Old Sturdy, the Medford Airplane
Seely Hall's memoirs remember the name of first airplane owned by Medford as the "Mayfly"--as in "it may fly." That was also the name painted on its tail. To place the flying public more at ease (apparently), it was referred to in the newspapers as "Old Sturdy."
The Medford Aircraft Corporation's Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" on August 13, 1919 near Klamath Falls.
MEDFORD YOUTH IN AVIATION CORPS
Floyd H. Hart, second lieutenant in the Second Company, Coast Artillery Corps, Oregon National Guard, here, and a freshman in the university, from Medford, son of Dr. H. H. Hart, departed on this afternoon's train for Vancouver, Wash., where he will take examination for the United States aviation service. Mr. Hart enlisted in the aviation branch under S. H. Ramsay, local recruiting sergeant. Following his enlistment in the coast artillery, Hart was advanced rapidly in his company, being appointed second lieutenant a few weeks after his enlistment. He has had extensive military training in private schools. Hart was accompanied to Vancouver by Sprague Carter, also a freshman in the university. He has also enrolled in the aviation service.--Eugene Daily Guard.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 25, 1917, page 6
HUN PLANE IS SHOT DOWN BY LOCAL FLIERThe casuals of the [steamer] Accomac[, arrived Jan. 24 in New York,] consisted of 21 officers and six men, chiefly of the 90th and 99th aero squadrons. Lieutenant Floyd H. Hart, of Medford, Or., a member of the 90th Aero Squadron, who fought at the Argonne and St. Mihiel, returned officially credited with one enemy plane which he shot down when attacked by five enemy machines while protecting the 165th Infantry from an air attack. The tail of his machine was shot to pieces, and he made the American lines with only two-thirds of a rudder.
Dr. and Mrs. Henry Hart Receive Official Notice of 2nd Lieut. Floyd Hart's First Victory in Air--
Only Been in Active Service a Few Weeks--in High Spirits.
Floyd Hart, son of Dr. and Mrs. Hart of Medford, is the first Jackson County aviator to bring down a Hun machine. The letter below, received today by Dr. Hart, contains a copy of the official announcement crediting him with the destruction of an enemy machine on September 20th. This victory, only a few weeks after Lieutenant Hart arrived on the front, is a source of pride not only to the young man's parents and friends, but every resident of Jackson County.
90th Aero Squadron,Dear Folks:
Sept. 29, 1918.
We moved not long ago--and have had quite an exciting time again. I can hear the guns now, which are sure making some noise.
I feel that I am becoming somewhat of a veteran now, having been over Germany quite a bit. I was jumped by three Boche my third trip over, had quite a combat but got out o.k. We think we got one of the Boche but can't tell yet, as we did not have much time to watch him go down while the others were still around. I might mention I got home with several holes in my plane, too close for comfort.
It is cold this morning. It feels much like winter is coming. We are on some historic ground now, and I will be able to give you some good dope "apres la guerre."
Excuse this scribbling, but my fingers are cold and the table is rough, not to mention no chair at my disposal. I am in fine health, not having patronized a hospital yet.
I just received a letter yesterday telling me that I had been elected to the Aero Club of America. I haven't received a letter from you for a month and a half.
With love, FLOYD.
France, Sept. 29, 1918.Dear Folks:
Just received this after I had received your letter and thought you might like to look it over:
With love, FLOYD.
Headquarters, Air Service.
First Army, American Expeditionary Forces.
France, Sept. 29, 1918.
General Orders No. 10. Extract.2. Second Lieutenants F. H. Hart (pilot) and A. T. Greer (observer) 90th Aero Squadron, 3rd corps observation group, are hereby credited with the destruction, in combat, of an enemy airplane, in the region of Dampvitoux at 800 meters altitude, on September 29th, 1918, at 7:45 o'clock.
By order of Colonel Mitchell.
T. DeW. MILLING.
Colonel, A.S.U.S.A., Chief of Staff.
W. P. Helleher,
Medford Mail Tribune, October 24, 1918, page 3
Morning Oregonian, January 25, 1919, page 4
6/18/19 Curtiss JN4 OX5--Test
Medford Aircraft Corporation
6/21/19 Ferry, mechanic Hall
6/21/19 Sacramento, Cal. to Chico, Cal., mechanic Hall
6/21/19 Chico, Cal. to Redding, Cal., mechanic Hall
6/21/19 Redding, Calif. to Grenada, Cal., mechanic Hall
6/21/19 Grenada, Calif. to Medford, Ore., mechanic Hall
6/23/19 Commercial Flying
6/24/19 Commercial Flying
6/25/19 Commercial Flying
6/26/19 Commercial Flying
6/27/19 Commercial Flying
6/28/19 Commercial Flying, passengers:
Miss Hazel Antle
Mr. Ben Sheldon
Mr. H. McDonald
6/29/19 Mr. S. A. Kroscher
Mr. E. M. Merrick
Mr. Treve Lumsden
Mrs. J. J. Emmens
Mrs. Geo. Collins
Mrs. Ed Lamport
Mrs. W. W. Hart
Miss Josephine Hartzell
Mr. Fred E. Taylor
Mr. C. R. Beebe
Mr. E. L. Dusenbury
Mr. A. Moran
6/30/19 Medford, Oreg. to Grants Pass, Oreg., J. W. Dennison, passenger
H. W. Webber
J. A. Robbie
O. A. Arnspiger
N. R. Greer
H. R. Bromer
R. E. Kroh
A. G. Martinell
7/1/19 Mechanic Hall, test
7/1/19 Grants Pass to Ashland, Oregon
Miss Harriet Trask
Mrs. J. W. Wolfe
Miss Edith Herrin
C. A. Sanderson
7/2/19 Mechanic Hall, test
7/2/19 Ashland to Medford, Oregon, mechanic Hall
7/3/19 Paul Genaway
Miss Vera Merriman
Miss Lola Blackford
Mr. Clint. McCurdy
Mr. Edison Marshall
7/4/19 Roy Pruitt
T. W. Miles
Mrs. B. Thierolf
Miss Fern Hutchison
C. F. Niedermeyer
Frank and Barbara Owen
7/7/19 Miss Mary Finley Brown
Mrs. O. H. Brown
7/13/19 Medford, Oreg. to Klamath Falls, Oreg., passenger: Geo. Collins
7/14/19 J. C. Flynn
C. E. Haynes
Charles S. Waldrich
S. E. Roberts
7/16/19 Wm. Isaacs
Inez Van Dyke
7/20/19 Medford, Oregon to Roseburg, Oregon
7/21/19 Commercial Flying
7/22/19 Commercial Flying
7/23/19 Roseburg, Oregon to Eugene, Oregon
7/23/19 Eugene, Oregon to Salem, Oregon
7/23/19 Salem, Oregon to Portland, Oregon
7/23/19 Portland, Oregon to The Dalles
7/26/19 Pendleton, Oregon to Walla Walla, Wash.
7/26/19 Walla Walla, Wash. to Pendleton, Oreg.
7/26/19 Pendleton, Oregon to Walla Walla, Wash.
7/28/19 Commercial Flying, Walla Walla, Wash.
7/30/19 Commercial Flying, Walla Walla, Wash.
8/1/19 Jack Blandford
David A. Taylor
Pendleton, & return & Milton, Oreg. [passenger?] J. W. Smith
Commercial Flying H. G. Taylor
O. E. Mitchell
K. K. Williams
Lloyd C. McLord
W. W. Lellett
8/2/19 Walla Walla to Pomeroy to Mayview & ret. [passenger?] H. L. Claudius
Commercial Flying, Pomeroy Wash.
