own operating a flying school, carrying passengers and flying exhibitions. They also planned to design, build and market a new Jannus flying boat. The brothers started operating their flying boats from the Patapsco River and, late that fall, carried many prominent people from both Baltimore and Washington on flights about the Bay area. On November 4th Rodger made an extended flight over Baltimore carrying a local news photographer and put on quite a show, making headlines. At this time the Jannus brothers both took tests and obtained U.S. Dept. of Commerence Marine Operator Licenses authorizing them to operate motor vessels, thereby complying with harbor regulations. They were probably the first flying boat pilots to comply with this requirement for operating in congested harbors. Former Benoist student J.D. Smith joined them and took some additional instruction, 2.
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