Whitehead with plane 21

Lordship Aviation

The story of aviation in Lordship has spanned over 100 years, even before the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903. The Lordship Bluffs became a regular stop on the barnstorming circuit. There were several accidents and interesting adventures in the time before the current airport was built in 1927.

Did Gustave Whitehead achieve the first motorized flight on August 14, 1901 in Lordship?

From Popular Aviation, January 1935: The mile and a half flight, made August 14, 1901, occurred at Lordship Manor, now a suburb of Bridgeport and took place somewhere in the vicinity of the site of the present Sikorsky airplane factory. It was on 14 August 1901 in the early morning hours, when a racy monoplane became airborne. At the controls was the German inventor and builder, Gustave A. Whitehead. Powered by his self-built motors, the flight with his "No. 21" (pictured above) carried him a half a mile, then alighted gently and undamaged. All this occurred two years, four months and three days prior to the flight of the Wright Brothers.Anton Pruckner, with whom Whitehead had made many flights, swore the following under oath: "I did witness and was present at the time of the 14 August 1901 flight. The flight was about a 1/2 mile in distance overall and about 50 feet or so in the air. The plane circled a little to one side and landed easily with no damage to it or the engine or the occupant who was Gustave Whitehead". Further Junius Harworth attested in a statutory declaration that "...I was present on the occasion when Mr. Whitehead succeeded in flying his machine, propelled by a motor at Lordship Manor, Connecticut...for about four minutes". During all this testing, Whitehead made more than one flight, unless his machine was damaged. Differences in witness reports are due to the fact, that on 14 August 1901 four flights were made. The airplane used in 1901 had been constructed by Mr. Whitehead in its entirety; both engine and plane were his own idea. It was a monoplane with a four-cylinder two-cycle motor located forward. Ignition was of the make and break type and Columbia dry batteries were used. The gas tank was gravity-fed and held two gallons of petrol. The body of the machine was constructed of pine, spruce, and bamboo, reinforced with Shelby steel tubing and piano wires. The wing coverings were of Japanese silk, varnished and fastened to the bamboo struts with white tape. The wings spread out behind th e two propellers, and were supported with wires running to a central mast. The entire thing weighed approximately 800 pounds. With Mr. Whitehead aboard the weight was increased to about 965 pounds.


Whitehead woodcut


Whitehead's shop


Gustave Whitehead Story 1935

For further information on Gustave Whitehead see the following links:

Lordship Air Field and those magnificent men and women in their flying machines

August 22, 1906: AIRSHIP TIED TO AUTO AT LORDHIP PARK: Resembling the winged auks of tradition, which according to the tales of the Arabian Nights were accustomed to swoop down upon vessels and carry away the marines, a queer aeroplane hovered and circled over Stratford Sunday. Flying a kite with forty horsepower Locomobile taking the place of the small boy on the other end of the string and a sand bag weighing 180 pounds supplanting the tail, was the novel sport that amused a score of the summer residents at Lordship Park. Stanley Beach of New York and Stratford, an enthusiast in aeronautics was the promoter of the undertaking with a view to gaining some statistics for use in the future. A. L. Riker, vice president of the Locomobile Company of America, seated in his touring car, manipulated the levers that controlled the motive power. Gustaf Weisskupt, also known as Gustaf Whitehead of 241 Pine Street, for years a designer of models of airships themselves, also took part in the activity. For several months past Mr. Beach has been devoting what time he can spare from his duties with the Scientific American, of which his father is the editor, to experiments with aeroplanes and extremely light but powerful engines. He has evolved an aeroplane built on radically different principles from others, built with a view to ultimately solving the problem of aerial navigation. It consists of a long trough from which is suspended a boat shaped car and from the sides of which extend two dirigible wings. Sunday at noon Mr. Beach left his home in Stratford in an automobile at the rear of which was his airship traveling upon a set of wheels fastened under the boat. He sped across the Meadows to Lordship where a score or more spectators gathered around his queer device. The ships cotton wings were spread, ballast piled into the boat and her prow was made fast, by means of a long rope to Rikers Locomobile. At a signal from Mr. Beach the car started and the aeroplane soared upward like a thing animated. The Locomobile attained a speed of twenty miles an hour and the novel craft maintained a splendid equilibrium. As the Locomobile slackened, the airship settled down to earth, dropping upon its wheels without mishap. The Locomobile again pulled away and the ship soared again, this time settling rather unsteadily and breaking a rib of its huge cotton sail. Repairs were made and experiments were resumed. Again the Locomobile tugged at the airship, but this time ballast was added by the presence of a human, a brother of inventor Whitehead. The total weight now resting upon the wheels supporting the airship was nearly 1,000 pounds. The Locomobile shot away but the airship ran a long distance over the golf links of Lordship before it finally took to the air. It rose a short distance then settled. The Locomobile tugged away and the airship creaking in its cords and wires suddenly experienced a dire accident. Its left wing unable to withstand the fearful strain imposed by the weight it carried and the force of beating back the atmosphere at a speed of twenty miles an hour, broke and doubled over on the airships back. A groan of sympathy went up from the spectators at sight of the accident to the life-like contrivance. Sweltering in the heat and exhausted by running after the Locomobile and airship, Beach and his assistants bandaged the wounded wing temporarily and hitching the airship on their automobile, returning to Stratford during the afternoon. Mr. Beach gained many valuable statistics by means of scales he had hooked on Rikers automobile which showed him the exact lift necessary to raise the machine from the ground. By means of a speedometer in the automobile and the scales, he learned just how much energy was needed to make the device fly. These he carefully noted with a view to someday accomplishing the dream of many an unsuccessful inventor, of soaring at will through the clouds.