John M. Fellhouse
8/4/19 To Pomeroy, Wash.
Commercial Flying, Fred Strain
B. E. Rummers
Mrs. J. A. Darby
A. M. Robinson
O. E. Bartlow
8/5/19 John Jewett
R. J. McCernan
Mrs. Dewey Brown
F. M. Robinson
J. L. Jackson
Mrs. H. S. Bartlow
H. S. Bartlow
Grace M. Dodge
A. L. Lynch
L. W. Brown
L. L. Brown
H. L. Kuykendall
R. D. Williams
Mrs. L. L. Brown
Pomeroy, Wash. to Walla Walla, Wash.
8/6/19 Walla Walla, Wash. to Pendleton, Oreg.
Commercial Flying: Geo. Sutton
J. E. Bunch
8/7/19 Chas. Bowers
Loyd B. Montgomery
8/8/19 Pendleton, Oreg. to Athena, Oreg.
8/8/19 Athena, Oreg. to Walla, Walla, Wash.
8/9/19 Commercial Flying
Earl L. Woods
F. V. Cotterlin
Mrs. J. H. Harvey
Pilot's Book, Floyd H. Hart, SOHS M44C, Box 1, #1997.37.1 Floyd Hart's dates correlate very poorly with the newspaper stories below. For instance, the July 13, 1919 flight to Klamath Falls actually took place on August 13. Apparently Hart's grasp of the numerical sequence of the months was shaky. Hart didn't record another flight for ten years after his August (September?) 9, 1919 flights.
YOU CAN RIDE IN AEROPLANE OVER CITY NEXT WEEK
Seely Hall and Harry Triantafeles met aviator Floyd Brown and machinist Patterson at Ashland last evening and motored them to Medford, where they took the train again on their way to Salem, where they are to give exhibition flights on the 3d, 4th and 5th. Seely Hall has arranged with aviator Brown to stop off two days next week and give exhibition flights, exact date to be arranged later. Aviator Brown is under bonds to do only straight flying. The purpose of these flights is to give those desiring to do so an opportunity to make flights with aviator Brown.The Way It Feels To Fly
Arrangements for flights can be made with Court or Seely Hall. Those who wish to make these flights are requested to send in their names at once.
Aviator Brown was stationed at Riverside until lately, and has a new U.S. Army Curtiss JNH-4 plane with OX-5 motor, which was expressed to Salem.
Seely Hall will leave for Salem this evening, where he will assist aviator Brown in his exhibition flights.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 2, 1919, page 8
Medford Aircraft Corporation ticket, 1919
Medford and valley people evidently take kindly to the idea of riding in an aeroplane, as already 20 persons including two women have engaged with Court Hall to take rides next week in the aeroplane which will be in Medford and take up passengers. One of the women is Mrs. Ella Bush, nee Hanley, sister of Mike and William Hanley. Seely Hall is expected to arrive back from Salem today with announcement of the definite date of the plane's visit here and other details.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 5, 1919, page 2
Seely Hall arrived home Monday morning from his visit at Salem over the Fourth and announces that the aviator who was expected here this week to take passengers up on short flights will not reach Medford until about July 26, as he will be engaged until that time at Salem carrying 300 people who have engaged him for short flights.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 7, 1919, page 2
An effort is being made to form a stock company in Medford for the establishment of a commercial airplane here in the spring, summer and fall to give local people air rides at so much per ride. The promoters, Seely Hall, Frank Farrell and Floyd Hart, argue that such a company with one or more passenger planes would do a land office business here among the city and valley people who have a longing to get up higher before they die. In the wintertime the company would move its flying outfit to northern California and reap a financial harvest there. Messrs. Hall, Farrell and Hart were conspicuous in the airplane service during the war, Hart being a crack flier with a Bosche plane to his credit.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 10, 1919, page 2
The stockholders meeting of the Medford Aeroplane Company, promoted by Messrs. Hall, Farrel and Hart this week, will be held tonight at the Big Pines Lumber Co. to perfect the organization. The total stock of $5000 had been subscribed by this amount.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 12, 1919, page 2
MEDFORD TO HAVE AEROPLANEMedford and the valley will go up in the air the latter part of next week, for a great novelty and treat, which only very few communities in the United States have enjoyed, is in store. Those of us who have wondered what a trip in an aeroplane was like and longed for a view of the valley from on high will have the opportunity, through the enterprise of three well-known young Medford men who were in the aviation service during the war, each a specialist in his line.
OF HER OWN NEXT WEEK
These three have been busy this week organizing a home corporation to purchase and bring in a Curtiss aeroplane to carry passage and do a general commercial and advertising business. Already over 75 percent of the capital stock has been subscribed, the venture is assured, and there have been a large number of applications from Medford men and women for flights in this plane. The only thing to prevent everyone with the price from taking one or more flights is that the plane will not be here long enough to satisfy local demand, as the promoters expect to take it to Klamath Falls for the state Elks convention in August and possibly to the Roundup in Pendleton. There will be a demand for the plane in other Oregon communities also, and in the winter the company expects to have the plane in use constantly in California.
And an additional attractive feature of the flights for Medford people is that the pilot of the plane will be Floyd H. Hart, the home boy who won high honors as an aviator in France with one hundred hours in the air to his credit, has flown a dozen different types of aircraft and was officially cited for bringing down a Bosch plane in France last October.
The company is being promoted by Sergeant Seely Hall, Lieutenant Frank P. Farrell and Lieutenant Floyd P. Hart, all three of whom have had considerable experience. Seely Hall was for two years in charge of a motor test block at Rothwell Field, San Diego, and will have charge of the plane. Frank Farrell was a naval aviation pilot and instructor. The plane will be piloted by Floyd Hart.
The insurance companies consider this plan a good risk, as C. C. McCurdy offered to get complete protection for breakage to plane, liability, etc., for a 12½ percent premium.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 12, 1919, page 3
OFF TO PURCHASE CITY AEROPLANE
Seely Hall and Floyd Hart left last night for Mather Field, Sacramento, Cal., to purchase an aeroplane to be used in flights in this city and valley. If the negotiations can be closed at once the plane will arrive in a week or 10 days, and the initial flights taken. It will be a Curtiss machine. The $5000 sought to secure the plane was completed in record time. A meeting of the stockholders was held at the Big Pines last night. Medford is the first city in Oregon to promote such a venture.
Medford Sun, July 13, 1919, page 2
Frank Farrell received a telegram this morning from Seely Hall and Floyd Hart from Mather Field, Sacramento, to which place they went to purchase an airplane for the Medford company just organized, stating that they had bought a fine Curtiss plane with an entirely new engine, and that the outfit would be expressed to Medford as soon as possible. If there are no unforeseen delays passengers carrying flights will be begun next Saturday afternoon or at the latest on Sunday. There is a long waiting list of local people who want to take air trips in the Medford company's auto [sic].
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 15, 1919, page 2
AEROPLANE FOR MEDFORD.
Medford Men To Organize Aeroplane Company.
Arrangements have been made whereby three Medford men will combine to buy an aeroplane. The men are Seely Hall, Floyd Hart and Frank Farrell, all of them being well known locally, and all three served in the aviation branch of the army. They have purchased a Curtiss plane, and its arrival is looked forward to with interest. They plan to take the machine to Klamath Falls and possibly to Crater Lake in the near future.
