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PERCIVAL H. SPENCER

New England Pioneer Aviator - Engineer

Percival H. Spencer was born at Windsor, Connecticut, April 30, 1897. He attended local grade schools and high school in Hartford, Connecticut.

As a boy he became very interested in aviation and built a Chanute-type biplane glider with which he became airborne April 2, 1911, on a slope near his home. He then made a seaplane glider and succeeded in making some flights from the Connecticut River, towed by a motorboat. His next project was a flying boat, powered by a 4-cylinder Roberts engine, which he flew successfully in May, 1914, while still in high school. He even carried passengers on short hops that summer with this plane. He also made a Curtiss-type pusher biplane during the summer months, which he flew successfully at Charter Oak Park, Hartford, in December.

These activities continued through 1915 and during that time Spencer built another twin-float hydro biplane glider for towed flights. In 1916 he flew the new Spencer-Carlyle flying boat at Hartford, carrying passengers that season. It was a pusher biplane with Curtiss-type hull and 39-foot span upper and 30-foot span lower Wright-type wings. The craft was powered by a 6-cylinder Roberts engine.

Later in 1916, Spencer was employed by the L.W.F. Engineering Company, Incorporated at College Point, Long Island, New York. Then, through World War I and into 1919, he was associated with the Gallaudet Engineering Corporation, East Greenwih, Rhode Island, and the Curtiss Engineering Corporation, Garden City, Long Island.

Following this he resumed his passenger-carrying service on the Connecticut River at Hartford for a period, then became manager of the
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