April 21, 1910: BEACH ENGINE WILL NOT PULL: Stanley Beach, the inventor made two attempts to soar at Lordship Park yesterday afternoon. Each time the machine ran along the ground for 50 yards and stopped short without leaving the ground. Mr. Beach accredits his inability first to the soft ground into which the bicycle wheels of the machine sank and secondly he has some misgivings about the power of his engine. He tested the pulling power of the engine with a set of draw scales, hitching the machine to a pole with a rope and the scales between. The big propeller was set to whirling for several minutes. The greatest pulling power registered on the scales was 45 pounds. As the engine used to drive the fan like propeller is supposed to be 150 horsepower, Mr. Beach is inclined to believe that it should pull more than 45 pounds.

May 6, 1910: BEACH CONTEMPLATES FLIGHT ACROSS SOUND TO CAPTURE CASH PRIZE: Stanley Beach of Stratford, one of the editorial staff of the Scientific American, is trying out his flying machine at Lordship Park this afternoon, looking forward to a flight across Long Island Sound. Mr. Beach announced that he proposes as soon as he gets his machine completed and tested, to fly from Long Island to the north side of the Sound, landing after a diagonal course of 25 miles at Mamaroneck. This course has been laid out by Country Life which has offered a cash prize of $2,500 to the aviator who first accomplishes the flight. Mr. Beach proposes to introduce in his monoplane a new feature to insure stability, a gyroscope attachment.

May 14, 1910: BEACH FLIES AT LORDSHIP PARK: While half a hundred onlookers on the southern slop of Lordship Park cheered with enthusiasm. Stanley Beach succeeded in flying yesterday afternoon with his monoplane. The flight was not what Mr. Beach expected, but it demonstrated to his satisfaction that his device will prove a success, with further changes in the propelling mechanism. Mr. Beach has installed a 40 hp engine. This sent the propeller revolving at such speed that it pupped his wheel-mounted aeroplane over the fields at high speed. Several times the device left the earth, reaching a foot or two in height, but the uneven surface of the ground left the rear of the monoplane on the ground while the front ascended. With a better field, Mr. Beach believes his machine would make successful flights as it stands. But the trials of yesterday convinced him he needs a still more powerful engine.