The investment would prove a success, for undoubtedly there are many people in this valley alone who will kiss a ten-spot goodbye for the privilege of getting a little nearer Heaven. The writer of this article, however, has no aspirations in that line.
Jacksonville Post, July 19, 1919, page 1
AEROPLANE DUE TODAY;
MAY FLY TOMORROW P.M.
The aeroplane of the recently formed Medford company, which was purchased at Sacramento, is expected to arrive here this afternoon, and flying may start Sunday afternoon at the flying field which early this afternoon had not been chosen. The plane, which is a new one with a new Curtiss motor, has been in use for several days by Floyd Hart at Sacramento, and this experienced Medford aviator likes it very much.
After a thorough testing of the machine, presumably Sunday afternoon, passengers will be taken up on short flights. Already there is a long list of applicants for flights, there being quite a competition as to who shall enjoy the first flights. The plane will only be here for a few weeks before it is taken for flights to Klamath Falls, eastern Oregon and northern California. In addition to regular flights the plane will make special flights of an hour or more by special arrangement. Applicants can hand their names to Court Hall at the Commercial Club.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 19, 1919, page 6
MEDFORD PLANE IS TO FLY TO CITY
With Floyd Hart as pilot and Seely Hall as mechanician, the airplane of the recently organized Medford company was scheduled to leave Sacramento this noon on a flight to Medford. Only a half hour of the trip is regarded as dangerous, and that is the strip between Redding and Dunsmuir, where if necessity required a landing the boys would probably encounter trouble. It was expected that they would fly as far as Redding today.
Due to inability to get an express car for shipping, the plans of the Medford company had to be changed, and hence the plane did not arrive here Saturday afternoon as had been planned. No express car could be obtained for 10 days, and the matter of insurance on the plane cannot be fixed up until about the same length of time.
So there was no other recourse to get the plane to Medford but by its power, and after the local stockholders had been consulted and given their consent to the machine's making the flight without being insured, Frank Farrell wired Messrs. Hart and Hall this noon to start at once for Medford. If the stockholders are willing the plane will begin its passenger-carrying flights here without waiting longer for the insurance to be closed up.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 21, 1919, page 6
MEDFORD PLANE ARRIVES SAFELY; HUNDREDS SEEAn airplane, Medford's very own, with Floyd Hart and Seely Hall, local boys and former army aviators, the former as pilot and the latter as mechanician, loomed out of the clouds above the Siskiyous at about 1:40 o'clock this afternoon, its coming being known to only a few.
A short time later the fire whistle blew and soon every head in Medford and vicinity was turned upward while with pride the populace eagerly watched the oncoming bird of the air, as steadily and gracefully it flew at a great height until about over the center of the city, when it began to circle downwards and then turned west and flew straight to the landing place at Gore field.
Medford is used to the sight of planes and their evolutions by this time, but it is doubtful if any of the previous planes here attracted the same absorbing interest, because of today's plane being Medford owned and Medford operated.
Pilot Floyd Hart attempted no fancy stunts beyond a few graceful circles before heading for Gore field. The plans of the Medford Aeroplane Company were not known this afternoon, but it was presumed that the passenger-carrying flights will begin tomorrow.
Messrs. Hart and Hall came through from Sacramento to Gore field today. Leaving Sacramento this morning, they reached Grenada, Cal. shortly before noon, and after taking lunch there and overhauling the plane they left about 1 o'clock for Medford and Gore field. The trip was a fine one, the boys say, and the plane worked beautifully. There was not a hitch during the entire trip.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 22, 1919, page 6
MRS. ED BROWN IS FIRST PASSENGER, MEDFORD PLANEThe Medford passenger-carrying aeroplane began late this forenoon taking local people up on short flights from Gore field over the city and vicinity. Mrs. Ed Brown was the first woman passenger to make a flight, and J. W. Mitchell was the first man to try out the beauties of air flying. There was quite a crowd of prospective passengers out at the Gore field this forenoon. The charge for an ordinary flight lasting about 15 minutes is $10, plus the war tax of $1.
After today the Medford company will use a new flying field, the Hutchison grounds on South Grape Street, opposite the Medford Ice & Storage company plant. The plane will only be here for two weeks, after which it will be taken to Klamath Falls, where it may be busy until fall, making flights.
The arrival of the plane in charge of Floyd Hart and Seely Hall early yesterday afternoon from San Francisco, as chronicled in yesterday's Mail Tribune, was record breaking in that it was the first civilian plane to make the long and dangerous trip including the crossing of the Siskiyous. There was not a single hitch to mar the voyage, during which the engine worked smoothly with clocklike precision.
The trip was made in five hours and five minutes. Stops were made for refueling at Chico, Redding and Grenada. From the latter place to Medford the mountain journey was through a storm, the same one which broke in the valley about 6 p.m Messrs. Hart and Hall say that the most beautiful of the wonderful scenery was when they were passing over Mt. Shasta, at which point they passed the bonds-delivering aeroplane en route south from Portland.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 23, 1919, page 3
Crowds are at the flying field of the Medford Aeroplane Company daily watching the plane going up and returning from its various passenger-taking flights.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 24, 1919, page 2
AIRPLANE RUSH SO HEAVY SEND FOR 2ND PILOT
Medford had another aeroplane feast today and enjoyed a thrilling exhibit of flying by Sergeant Frank M. McKee, the local aviator, in one of the two government planes en route from Sacramento to Seattle. It was the best exhibition of fancy flying seen in Medford so far, including the loop the loop, nose dives, falling leaf and various other stunts, which thrilled the onlookers.
Lieutenant Kiel and Sergeant McKee left this morning to continue their journey north and flew as far as Roseburg, but on account of a heavy fog, or the peculiar cloud formation, the clouds closing together and shutting off their view, and being unable to get under these clouds, they flew back to Gore Field to wait until the sky had cleared.
It was on returning that McKee performed some of his stunts over the city. Later, towards noon, he again took to the air and this time gave a full performance of his startling repertoire. Early this afternoon the two government aviators were still waiting here for word from Roseburg that the clouds had cleared away. They expected to resume their journey sometime this afternoon.
Medford's own civilian plane was on the job again today carrying passengers. It was announced this noon that bookings for flying can be made with F. P. Farrell during the flying hours, 8 a.m. to 12 n., and 4 to 6 a.m. daily at the flying field. Those will be the flying hours thereafter until another pilot, who has been sent for, arrives to help out Floyd Hart. Bookings for flights in excess of Hart's ability to handle them have been made, and to relieve the strain on him and also to lengthen the hours of flying another experienced aviator has been engaged.
This aviator is an overseas veteran experienced in flying all kinds of foreign and American planes. He is expected here soon from Seattle.
Among the Medford people who have already made flights are H. C. Kentner, Miss Bess Kentner, J. W. Mitchell, Ned French, Mrs. E. G. Brown, Mrs. Grace Pellett, George Gates, Mose Barkdull and County Clerk Chauncey Florey; J. H. Dennison and a traveling man came down yesterday from Grants Pass to make the flight, which they much enjoyed.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 24, 1919, page 3
Among Friday's passengers to take the airplane flight was Arthur Moran, who went up especially to see how his Rialto Theater sign, painted on the roof of a business building to guide the airplane squadron on its visit here some time ago, looked. He wore a broad smile when he landed. This sign, in white letters 100 feet long and 30 feet wide, has attracted the attention of all the people who have made flights. It looms up like a lighthouse on it from the plane.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 26, 1919, page 2
MEDFORD AEROPLANE ARRIVES.
