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Thread: What did people think when they saw an airplane for the first time in the 1900s??

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    What did people think when they saw an airplane for the first time in the 1900s??

    Hi ya-awl,
    I had to share this little story I found on the web. The following is an excerpt taken from a talk that was made by Captain John M. Miller, age 84, at the Dutchess Community College, Poughkeepsie,NY, on Wednesday, November 28, 1990:

    Well, I saw his take off and it was such a thrill that I changed my interest from steam locomotives to airplanes on
    that day, when I was four and one-half and I never changed my direction since then. That was May 29th, 1910. I was
    four and one-half and I remember it quite vividly, seeing that airplane zoom over the trees and disappear over the Hudson
    River, at about 100 to 200 feet. Curtiss was the first man to fly across the Hudson River, but he did it lengthwise!
    [Laughter] That flight was really an historic flight and it was a very big thrill to everybody. It was in all the newspapers,
    with headlines and so forth, it was quite an exciting thing. Today you would never think anything of it. But, then,
    airplanes had never been seen here before. That was their very first airplane and many, many people still didn't believe
    that airplanes were actually a fact. People actually thought they were a fake. In fact, later when I was barnstorming,
    several people would come to me and say, "I think the whole thing is a fake! You've got some secret method of getting
    that thing up there." [Laughter] Well, it was secret all right: it was air, which is not visible. I remember distinctly, one
    day I was carrying passengers in an old Jenny and a man came along, holding a little boy by the hand. Within my
    hearing, the boy asked his father, "What makes it fly!" He replied, "It's just a fake, they've got some secret trick to get
    it up there." [Laughter] I actually heard that. [Laughter] Many people at that time thought flying was against God, that
    man should never fly, or try to fly because it was sacrilegious and I had people come to me and tell me that, when I was
    flying in those days.
    By the way, this aviation pioneer is still alive today. He can also be found on EAA's video library talking about teaching himself to fly in a Curtis Jenny in the 1920s...amazing stories: http://bcove.me/l365axpo

  2. #2
    Clay Hammond's Avatar
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    Johnny passed away in 2008. He was a friend of my dad's. Neat guy. The original Flying Octogenarian.

    This was his New Standard that he worked back in the late days of barnstorming:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Johnny was a legend around here, even inspired a young Cole Palen, the man was IFR/MEL in a Baron into his ninety's flying coast to coast a couple times a year but let that go and only flew around in his Bonanza after that. Last time I saw him he was 101 and I think still had a 3rd class med. No coffee, no booze, no smoking. If you have the time watch the other clip on the EAA site it's fantastic but he's a shorter one
    .

    http://youtu.be/NfW3l1unBWA

    Glenn

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    Clay Hammond's Avatar
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    Also one of the OG gyroplane pilots. Flew mail in them in fact from post office roofs in NYC and Philly.
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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear he passed away. Sounds like a guy I could talk for days with.

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    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    One summer when I was working at the Aerodrome we had a V12 400hp Liberty engine mounted on a 4 wheel wagon frame that we used to hand prop with 2 or 3 guy's holding hands while the last guy held the 11' prop blade at 7 oclock and we all pulled him along to get it started, Johnny who was a frequent visiter at Rhinebeck was watching and laughing at how we didn't know what we were doing. We asked him later on if he had flown behind a Liberty and he say's " I used to fly the mail in DH4s an had the same air in the tires almost all summer " and we never undestood why he said that, but later on I learned that the old rubber tires would fail if abused and Johnny was bragging when he said that he had the same air all summer, that his landings were that good.


    Glenn

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    mountainmatt's Avatar
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    Very cool story!

    This is a cool 16mm film of Mr. Miller delivering the airmail in a auto-gyro.

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    C-90 Cub's Avatar
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    My Great Grandmother was 12 when she seen her first airplane. Her parents thought people were nuts trying to fly. It couldn't be done and was absurd for people to even try. Even though they claimed they had been flying for years most people didn't believe it because they never seen an airplane. The first one that she seen go overhead scared her to death. She remembered how loud it was and crazy it was to see something that big motor through the air. Also, there were very few automobiles (as she called them) where she grew up and they always spooked the horses. It was the law back then that if your automobile spooked the horse the owner of the car had to shut it off and cover it up so the horse would pass by it. She was amazed and glued to the TV when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Pretty cool life span. She grew up laughing at people trying to fly airplanes and lived to see them walk on another planet.

    My first instructor hated the term pilot. He always said, "Aviators few airplanes and pilots operate boats."

    Steve
    Last edited by C-90 Cub; 01-02-2012 at 04:13 PM.

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    My dad still remembers school being let out for the Lindbergh Parade here in Tulsa.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    I think Orville said to Wilbur ....

    "Bro! There's just GOTTA' be a way to get RICH with these things!" And people been proving 'em wrong EVER SINCE!

    CloudDancer
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

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    n40ff's Avatar
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    My mom who was born in 1927 told me that as a child in grade school, every airplane that flew over was thought to be Lindbergh and evryone whold wave and yell, "Hi Lindy". I also recall that to her every small plane was a " Piper Cub". Even after she had several flights in my first plane, a C120 and several other Cessnas , they were all still piper Cubs. Wasn't until a ride in the Club Beech 35 that I had progressed beyond cubs....

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