JULY 12, 1910 - AERO EDITOR IN PERIL, Jumps From Monoplane as It Nears Edge of Cliff - Saves Himself as Aeroplane Goes Over Cliff to Wreck: Stanley Y. Beach, aeronautic editor of the Scientific American, hurled himself from his Bleriot monoplane as it sped along the ground over a 50 foot cliff skirting Long Island Sound in Lordship Park 5 miles east of here, this afternoon. Beach escaped with a few bruises, but his flying machine had to be carried home in pieces. Just before his mishap he had made a flight over the Lordship golf links. He planned to run the machine along the ground until he came near the cliff, then to speed and ascend. His plans miscarried owing to the uneven surface of the meadow. When it was too late to shut off the engine, he threw himself free of the machine just at the instant his aeroplane shot over the edge of a cliff. He went rolling along the edge of the steep descent, while his machine launched forth into space and was wrecked on the rocks fifty feet below. It all happened so quickly that for a moment the crowd at Lordship Park could not realize whether or not the aviator had been killed. A score rushed to his assistance, but were relieved to see Beach pick himself up none the worse except for minor cuts and bruises. Beach had planned to take a flight over Long Island Sound and chose Lordship Park owned by a fashionable summer colony for his starting place. A long smooth golf meadow leads to a fifty foot cliff at the edge of the Sound. Over this meadow Beach made several short trial flights this morning, preparatory to the main flight and found his machine in good working order. All indications pointed to success when the machine was placed in position this afternoon and the aviators assistants twirled the propeller and started the engine going. The aeroplane which is mounted on three wheels answered to the pull of the motor and stated at high speed in the direction of the cliffs. About half way to the brink, Mr. Beach planned to rise from the ground, but the machine struck a patch of rough ground and was slightly retarded. He pulled the lever but the machine refused to lift and only sped on the ground toward the precipice.


Stanley Beach at Lordship


Stanley Beach


Bleriot monoplane


Beach Aeroplane


Crash Lordship Point

Speeding the engine and pulling the lever with all his might the aviator made a last desperate attempt to get into the air. By that time he was on the very verge of the cliff. He hesitated only a moment then threw himself from his seat and the machine shot over the edge, twisted wildly like a wounded bird, turned over and over and crashed to the rocks fifty feet below. One of the spectators of the trial was Keeper Judson of the Stratford Lighthouse which is situated just off Lordship Park. Mr. Judson who is a friend of the aviator has watched the morning flights with enthusiasm and was waiting for the greater attempt which he knew was to follow in the afternoon. Through his field glasses he observed the start of the aeroplane. He saw it travel rapidly toward the precipice near the edge without rising and crash over the brink. He telephoned at once to Bridgeport for the automobile ambulance and the news quickly spread that aviator Beach had been killed. It was some time before this alarm was contradicted and the facts known. Beach declared that he was not discouraged but would build a new flier at once and continue his experiments. It is his great ambition to be the first aeroplanist to fly across Long Island Sound. Mr. Beach is the aeronautic editor of The Scientific American. He is a member of the Aero Club of America and has long been recognized as one of the most enthusiastic experimenters in the field of aerial navigation. His machine is unique, being the first car equipped with a gyroscope to keep it steady in the air. The gyroscope is attached directly below the engine and turns at a speed of from 2,700 to 3,000 revolutions a minute. It exerts a resisting force of 300 pounds a few feet out from the centre.

JULY 12, 1910: THIS AVIATORS ESCAPE NARROW: Gustave Whitehead, a local man had a narrow escape from serious injury today when he lost control of a monoplane in which he was attempting an ascent and the machine crashed into the side of a bridge, hurling him out and rendering him unconscious. He was removed to his home and on examination it was found he was suffering from bruises and the shaking up. The machine was ruined. Whitehead had started his machine on a narrow stretch of the Lordship Park road and had attained a high speed, but could not leave the ground. When nearing one of the several bridges on the road he lost control of the craft and it struck the bridge, throwing him out and crumpling up against the structure.

July 13, 1910: GUS WHITEHEAD PLANS FLIGHT DESPITE JAR: Gustave Whitehead the expert machinist who has attracted considerable attention by designing many airships, has forgotten all about the bad shaking up he and his assistant, Julius Horvath received yesterday near Lordship Park in his delight at the excellent showing of his engine. Using the propeller of his aeroplane for motive force he sped over the roadway leading from Stratford to Lordship Park yesterday at such a rate that the machine got beyond his control and crashed into a bridge. It will be several days before the plane is repaired and then Mr. Whitehead plans to attempt another flight.