The Medford-Owned Aeroplane Arrives and Starts Carrying Passengers.
The aeroplane which was recently purchased by an organization of Medford men has arrived and started carrying passengers Wednesday afternoon.
The plane, which was only recently purchased at Sacramento, was driven from that city to Medford in five hours and five minutes. Three stops were made on the way in for fuel and food for the drivers.
The Medford boys in charge of the trip have made a record in being the first civilian plane to make the trip across the Siskiyou Mountains under the same conditions.
They arrived at Medford in the morning and started early in the afternoon with carrying passengers on fifteen-minute flights. A charge of eleven dollars, including the war tax, is made for each passenger.
The plane is a nice-looking one and will be a great source of pride to the people of Medford and Jackson County. The owners plan to take the machine to Klamath Falls soon, to be gone for some time. Two government planes, in charge of Lieut. Kiel and Sergeant Frank McKee, arrived at Medford about noon Wednesday on their way to Seattle. They parked in the Gore field overnight and left Thursday morning for the north. McKee is a Medford boy and is well known to most of the people in the valley.
The two government machines made the trip from Mather Field to Medford in three hours and fifty-five minutes actual flying time.
It has been reported around town this week that Frank Owens of Medford has purchased a small plane of the government. It is said to be a small scout plane. The purchase price is said to be $600.
Jacksonville Post, July 26, 1919, page 3
A large crowd of spectators is expected to be at the flying field of the Medford aeroplane on South Grape Street, opposite the ice company plant, tomorrow forenoon. From now on until Tuesday the plane will not make afternoon flights, and the forenoon flights will be from 7 to 11 a.m.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 26, 1919, page 2
By Ye Editor.
Your first flight is like your first drink--intoxicating. There is a slight sensation of shock at the first sip, or dip, but after that the more you have the more you want. Look at Mose Barkdull, for example. Mose took ten minutes the first time, then he came back for thirty, and now he wants to fly from Medford to the Mexican line. Undoubtedly it works that way with everyone, even our prohi friends. For Shorty Garnett after his first flight yesterday could not keep away from the field all day in the hope that he might slip in on another quick one. The hardware business is going to suffer until he gets a cloud skimmer of his own. He won't believe it, but the airplane is the logical successor of the cocktail. And it is a vast improvement, for it gives you an appetite without a headache.
* * *Of course, there are some fearless souls who aren't nervous at all about their first flight. Nay, nay. They show this convincingly to the gallery by laughing immoderately, breaking sticks, smoking innumerable cigarettes and joking in an abandoned way about life insurance and their favorite undertaker. There are also some fearless souls who are natural-born liars. When anyone tells you they enter the aeroplane for their first exploration of the circumabient ether without so much as batting an eyelash, or registering a quiver, tell them they qualify as a moron or a Munchausen. Either they can't tell the truth or they can't coordinate. More than that they might as well save their money and stay at home. For that little quiver, that little titillation in the region of the solar plexus, which any normal human being feels in facing an entirely new and unknown experience, is half the joy--it's that indispensable dash of bitters in the cocktail of a new sensation.
* * *And everyone will agree there are very few new sensations. The human family has been walking and eating and sleeping on this earth for untold centuries, merely registering a monotonous emotional repetition. But here is something quite new--something of which our forefathers never dreamed. They explored the earth and the sea, the jungles and the caves, the forests and the ice fields, but the air!--that was something reserved for the birds, and the clouds and the sunsets, through the inexorable decree of the force of gravity. But then a modest bicycle dealer in Dayton, Ohio went Christopher Columbus one better and discovered that the earth is not only round, but that it has a six- or seven-mile layer of fresh air, which is as legitimate a playground for the human family as terra firma, provided you have a gas engine with wings attached and a navigator as experienced and reliable as Floyd Hart.
* * *Just a word about this man Hart. He got his Bosche and he got his citation, so he isn't looking for any bouquets from local headquarters. Nevertheless he deserves one. For taking trips around the valley to him must be about as thrilling as a handcar trip to Talent would be to Monte Montgomery. Yet if he is bored he never shows it. And he appears to take as intense a personal interest in your flight as the next one. But more important, he has that unusual combination: the dash of youth with the conservative judgment of maturity. He takes no chances. If the wind isn't right or the takeoff isn't right, he doesn't go. An air flight with Hart at the helm is not nearly as hazardous as a joyride on the average jitney, or a transcontinental journey in a Pullman.
* * *Any speaking of Pullmans, everyone asks what an air flight is like. Well, it's just like that--a flight in the air. But you can get a glimmer from the ground if you remember when you went over a high mountain trestle in a Pullman.
You look out of the window and can see no sign of support. You are a mile or so in the air, and the earth is spread out below in remarkable peace, beauty and geometrical precision. The houses are doll houses, the trees and cattle are miniature Noah's arks, and you drink in the beauty and sense the thrill and forget entirely about what would happen if the trestle wasn't there.
And how about the chief thrills? Well, there are two, first when you leave the ground--it's the most subtly imperceptible thing in the world--and second when the engine stops and you start to volplane down. And strange but the first sensation is accompanied by a fleeting doubt as to whether you really want to go up and the second by a stronger doubt that you ever want to come down. There you have it.
Flying is like a football game, if you have ever played in what was to you an important one. You may be as nervous as a witch before the whistle, but when the game is on, you are not only cool as a cucumber, but you forget everything else in the joy and exhilaration of the game. Aye, verily and forsooth. It is the sports of the Gods and Archangels, the triumph of Man over Nature, the triumph of human spirit over matter, the Great Adventure of peaceful times. Of course, no one of this generation can really have lived until he has flown. And only 15 hours ago we were 2,000 feet up in the air. After this, need we add it has a kick?
Robert Ruhl, Medford Mail Tribune, July 26, 1919, page 4
MEDFORD PLANE IS IN GREAT DEMAND
CITY IS 'FLY' CRAZY
The Medford aeroplane has not ceased to be a novelty and in fact is creating more interest daily, and its many flights attract wide interest on the part of citizens and visitors in the city. The list of passenger bookings is increasing constantly. From now on until next Tuesday the plane will not make flights in the afternoon but will fly only from 7 to 11 a.m. daily.
Tuesday the relief pilot for Floyd Hart is expected to be in the city from Tacoma and to alternate with Hart in flying the machine. He is Delbert Jones, the Medford boy who is an experienced overseas aviator, and the Medford company is congratulating itself on having obtained the services of so able a flier. The flying hours will be lengthened after his arrival.
Among this forenoon's passengers were the following: Mrs. Ben Sheldon, who by request was taken to an altitude of 5,000 feet; Mrs. Gus Newbury, Clarence Noe, Clarence Talent, Ralph Cowgill, Irvin Terrill, Paul Walker and Roy Farmer.
Mrs. Sheldon was so enthusiastic about her flight and the wonderful view at the 5,000 feet elevation that Mr. Sheldon at once applied to be taken on a flight next Monday. Mose Barkdull has applied to be taken by the plane to Crescent city and back. For the latter part of next week George Collins, the wholesale grocer, has engaged the plane to take him on a business trip to Klamath Falls and return.
John H. Dennison, representing Grants Pass citizens, has engaged the plane to give flights in that city next week, Wednesday and Thursday, and Ashland citizens have petitioned the Medford company to send the plane there for a couple of days next week. The following week the plane will go to Yreka for two days, and from there will go to Klamath Falls for an extended stay.
