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MANAGEMENT IN AVIATION HISTORY BENCH MARKS


LOOPS, DIVES AND SPEED BEFORE THE VOTE


BY GIACINTA BRADLEY KOONTZ


Ruth Law took lessons to earn her license during 1912 and purchased her own Wright aircraſt. She later purchased a headless pusher biplane for aerobatic exhibition flying, including loops. Photos: author’s collection.


Harriet Quimby was an American photo-journalist living in New York City during 1910 when she bartered with the Moisant Aviation School on Long Island to admit her to their first class of five students. With her was Matilde Moisant, the sister of the school’s owner. Together they took ground school and flight training until they soloed in the school’s 30hp Bleriot-type monoplane in 1911. Quimby earned license No. 37 and Moisant earned license No. 44 from the Federation Internationale Aeronautique (FAI) of France. The Aero Club of America judged their tests, which made Quimby and Moisant the first and second licensed female pilots in the U.S. Exhibition flying teams (of which the most famous were formed by Glenn Curtiss, Alfred Moisant and the Wright brothers) traveled across the U.S., as well as Canada, Cuba and Mexico. However, most Americans


30 DOMmagazine.com | mar 2018


had not seen an aeroplane until well-publicized international air meets were held between 1910 and 1912 in California, Illinois and New York. Fliers were paid large fees and Quimby became the first professional female exhibition pilot just weeks after earning her license. She flew within sight of spectators, wearing a flashy purple satin flying costume, and gained the admiration of her fellow aviators. Many male fliers competed for increased compensation and fame, inventing steep dives, loops and tight turns performed in their wood and fabric monoplanes and biplanes. Quimby wasn’t impressed. In 1911 she penned these comments published in Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly:


“My conclusion is that flying is


stripped of its danger or greatest peril whenever the aviator realizes that he is engaged in serious business and that he must carefully consider


In 1916, Captain H. Barber of the Royal Flying Corp published “The Aeroplane Speaks” with detailed instructions on operating different types of aeroplanes and illustrating some of the common maneuvers faced by pilots. Quoting Barber: Above Leſt: “Looping and Upside-Down Flying. If a loop is desired, it is best to throttle the engine down at point A. The C.G. being forward of the C.P., then causes the aeroplane to nose down, and assists the pilot in making a reasonably small loop along the course C and in securing a quick recovery.” Above Right: ‘Nose Dive Spin. “Every pilot of an aeroplane fitted with a rotary engine should … remember to (1) make right-hand spirals in the case of a “pusher,” (2) make leſt-hand spirals in the case of a “tractor.” The sensible pilot will not go beyond reasonable limits of steepness and radius when executing spiral descents.”


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