September 2, 1910: BEACH AND WHITEHEAD RECONCILED: Burying the hatchet that has for more than a year been brandished with no little bitterness, Stanley Beach, aeronautic editor of the Scientific American and Gustave Whitehead, expert engine builder, have joined forces again and Whitehead has constructed an engine which Beach plans to install in a monoplane for the Harvard Boston Aero meet September 33 TO 13. Mr. Beach heads the Scientific Aeroplane Company of Stratford, a Connecticut corporation that has existed for several months. It is proposed to build machines for fairs and other amusement enterprises. The new motor Whitehead has just finished for Beach develops 30 hp and weighs only 130 pounds. It is a four cylinder, two cycle engine with distinctive features. Beach expects to be in competitions for the $5,000 prize offered for amateur aeronauts. Mr. Beach expects to attempt a flight at Lordship Park this afternoon.

October 6, 1910: BEACH WAITS FOR CALM TO TRY BLERIOT FLYER DIRECT FROM FRANCE: Experienced Aviator And Corps Of Mechanicians Gather At Lordship: Housed in a shed at Lordship Park waiting for the first favorable weather conditions to make a flight under the guidance of a veteran aviator is a brand new Bleriot monoplane, purchased in Paris by Stanley Beach, aeronautic editor of the Scientific American and son of the proprietor of that publication. It is not unlikely that the aviator, John G. Stratton will make an attempt at flight this afternoon. He tried out the engine this noon and found it to be running splendidly. The wings of the monoplane, however are slightly warped as the result of faulty packing in their shipment across the sea and the aviator who it must be said is more cautious than Mr. Beach would not consent to imperil the craft and himself in the face of a still 20 mile breeze sweeping the aviation field. Mr. Beach has secured this machine as a step in plans he has made for entering the field of aerial navigation on a broad basis. He expects to use the Bleriot in connection with two machines of his own that are built on similar lines of the monoplane type. Very likely he will find the Frenchmans craft of much aid in getting his own machines in flying trim. The Bleriot reached this country a week ago and was promptly shipped to Stratford. John Stratton who spent several years in France and worked with Bleriot during several of his notable aerial achievements was engaged by Mr. Beach to take charge of the assembling of the big device. For three days the machine has been in readiness for flight but the weather conditions were not regarded as favorable until this morning dawned without a breath of air stirring. Beach, Stratton and half a dozen mechaniciens hurried to Lordship Park from Stratford where Mr. Beach lives and soon ran the machine out of the old barn used as a storehouse for the machine. By 11:00 am they had the machine ready for flight. Frederick Beach, editor of the Scientific American and his family and several guests at his home in Stratford, motored to the pack and a number of the residents of the summer colony of Lordship also gathered about the machine. From the fact that the serial number of the machine is 169, can be gathered an idea of the proportions that the flying machine manufacture has assumed in France. The last serial numbers, said Mr. Beach are in the 300s. The Bleriot is constructed of a stout framework of wood with its monoplane, warped to resemble outstretched wings, fashioned from a skeleton of wood covered with oiled linen. The spread is 28 feet, considerably less than the monoplane that Mr. Beach succeeded in raising from the ground for short flights at Lordship several weeks ago. It is equipped with a 30 horsepower, three cylinder Angani engine. This is the product of an Italian engine builder, its three cylinders spread out in fanlike shape, the plane of the fan being at right angles to the direction of the machine that each cylinder may receive every possible advantage from the arrangements for their being air cooled. The propeller appears strikingly small in proportion to the machine. It stands in front of the plane with its two blades made out of reinforced wood, the blades wound with stout tape to prevent their splitting. The velocity is estimated at 1,500 revolutions per minute. Just before noon an attempt was made to start the motor. Instead of cranking the engine, as does an automobilist, the aeroplanist seizes his propeller and sets it in motion. With Stratton seated in the comfortably arranged chair above the path of the air current created by the propeller, a mechanicien seized the propeller while the spectators watched expectantly. Half a dozen bystanders seized upon the long tail like piece extending from the aeroplane at the end of which is situated the auxiliary plane and the rudder. They were supposed to keep the machine from darting forward and flying away before the aviator was ready. But their precaution was unnecessary. The motor did not mote. The three cylinders needed priming, they agreed. But how could they prime the cylinders when they had no cans suitable for that purpose available? They were stumped. At that point, the elder Beach and his family bade Stanley Beach a cheerful farewell and went home to eat. Somebody discovered a beer bottle hiding in Beachs Locomobile. It was up to somebody to drain it, so Mr. Stratton volunteered his services. Then the beer bottle was put into use to prime the cylinders and when the mechanician gave the propeller another twirl, it began to spin with the roar of a Gatling gun. But by this time there was a lively breeze, so strong that it seriously impeded the workmen as they began to wheel the machine upon its pneumatic tired tricycle support across the lot to a suitable location. When the machine was properly poised for the flight, it was after 1 pm and the wind was sweeping briskly up from the Sound over the rolling meadow. Then it was discovered that the warping device by which the stability of the machine in uncertain gusts is maintained was not in the best of working order. Stratton announced that he would not attempt to fly in the machine while the wind continued at such a rate, but he said if the breeze moderated before night he would try out the Bleriot. It is Mr. Beachs plan to get the machine in faultless working order and then to make contracts for exhibition flights. Yesterday morning another of the chapter of misfortunes that has haunted Beachs aerial endeavors befell him. He had prepared a monoplane, one of his own for shipment to the Danbury Fair tentative plans having been made for a race between a Curtiss bi-plane and a Beach monoplane. As the plane was being towed through Stratford Avenue, a Hammond Beef Company wagon collided with it smashing the propeller and putting it so badly out of the flying that it was promptly hauled back home. Mr. Beach hopes that profiting by his experience with the Bleriot he may complete his own monoplane with its novel stability insuring gyroscope device, his own invention and enter it in the international aviation contest at Belmont Park, October 22 to 29. This is likely to be the greatest event of its kind in world history. Prizes aggregating $80,000 have been offered.