Manager A. J. Moran of the Rialto and Page theaters will take the first aero trip over the valley on an advertising campaign Sunday, distributing bills for the big super-production "Chin Chin," which will be given at the Page August 1st. Mr. Moran will visit all the towns of the valley and will leave Medford about 7 p.m., going to Central Point first, then to Jacksonville, Phoenix, Talent, Ashland, over Roxy Ann to Eagle Point, then home.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 26, 1919, page 6
Persons making flights this forenoon included Miss Hazel Antle, Ben Sheldon, who duplicated his wife's feat of riding to an elevation of 5,000 feet; Mrs. Ed Brown, who made her second flight; Ralph Bardwell, who made a flight to Ashland and return; Vernon I. Vawter, John Reter, H. A. Thierolf, R. A. Koppes and two Ashland men.
"Show Advertised by Local Plane," Medford Mail Tribune, July 28, 1919, page 6
Delbert Jones, who will alternate with Floyd Hart in piloting the plane of the Medford Aircraft Company, arrived in the city this morning from Tacoma, where he has resided since his return from overseas aviation service in the army.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, July 29, 1919, page 2
AIRPLANE WILL DROP CHIN CHIN PASSES
All Medford people who desire free passes to choice seats for "Chin Chin," the musical comedy at the Page Friday night, and who desire to see Arthur J. Moran, manager of the latter theater, do stunts from the airplane, should be on Main Street about 7 o'clock tonight.
Mr. Moran will be a passenger in the plane and will scatter handbills while the machine flies low over Main Street from Washington School to the theater. To six of these handbills will be attached tickets for "Chin Chin." Not only that, but Mr. Moran will take a photograph of the city from the plane, and to do this he will have to get out on the edge of the plane.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 29, 1919, page 8
MEDFORD PLANE AT GRANTS PASS AFTER BUSY DAYFollowing the busiest day it has had in the city, during which 18 passengers were taken up for flights between yesterday morning and just before dark last night, Medford's aeroplane left this morning for Grants Pass, where it will give the citizens of that place a touch of high life for the next two days, and will fly at Ashland Friday and Saturday, then will return home and begin flying here again Sunday. The plane arrived in Grants Pass before 8 a.m. and was flying there at 8:20.
The stay in Medford will depend on the local demand, but in any event will not be over five days. There is already a large waiting list when the plane returns home, which it is expected will be much increased. After the sojourn here the airship will be taken to Yreka and Klamath Falls, where it will give flights. From the number of bookings already made,the plane will be kept very busy at Ashland during its two days' stay there. George L. Treichler, president of the Medford Commercial Club, has already booked as a passenger on the trip Friday morning from Grants Pass to Ashland.
Much interest was manifested as to what kind of a flyer is Delbert Jones, who arrived here from Tacoma yesterday to alternate with Floyd Hart in piloting the plane. He took charge of the plane in last evening's flying and aroused much admiration with his skill. He more than fills the bill, and the Medford Aircraft Company is congratulating itself on having two such steady and experienced overseas aviators for pilots.
Reports received from Grants Pass this afternoon were that the plane had been as busy as it could be taking passengers since its arrival there this morning. The plane left here for Grants Pass at 7:30 a.m., with Floyd Hart as pilot and John H. Dennison as a passenger. Pilot Jones and Seely Hall went to Grants Pass by auto.
The passengers who went up in Medford yesterday were as follows: O. V. Myers, Caroline Drexler, C. L. Dusenbury, A. J. Moran, Roy Buckingham, Charles McCanna, Carl R. Beebe, W. Y. Crowson, S. A. Kroschell, Julia P. Hart, Emerson Merrick, L. A. Williamson, Mrs. E. H. Lamport, Miss Bertha Tongue, Mrs. Geo. T. Collins, Fred E. Taylor, Josephine Hartzell and T. B. Lumsden.
According to schedule, Arthur J. Moran, during a flight shortly after 7 o'clock last evening while the plane flew low over Main Street, between Washington School and the Page Theater, dropped handbills to which a number of free tickets to "Chin Chin," the musical comedy which appears at the Page on Friday night, were attached. However, the wind blew the bills to the southern part of the city. Mr. Moran also took a photograph of the business district of Medford from the plane.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 30, 1919, page 6
MEDFORD AIRSHIP MADE FLIGHT TO PASS, 23 MINUTES
Reports received from Grants Pass today are that the Medford plane did a capacity business in that city Wednesday and today, although the clouds hung low over that section yesterday. The plane goes to Ashland tomorrow morning and remains there until Sunday, when it returns home.
Concerning the arrival of the plane in Grants Pass the Courier says in part:
The plane was piloted by Lieutenant Floyd Hart, a Medford boy, and carried as passenger John Denison of this city. The trip was made from Medford to Grants Pass in 23 minutes. All was clear at the hop-off, and the plane made a steady ascent without circling. At Rogue River a bank of clouds was encountered. The plane circled over the city above the clouds, and although the hum of the propeller was plainly heard the machine was out of sight, 4,500 feet above the city. The Curtiss appeared in flight at about 8:15, and while sailing over the city many heralds announcing the appearing of "Chin Chin" at Medford Friday were let drop and the slips of paper sailed gracefully to earth, but in making a couple of circles to reduce elevation the plane encountered a batch of printed matter which had been let go a few minutes before.
After the landing was made at the aviation field the plane was looked over by mechanician Seely Hall of Medford and relief pilot Delbert Jones of Ashland, and a fresh supply of gasoline was taken on and the ship was ready for commercial flights.
The Courier names one of the passengers who went up yesterday as O. Armspiker. This must be intended for our old friend and former poohbah and ruler of Medford, Mister Olen Arnspiger.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 31, 1919, page 2
Medford Mail Tribune, August 2, 1919
Jacksonville Men Say It's Great Stuff.
The Medford-owned aeroplane, which so much has been read about in the dailies, has made quite a record the past week in carrying passengers. Several Medford people have availed themselves of the opportunity of placing themselves, or rather permitting themselves to be placed, above the level of their associates, as well as a goodly number of people from other cities and sections of the valley.
Chauncey Florey was the first Jacksonville man to try it and pronounces the experience as "great." Jack Reter says that "for me it was simply fine, the real bonded goods." Jacksonville was viewed from another than the usual angle by these two men, who now hold an entirely different view of our little city.
Mr. Reter pronounces it the greatest experience of his life, and says that when the "Silver Bar" gets to producing in good shape, he will buy a plane.
Jacksonville Post, August 2, 1919, page 3
The Medford aeroplane was operating in Grants Pass and Ashland four days during the week. It will return to Medford tomorrow.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, August 2, 1919, page 3
The last chance for some time to come to ride in Medford's airplane will be on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., as the plane will not fly tomorrow, when it is to be given a thorough overhauling.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, August 4, 1919, page 2
MEDFORD PLANE IS BUSY,The return home yesterday of Old Sturdy, this city's "very own" airplane, in which all Medford takes an affectionate interest, was generally welcomed, and the old boat worked hard from morning until dark making flights with passengers. The familiar sight of the plane sailing over the city never grows tiresome, and citizens watched its every movement. The flying late yesterday afternoon and last night seemed to be at a higher altitude than usual.
LEAVES THE VALLEY THURSDAY
The last chance to ride in Old Sturdy for some weeks to come will be on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., as the airplane will not fly Tuesday, when it will be given a rest and general overhauling. On Thursday the plane will be taken to Yreka for two days of passenger-carrying flights there, and then will go to Klamath Falls for an indefinite stay and will operate there during the Elks' state convention.
