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Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

Building the Vision: Visitor from Arizona shares interest in N-B history

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

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Last week it was my pleasure to meet a lady from Tempe, Ariz. Her name is Shirley Clark, and she had come all the way to Marshall to do research on her father. She is writing a book about his life. So, how does that tie in with my column?

Well, her father was an accomplished pilot who learned to fly at the Nicholas-Beazely Aviation School. She was here to gather all the information available about the school. I gave her a copy of my articles and she was able to go to the airport to see the planes and other artifacts that are housed in a hangar there.

She visited with other people associated with the museum project, and left here well pleased. She vows to return when the museum is finished, and she will be sharing her research on her father. I must say that I never fail to be amazed how far-reaching the early days of aviation, as manifested here in this little town, have reached all across the globe.

Also, last week, I was privileged to travel with Bryan Berlin, Bill Riggins, Mike Vogel, and Mike Morgan to Mid-Missouri Energy for the occasion of receiving a very generous check made out to the Martin Civic Center/Nicholas-Beazley Aviation Museum Project, in the amount of $50,000. Obviously, all of us involved with the campaign are thrilled with the money, and are also honored and gratified that the people of MME see the merit of our project and have been so supportive. Thank you, MME, for your kind words and your benevolence. We are sincerely appreciative!

Again, I appeal to you to contact headquarters (660) 886-2630 if you can donate money to be used for the interior of the civic center/museum building. In addition, please let us know if you have anything of interest that relates to the history of flight here in Marshall. We want our displays to be thorough as well as educational and appealing. Help us if you can.

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To return to the history of aviation in Marshall, I will start with the following article from the The Marshall Democrat-News dated May 1, 1930 ... 77 years ago, almost to the day:

"Equipment To Record Weather Being Installed

"Linemen Are Stringing the Additional Wires

"Necessary for Teletype at Airport

"Work of transmitting the United States weather recording equipment from the location on West Washington Street to the Nicholas-Beazley airport 3 miles south of Marshall, has been started by E. K. Ferrell, engineer in charge of government airport equipment between Kansas City and St. Louis, with headquarters here. Machines being moved are those to record the wind velocity and direction, temperatures, rainfall, ceiling height, and other minor instruments.

"This work is being done preliminary to the installation of teletype machines at the airport. The machines will be used by the government for hourly reports on a circuit extending from Chicago in horseshoe-like fashion through Missouri and back to Sterling, Ill.

"Three Missouri cities, outside of St. Louis and Kansas City, get the additional equipment. The others are New Florence and Columbia. All equipment, including the teletypes, has been installed at these points, Mr. Ferrell said today.

"Although it has been previously announced that service on the circuit would start by May 1, D. L. Groce, manager of the Southwest Bell Telephone Company, said today his instructions were to have the machines in operation by May 15.

"It is necessary to do a great deal of preliminary work in connection with getting the teletypes into service, Mr. Groce said. Two complete circuits, four wires, must be extended from the telephone office to the airport. Linemen are putting up these wires now.

"Use of the teletypes will be limited to sending and receiving hourly weather reports for the first few months, Mr. Ferrell believed. However, more information will be sent and received later, until they are in operation practically all of the twenty-four hours of the day. This may include reports of passing mail and transport planes and ships attempting record-breaking feats.

"The Nicholas-Beazley airport is fast becoming one of the most modern in the country. Temporary lights will soon be installed for night flying and when these are made permanent the airport will be in a class with those in the larger cities, it is said."

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It is hard to think about flying without certain "necessities," one being the radio. Knowing that the earliest pilots were in the air virtually alone sends chills through the body and increases the awe and admiration for their courage.

The Marshall Democrat-News, May 1, 1930:

"Plane Radio Relieves Pilot

"Many accidents occurring in early days of aviation will be avoided by radio telephone apparatus.

"An analysis of the uncertainties confronting the pilot in the earlier stages of air transport reveals these principle needs, according to a Boeing System bulletin.

"Means for keeping on the course when flying above or in a fog; for effecting a safe landing after having found the terminal in bad weather; for communicating weather information and orders to the pilot; for receiving and checking information from the pilot in flight.

"Radio is declared to be the solution of the chief of these four uncertainties."

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Check this out ...

The Marshall Democrat-News, May 1, 1930:

"Gliders Thrill Women

"West Coast Society Turns En Masse to This Latest Sport

"San Diego, Cal. ... (AP) ... The coast is "glider mad." The Lindberghs did it, with society names of luster contributing.

"The Stuyvesant Fishes of New York and California, the Crockers of California...dainty Ruth Alexander and a hundred more, the list swelling daily, are succumbing to the lure of soaring ... as gripping in its appeal as that of the motored plane.

"Glider factories are deluged under rush orders for more and more sailplanes...their numbers and design multiplying constantly. Additional factories are building or are in the blue print stages and a gliding era as universal as that of the bicycle day seems to be just ahead.

"Sweet sixteen ... sedate sixty ... and the in-betweens of both sexes are clambering for craft, following the lead of Lindy himself who temporarily, at least, forsook the whirring propeller for the silent sailing ship.

"Anne Lindbergh's inspiration gave as great impetus to feminine participation in the sport as did that of her illustrious husband.

"The biggest women's glider club in the world located here bears her name and she is honorary president. One of the reasons attributed to the growth of glider activities is the improved safety of them. Light and easily handled, they can land in almost any spot without seriously endangering the fair pilot.

"As the fad grows, light auxiliary motors are being installed, so many of the girls have decided to take courses in aviation.

"As one society girl expressed it, "I love my horses, my motor car, the parties, the supper dances, and my golf, but I want to go places faster and have new thrills."

"They take a ground course, then complete a glider education before piloting the motored craft.

"With increased enthusiasm for soaring, society women have adopted various styles. The latest is leather cowboy chaps, introduced by Mrs. Sidney Fish and Mrs. W. W. Crocker while they were students of Colonel Lindbergh."

ANITA WRIGHT, Columnist
Building the Vision