November 27, 1910: BEACH HAS NEW ENGINE: Stanley Beach, the Stratford indoor or parlor aviator, has equipped his monoplane with a new motor and weather conditions permitting, will attempt a flight this morning at Lordship Park. The engine is of 100 horse power, four cylinder, double opposed and weighs but 100 pound. It has been placed in Mr. Beachs Bleriot monoplane which is like the one in which Drexel broke the altitude record last week.

September 6 1917: JOHN COOPER PERFECTING NEW AIRSHIP ENGINE: Builds hangar at Lordship in preparation for official tests: John D. Cooper, the Bridgeport aviator who taught the Russians much of what they knew of flying prior to the war, is completing work on an invention that may be of inestimable value in the formation of the America air fleet. Mr. Cooper has been experimenting with a new form of light engine and so successful have the early tests been that he will have it installed in a plane of his invention and give it a trial soon. A hangar for his machine has been built at Lordship Park, near the bluff. Government experts are expected to view the tests. The Bridgeport man is an inventor of a successful hydroaeroplane and also has contributed to the science of sub-destroying. He was the president of the Cooper Aircraft Company which recently was dissolved.

DECEMBER 3, 1918 - Stratford Folk See Army Plane Land in Midst Officers Drop at Lordship and Anchor for Football Game: The large aeroplane that landed at Lordship Park early Sunday afternoon remained in the open field all day and did not sail away until 2:30 this afternoon. Two officers from the aviation base at Minneola manned the machine, which flew about Stratford for some time Saturday afternoon before landing at Lordship. The machine had made a beautiful landing and the aviation officers made everything snug so that they could leave it and go to the football game at Newfield Park, Bridgeport yesterday, between a team from the Aviation field at Minneola and the Chain Company.