Up to noon today the following were taken on short flights:
Miss Frances Kinney, Mrs. Leonard Carpenter, Leonard Carpenter, A. S. Bennett, to Ashland; Ralph Woodford, Otto Niedermeyer.
Sunday's passengers in the plane were as follows:
Miss Vera Merriman, Miss Lola Blackford, Miss Margaret Mansfield, Miss Hilda Abbott, Butte Falls; Miss Flora E. Manning, Adeline C. Morris, Mrs. Vernon Vawter, Edison Marshall, Geo. A. Mansfield, "Bill" Mansfield, A. R. Willits, Paul Gannaway, Ralph Waldo Eldon, C. C. McCurdy, H. L. Welch, Butte Falls, Roy Pruitt, H. G. Meyers of Eagle Point and W. H. Corwin.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 4, 1919, page 6
By Edison Marshall
Along about 1903 the writer of this article had his first ride in an automobile. Up to this time a ride behind a rare old equine, answering to the name of Stumble, was his record for speed. The car was a queer old contraption, an angry red in color, and to get into the tonneau you climbed up a little flight of stairs in the middle of the back. Just as soon as the owner of the car cranked up, seized the funny old lever contrivance that he used for steering, rattled his gears and gathered headway, I began to feel a sensation most delightful. It was a decided tickle--a sensation so pronounced and enjoyable that I giggled and squirmed with delight through the ride, much to my host's wonder and surprise.
Of course I thought that all automobile rides afforded the same sensation. And it was quite a long time before I finally figured out any explanation. You see, this ride occurred sixteen years ago, and on this occasion it happened that I wasn't wearing any shoes or stockings. There was a rough hair mat on the floor of the tonneau, and the sensation had simply been a tickle on the soles of my feet. But no eight-cylinder limousine has ever been able to give me the same thrill, or afford the same delight. And I can't even get it from the vigorous massage effect of a certain famous little second-hand outing car that I have now; and that's saying quite a bit.
The rear entrance on an "angry red" 1903 Ford.
I remembered that boyhood experience yesterday morning, when I took my first ride in an aeroplane. The reason I remembered it was because though entirely different, the sensation was equally distinctive and enjoyable. It is one of the little oddities of the world that the first time any particular sensation is experienced it always has about one hundred percent more punch than any time thereafter. Kipling wrote a poem about it. Every man remembers the first jerk along his arm and into his soul when his first trout took his fly, and the first mallard that he ever broke out of the air with his shotgun. And who has forgotten the first all-night session around a cold keg with his college friends! It's the same the world over. And while I can't promise much for a second ride--it might become stupid in a little while--that wild sweep through the air yesterday morning is one of the epochs in the adventure of life.
There is an actual, physical sensation, particularly at certain points in the ride. Maybe the fifteen minutes you wait while the passenger on the list before you takes his ride is a sensation in itself. And you're lucky if you don't have to wait an hour, for the managers of the Medford plane have a long list booked already. It was quite a little human interest study, the departure of the passenger before me. She was a little girl, perhaps twelve years old. Her father, in the further reaches of middle age, brought her down in his Ford. She was white and breathless as Mac the booker put on her goggles and helmet; but she was game. And she was just as sober as the soberest judge. Her father had a word or two with Hart, the pilot, just before the plane swooped up. I was too far away to hear what he said, but I could guess.
"Be careful with my little daughter!" I could imagine he was saying. And Hart was careful. "She'll have something to tell her grandchildren in the days to be, when aeroplanes are more common than Fords."
They put the helmet on me, and took my straw hat, and slipped on the goggles, and told me to put my foot on the metal when I climbed in. "Don't touch this or that during the ride," they directed. and I wouldn't have any more touched them, after we were aloft, than I would a red-hot poker. I had a decided inclination not to.
First you race along the ground, and the big old grain field from where you start slides under you like yellow light. Then all at once you see you are riding very easily and smooth. Then you tell yourself:
"Well, I'm in the air!"
And you are. There's no chance for a mistake. You look over the side and see the earth dropping away from you. The most fun is going up and coming down. The machine climbs with little bursts. Pretty soon Bear Creek, never imposing at any time, looks an insignificant blue ribbon, and the pavement to Ashland a narrow, gray streak. The countryside gives rather the effect of a checkerboard--square green patches alternating with brown--one where the hay is still uncut, and the other in the stubble. Then there are the turns, when the plane seems to stand on its edge. We went 2,500 feet up, and stayed there a long time. And after awhile, after a vain attempt to figure out just what corner of the valley I was in, we began to come down.
I didn't exactly know what he did. I was fondly hoping it was a nose dive, but it wasn't quite. It certainly did dive, however, and the brain swam and the various essential organs of the body seemed to float around out of their accustomed places, and the blood tingled and it was a real and exciting thrill indeed. The earth just seemed to jump at me. And in an instant more we were swooping down, faster than a night hawk falls, into the landing field.
First Stumble, whose gait was five miles an hour, then our rich neighbor's funny old red automobile, that might go twenty, and then an aeroplane, at one hundred miles an hour. All in one lifetime, too; and not a very long lifetime at that. Things are picking up in the world. No other horse could ever give the thrill of Stumble. No other automobile could ever make me forget the old red boy with the hair-mat bottom. And if aeroplanes get as common as common, I'll never by any possibility forget this ride with pilot Hart in his Curtiss!
When the time comes that some obliging angel fits me out with a pair of wings of my own, I'm afraid he'll find me rather lacking in enthusiasm. For the thrill of the first soaring leap into the air can never be known again.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 4, 1919, page 5
Among Monday's citizens who made flights on the Medford airplane was N. S. Bennett, who was taken to Ashland and return in Old Sturdy at an average height of about 3000 feet. Mr. Bennett was delighted with the journey. The plane is flying at Yreka today.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, August 5, 1919, page 2
Airplanes Common in the Valley of Late
The big plane owned by the Medford Aircraft Co. spent Friday and Saturday at Ashland and gave many local people an opportunity to get a birdseye view of the city and upper valley. The plane was busy both days carrying passengers, one of the best pleased with such an experience being James Boyd, seventy-seven years old, who besides being an enthusiast has more than ordinary interest in aviation, he having years ago designed a flying machine that he never perfected. One of the Medford pilots is Delbert Jones, an Ashland boy recently discharged from the service. It is the intention of the aircraft company to bring the plane here frequently for passenger service. It will be taken to Klamath Falls during the Elks convention.
Four government planes en route north landed in Ashland Wednesday evening. Their stay was brief. A privately owned plane which passed over the city at an elevation of five or six thousand feet Tuesday about noon bumped its nose against a wire fence when landing at Roseburg and is laid up there awaiting a new propeller. Government aviators say the Roseburg landing field is not satisfactory owing to the nearness of high hills.
Ashland Record, August 7, 1919, page 1
The Medford airplane, which has laid off flying for a couple of days while it was being a given a thorough overhauling, resumed the business of taking up local passengers this afternoon and leaves tomorrow morning for Yreka, where it will give passenger flights for two days, and from there will go to Klamath Falls for an extended stay. Samuel T. Richardson, the clothing merchant, will be a passenger in Yreka.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, August 7, 1919, page 2
The airplane belonging to the Medford Airplane Corporation that arrives tomorrow morning will carry passengers over the city throughout the [Elks] convention.
"Plans for Barbecue Are Moving Along," The Evening Herald, Klamath Falls, August 9, 1919, page 8
MEDFORD PLANE LEAVES TODAY
The Medford aircraft plane will leave for Klamath Falls at 8 o'clock Monday morning carrying as a passenger Geo. T. Collins, exalted ruler of the Elks, who goes as the advance guard of the local lodge to arrange headquarters and prepare for the large bunch who are going from here on Wednesday to attend the convention.
Medford Sun, August 10, 1919, page 4
The Medford airplane and working crew arrived home today from Klamath Falls. It will not be known how long the plane will be here or at which city it will next fly until late this afternoon or night.
Last chance to fly, this afternoon and evening. Airplane probably leaves Tuesday for northern tour of six weeks. If you want to ride, get busy. Bookings made at field.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, August 18, 1919, page 2
CHANCE TO TAKE JOY RIDE IN CLOUDS
Medford Plane Will Make Passenger-Carrying Flights in Roseburg.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
Two Experienced Pilots in Charge of Machine--Saw Service Abroad
And Brought Down the Huns from the Clouds
Put your old "tin lizzie" in the shed over Saturday and Sunday, for you now have the first opportunity to take a joy ride in an airplane over the city and the Umpqua Valley. B. W. Craig, of the Medford Aircraft Corporation, arrived here yesterday and today completed arrangements to bring their commercial plane here tomorrow evening from the southern city to make passenger-carrying flights on the two above-mentioned days. The plane, piloted by ex-Lieutenant Floyd Hart and ex-Lieutenant Jones, both Medford boys, will fly into Roseburg late tomorrow afternoon and will alight on the Hanan field south of the city. On Saturday morning the plane will start carrying passengers for the entire day and will repeat the performance on Sunday. Passengers will, for the sum of $15, have ample opportunity to give Roseburg the "once over" and to gaze on the splendor of the Umpqua Valley. The day of miracles has not passed. Imagine but a few short years ago the awe and surprise you would have expressed should anyone have made the above proposition to you. It is the opportunity of a lifetime.
Floyd Hart, pilot of the Medford plane, is an overseas aviator and was cited three times by the United States Army for bravery over the German lines. He was successful in bringing down three Heinies during his service in the air abroad and has an enviable record. Jones was also overseas in the air service and was cited for exceptional bravery over the boche lines. He was the pilot in a large DeHavilland bombing plane and experienced thrills galore "across the pond." To ride above the clouds with two such experienced pilots is indeed a privilege, and it is thought the plane will enjoy a rushing business during their stay in this city.
They are on their way north, and Roseburg is the only passenger-carrying stop they will make this side of the Columbia River. The plane is of a bright yellow color and can easily be distinguished when it appears in the clouds tomorrow evening.
Applications for flights can be made at either newspaper office in Roseburg, and only a limited number of blanks have been left, so you had better call early and get your "reserved seat."
Roseburg Evening News, August 21, 1919, page 1
The Medford plane and pilots Hart and Jones and Seely Hall, mechanician, left for Roseburg today, where the plane will make passenger flights Saturday and Sunday which have been arranged by Bert Craig, advance agent. From Roseburg the outfit jumps to The Dalles for several days of flights there, after which they continue on to Pendleton for an indefinite stay.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, August 22, 1919, page 2
NEWS PENCIL PUSHER AMONG THE CLOUDS
Finds It Hard To Get Back to Earth After Riding in Plane Last Evening.
SCENES ARE BEAUTIFUL
Was Too Excited To Be Scared But Felt Peculiar Sensation
When Plane Was on Its Side--Wants One of 'Em.
By Bert G. Bates
Punching holes in an old Royal typewriter ribbon is rather tame business after cavorting around the clouds of the Umpqua Valley for about 15 minutes, and when the boss handed me this assignment last evening along with a "comp" ticket to take a ride in the Medford airplane, I was very regretful over the fact that I had discontinued my $10,000 army insurance. However, the force evidently had been disgusted with my ravings about riding in a plane, and so when the first opportunity presented itself they "called my bluff" and saw a good chance to feed one less mouth at the family table.
Letter instructions were handed me in the form of a written introduction to Floyd Hart, pilot of the Medford plane, and I was told to be "on deck" at the Hanan field when the "yellow plane" arrived. It is needless to say that I tore up the roads getting to the field and was there fully an hour before the yellow speck appeared in the sky. Then when the plane "bit the dust" with about three leaps I was at the side of the cockpit peering over the side at the tanned aviator and inquiring if his name was Hart. He handed me the cold "once-over" several times and then grinned and said he bore that cognomen. I grabbed for my pocket to secure the letter of introduction and was as nervous as a bridegroom looking for the ring. Finally I extracted the much-worn envelope from my hip pocket and tossed it to him. He jumped from the machine, started unfastening his overalls, and I saw my hopes for a "sky-jazz" fading into oblivion. He did not step out of his greasy uniform, however, and stood still a moment in quiet meditation reading the letter. He then said, "Are you the pencil-pusher they speak about here?" I quickly responded with a "Yep." "Well, I ought to eat some, but I guess there's gas enough in the ship to take you up," he replied with a condescending smile. At that moment the waist of my trousers barely touched me, I swallowed heavily for a moment, my collar wilted like so much lettuce, and I managed to say, "You guess you have enough to take me down after we get up?" He handed me some goggles and I pulled my cap over my ears, adjusted the specs and with some difficulty climbed over the cockpit. When I had arrived on the interior of the machine I found a large strap on the side of the seat and without any orders I strapped myself in. I adjusted the strap so tight that my legs were numb before we had even started.
I occupied the front seat and Hart was behind me. When I climbed in front I remembered once reading something about that being the most dangerous position, for if anything should happen to the plane and it should dive earthward, the man in front would be the first be killed, the engine penetrating his body. That was a pleasant thought indeed with which to start an air journey, but before I could think much more about it, Hart yelled "contact" and Seely Hall, his mechanic, gave the propeller a spin and the motor started. At first I thought the jarring would shake out some of the fillings in my teeth, and the breeze fanned by the huge propeller is terrific, and I stuck my head out from behind the windshield to look around. "Ka-zip," the breeze rushed by me, and I settled down into the cockpit breathless. Then the pilot speeded the motor and we were moving, slowly at first, then I glanced down and the ground was rushing past me. The bumps of the earth gradually lessened, and the next time I summoned enough nerve to glance downward. I perceived the cool green waters of the Umpqua River and I realized that I was sailing. As we passed over the river the cool air from below struck us, and the plane dropped about 15 feet, so it seemed to me. Then when we crossed that column of air we swiftly shot high into the air and it seemed that I was again riding in my flivver over some "choice" Oregon roads.
Personally I experienced no peculiar sensation when the plane arose from the ground, and I was too excited to be frightened. We were nearing the city of Roseburg now, and the first building I picked out was the new high school. For a moment I thought of the time I attended school there in the old structure that was later destroyed by fire and remembered some years ago when the news first arrived in our Current Events class that the Wright brothers had invented a machine that would leave the earth and fly. At that time we were "just kids," and such a thing seemed insane, but here I was flying around over my home town and looking at the very spot where I had first received the news that such a thing as an airplane existed.