JUNE 30, 1919 - Army Aviators Make Forced Landing at Lordship Manor: Mistake Bathing Pavilion for Airplane Hangars on New Haven Field; Discover Error Too Late and Machine Crashes Into Tree - Say Marked Landing Places Should Be Provided Along New York and Boston Route. Their motor cutting out while, they were flying at a height of 7,000 feet above the waters of Long Island Sound, Lieutenant M. C. Hogue of San Francisco and Lieutenant Bud Brown of Mineola, L.I. made a forced landing at Lordship Manor, Stratford, late Saturday afternoon and spent Sunday overhauling their power plant before continuing their air journey to Boston. In gliding down from their high altitude over the water to a field on the shore close to Stratford lighthouse it was necessary for the pilots to choose quickly from the few landing fields within reach of the machine. As a result the men had the misfortune to collide with a tree at the edge of the field. The copper sheathing on one of the tips of the propeller was torn by the force of the collision with the tree, but prompt action on the part of Lieutenant Hogue prevented the ship from turning over and becoming wrecked. The two army flying lieutenants were on their way from Mineola to the landing field at Falmouth a short distance from Boston, when they were forced down at Stratford by their motor trouble. Flying a Curtiss JN-4 training machine with a winged Pegasus painted on the fuselage, they crossed the Sound high in the air at a point near Stratford. Maintaining an altitude of close to a mile and a half they sailed up the Sound and as their motor appeared to be running faultlessly they took the more direct route over the water in passing up the coast. The map which they were using to fly by was a small scale affair and the result was that they mistook Bridgeport for New Haven as they skirted along the coast. When their motor began to miss they decided to make a landing at a field which they had been told was near New Haven. Circling down in a wide sweep from the sky they headed for what they took to be the aeroplane hangars on the New Haven field but what proved to be the bathing pavilion at Lordship manor. The machine was down to within a few hundred feet of the ground when Lieutenant Hogue discovered that what looked at first like a good landing field was in reality no landing field at all. He pulled back on his "joystick," stretching his glide so that he was able to circle in over the high bluff west of the lighthouse and land in the open field at that point. Collision with the tree came as the machine rolled across the field to a stop. Inspection of the motor by the lieutenants showed that their motor failure was due to faulty adjustment of the float in then carburetor. Once discovered this fault was quickly remedied and yesterday morning Lieutenant Hogue decided to try out the machine before continuing on the long trip to Boston. The field in which the machine had landed being a comparatively small one, it was necessary to "take off" in a running "jump" off the Lordship cliff out over the Sound. This the army flier successfully accomplished, repeating the testing out trips in several flight's yesterday afternoon. A large crowd of summer cottagers from Lordship Manor and many Stratford residents watched the flier in his interesting stunts yesterday afternoon after he had gotten his machine into perfect running order. Several were given rides by the flier. While Lieutenant Hogue was completing the adjustment of the motor, Lieutenant Brown returned by rail to Ridgewood, N. J., for the purpose of obtaining a second machine with a fresh supply of gasoline and oil. It was planned to continue the trip to Boston, in the two machines, Lieutenant Hogue piloting one of them and Lieutenant Brown the other.