Then I picked out every building in the city and was delighted with the grand sensation of viewing the beautiful sights below me. The valley seemed like a plaything. The people I could see were running to the middle of the streets and gazing skyward and they seemed like Lilliputians, and I could imagine myself as the Gulliver of the Umpqua valley. Diminutive autos were hurrying to and fro along the snow-white streets, and every lawn in the city appeared as a dark green velvet in spite of the emergency regulations on water sprinkling. "Roseburg is the most beautiful city in the world," I said to myself. I turned in the seat and pointed to my home on Ella Street at the base of the little hill and made it known to Hart that I wished to fly by there. He nodded, and we zipped in that direction. My folks were in the front yard, and Dad's flivver was resting peacefully by the curbside. We both waved and waved and Mother answered with what seemed to be a table cloth, but it appeared exceptionally clean for this late in the week. We passed over my home and on towards the fairgrounds, and a more beautiful sight I never witnessed. In fact, the grandeur of the whole thing could never be expressed in any of old Noah Webster's words, and since I have flown I still seem to be among the clouds as far as expression of my experiences is concerned.
We were now turning, and I looked to the side of me. Far above was the wing of the plane. Then I looked down and the fields below were spinning around. The field was corn and the other was beans, I guess, but to me they looked like succotash. For the fraction of a moment I remembered the time I had served a banquet to a school of fish on my trip to France.
We speeded back to the field, and I could see the group of people there gazing at us. We went past the landing grounds and again turned, and I could feel my stomach doing a St. Vitus' dance or the shimmie. Then the pilot idled the motor, and we were volplaning for the field. What a glorious sensation. We were swooping on and on and the ground was gradually coming up to meet us. Then with a final rush we touched terra firma and went bumping along the field to our stopping place. I quickly loosened the strap and tore off my goggles and extricated myself from the cockpit. Without a word of thanks (I was too excited, Hart) I beat a hasty retreat for my flivver, gave the propeller a spin and executed a "tailspin," with the exception of a few "air pockets," out of the field and down the road toward the city limits.
Of course it was great. Nothing in the world like it, and I wish I had one of the darned things.
Roseburg Evening News, August 23, 1919, page 1
JOY RIDES IN AIR PROMISEDTHE DALLES, Or., Aug. 22.--(Special.)--The Medford Aircraft Corporation will bring their Curtiss plane to The Dalles next week for commercial flights in the city, according to Burton Craig, who was in the city this morning getting bookings for the airplane.
Citizens of The Dalles May Make Flights Next Week.
The Portland plane, which is now showing in the valley, will not be here according to a letter from Lyle McCroskey, their advance man. McCroskey said he considered it too dangerous to attempt to cross the mountains with so much smoke in the air.
The Medford plane is piloted by Former Lieutenants B. Jones and Floyd Hart, both of whom were cited for bravery during their period of service in France. Hart has three German planes to his credit.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 23, 1919, page 3
The Medford airplane pilots and mechanician were expected to leave Roseburg this morning for The Dalles. A report received in the city today was that the plane started with a passenger yesterday for Grants Pass, but had to turn back because of the extremely smoky air condition due to forest fires.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, August 25, 1919, page 2
MEDFORD PLANE LEAVES FOR NORTHERN POINTS
The Medford passenger plane, which operated in this city Saturday and Sunday, left this morning for The Dalles, where the next stop will be made. Yesterday was a busy day for the fliers, for a great many residents of Roseburg took advantage of the opportunity offered to view the Umpqua Valley from a bird's vantage point. In spite of the smoke a fairly good view was obtainable, and nearly everyone greatly enjoyed their spin through the ethereal regions. The plane will take on into Washington and Idaho after it has been used at The Dalles for a short time.
Roseburg Evening News, August 25, 1919, page 1
PLANE BUSY AT ROSEBURG
Passengers Carried Over City on Commercial Flights.
ROSEBURG, Or., Aug. 24.--(Special.)--Many Roseburg citizens took advantage of the opportunity to ride in the air, when the plane belonging to the Medford Aircraft Corporation and piloted by Floyd Hart, Russell Jones and Seely Hall arrived here.
The plane made flights from the field south of this city and over the business section. The plane will go from here to The Dalles, where passengers will be taken for rides.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, August 25, 1919, page 9
The Medford aeroplane is now operating at Pendleton, Oregon, and will no doubt do a big business, demonstrating the new way to the squaws and papooses.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, August 30, 1919, page 3
Floyd Hart and Seely Hall arrived home from their long sojourn with the Medford airplane in eastern Oregon and a part of Washington, having come direct from Pendleton, where the plane did a big business during the round trip. They brought back the news to the Medford Aircraft Company that they have just sold the plane to some Pendleton men for the same amount as was paid for it several months ago by the company.
"Local Briefs," Medford Mail Tribune, September 24, 1919, page 2
The Medford aeroplane has been sold to a company at Pendleton, the price being the same as was originally paid for the machine.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, September 27, 1919, page 3
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HART, Floyd Henry, executive; b. Quincy, Illinois January 17, 1898; to Oregon 1910; University of Oregon; m. Leah Charrie Walther September 8, 1920; children--Charity, Anne, Harriet. Oregon State Board of Aeronautics. Elk; A.F.&A.M.; air pilot, World War; Rogue Valley Golf Association; University Club; Sigma Nu; Aero Club of America. Republican. Episcopalian. Address: P.O. Box 1134, Medford, Oregon.Floyd Hart Called to Duty
Who's Who in Oregon 1929-1930, Oregon City Enterprise, page 103
Floyd Hart, for the past three years president of Timber Products Company here, and who was a pilot in the air service in World War I, left Monday for Miami Beach, Fla. for the Army Air Corps officers' training school. Hart recently received a captain's commission in the Army Air Corps, and after completing his training he will be ordered to active duty.
Hart has been active in flying since the first world war. He served several years on the state board of aeronautics.
During the first world war he was credited with shooting down an enemy plane, and was awarded the Order of the Purple Heart. He held a second lieutenant's commission when discharged.
C. H. Herman, vice president of Timber Products Company, will be in charge of the company until Hart's return. Timber Products Company employs several hundred workmen and manufactures box shook and other products.
Medford News, June 26, 1942, page 1
President, General Manager, Timber Products Co., Medford.
b. Quincy, Illinois, January 17, 1898; educated Illinois and Oregon public schools; Harvard School, Los Angeles, Calif.; University of Oregon 1916-17, 1919-20; University of Illinois 1918-18; Sigma Nu; m. Leah Charrie Walther of Medford, Sept. 8, 1920; children Charity (Mrs. James B. Keeble), Harriet, Floyd Jr.; commercial air pilot 1919; assistant cashier, 1st National Bank, Medford 1920-25; vice-president Western Box Distributors, San Francisco; president and general manager Timber Products Co. of Medford; vice-president Veneer Products Co.; U.S. Air Service, World War II; overseas; awarded Bronze and Silver Star decorations; Elk; Republican; Episcopalian; home Pinehaven, Central Point, Oregon; office P.O. Drawer 152, Medford.
Capitol's Who's Who for Oregon 1948-49, page 248
Hall was an avid pilot, and in 1919 he formed the Medford Aircraft Corporation, along with Floyd Hart, Frank Farrell, Bert Thierolf and others.
Hart and Hall flew the first aircraft purchased by the company from Sacramento to Medford. They flew from an old stubble field carrying individuals on sightseeing tours of the valley for $5 and $10 each and "did very well."
They flew the Jenny north, stopping in Eugene and Salem and landing at the Portland golf course, as Portland had no landing strip at the time.
"Seely Hall, Medford Airport Founder, Recalls Early History," Medford Mail Tribune, February 2, 1965, page 14
Last revised November 3, 2020