Hogues crash 1919


JN-4 in a tree


Curtiss JN-4 Jenny


Pilots 1920


1920 Cinot Special


1920 Flying ad


Hindenberg over Lordship

JUNE 30, 1919 - LOCAL WOMAN IN AERIAL THRILLER: Miss Ruth Calhoun Goes Through Immelmann Turn 1,000 Feet in Air. Hanging on her back 900 feet in the air for one breathless moment yesterday afternoon, Miss Ruth Calhoun, 21 year-old Lordship Manor girl achieved the honor of being the first local girl to fly through an Immelmann turn in an army aeroplane. As a passenger in the Curtiss J-N-4 training plane which made a forced landing on the Wilkenda Land Company's property at Lordship Manor Saturday she went aloft with Lieutenant W. C. Hogue, expert army pilot of San Francisco and Minneola and at her own request was treated to some of the thrills which few persons aside from army fliers have yet experienced. Securely strapped by the safety belt into the rear cockpit of the plane Miss Calhoun pulled a pair of goggles over her eyes, waved a greeting to her friends surrounding the machine and laughed gaily to the assembled crowd as the aeroplane, like a giant bird, sped away across the meadow under the guiding hand of Lieut. Hogue seated in the forward cockpit. Out toward the water rolled the big machine and just as it came within a few feet of the edge of the bluff which at this point makes a sheer drop of about 60 feet to the waters of the Sound, the plane rose beautifully into the air and circled out over the water toward Stratford Point light. Higher and higher circled the ship until it was almost impossible for the persons on the ground to make out the figures of the pilot and his fair passenger. An altitude of close to a thousand feet was reached in a few minutes by the army pilot and then the ship was soon to nose earthward, hurtle down for a short distance in the direction of the field and then curve upward in a wide arc, turning completely over onto its back as the pilot kicked it in an Immelmann and then whipped it over into its normal position to glide out of the stunt headed in the direction from which it had come. The crowd gave a gasp as the ship flicked into the Immelmann and then thrilled with admiration as the figure of Miss Calhoun was discerned in the rear cockpit. She was waving a reassuring greeting to members of her family and other friends on the ground. After circling the field a couple of time Lieut. Hogue nosed the ship down in a great long dive, leveled off over the heads of the crowd, and made a pretty three-point landing in the center of the field. Swinging the ship around he taxied back to the point from which he had started, cut his motor and assisted Miss Calhoun in alighting from the machine. "Oh! that was wonderful," were her first words, as with radiant face she turned to the flier. "I can understand now why you aviators must love the flying game." Miss Calhoun, who is employed in the office of the Raybestos Company in this city, although having the honor of being the first girl to experience the thrills of an Immelmann, was not the only person to be given a real stunt rule by the army lieutenant at the Wilkenda Company's field yesterday afternoon. Finding his machine behaving excellently after the carburetor had been adjusted following his forced landing with Lieut. Brown at Stratford Saturday, Lieut. Hogue offered to repay the hospitality shown him by Lordship Manor residents by taking some of them up for joy rides. Miss Florence Foley, employed at the Aetna Life Insurance Company's office in this city, formerly an employee of the Post Publishing Company, was another girl to be given a thrilling ride through the clouds over Lordship. Lieut. Hogue was entertained at dinner by Vincent Foley, Miss Foley's brother, yesterday afternoon and meeting Miss Foley at that time agreed to take her for a sky ride. She proved no less courageous than Miss Calhoun, Lieut. Hogue giving her a real thrill by coming down to the field in a spinning nose dive from a height of about 750 feet, leveling off slightly under a hundred feet above the ground. C. Johnson of Shelton, Conn., Mrs. D. Dillon, Mrs. Smith of this city and several other persons were taken up for rides by Lieut. Hogue while he was waiting at Lordship for the return of his flying partner, Lieut. Brown, who had gone to Ridgewood, N.J. to obtain another machine following a forced landing in the army plane Saturday due to motor trouble. Lieut. Hogue was a guest at the Calhoun residence Saturday following his forced landing here en route to Boston, Mass, and was entertained by the Foley family and other Lordship Manor people during his sojourn here. Before resuming his journey up the coast the lieutenant stated "that he expects to fly at Nantasket Beach on July 4th putting on an exhibition of stunts learned during his service as an army pilot.

July 1, 1919: COAT CATCHES TWO IN PERIL IN AEROPLANE: Ascending three quarters of a mile into the air to find that he could not bring his plane to a level because the coat of a girl passenger had caught in the gear, was the experience of Lieutenant George Brown of Brighton Beach, NY at Lordship yesterday. Lt. Brown went up for a trial flight with Miss Elsie Wheeler of Academy Hill, Stratford as a passenger. He had gone up 600 feet when he found that he was unable to deflect the rudders to bring the plane to a level. At an altitude of nearly 4,000 feet, Lt. Brown after frantic tugging and pulling at the controls, found that Miss Wheelers long coat had become entangled in the gears. The aeroplane landed safely. Had not the coat been torn from the gears at the time, the result would have been disastrous says Lt. Brown.


JULY 1, 1919 - BROWNS AIRPLANE CRASHES 40 FEET; AVIATOR ESCAPES: Ground Gives Way, As Flier Alights At Lordship Manor Machine Lands on Back on Sand - LOOPS LOOP FOR CROWD - Aviator Alighting after Doing Stunts Over Stratford Light Ran Too Near Bluff, Machine Wrecked. Crashing over the edge of a 40-foot bluff at Lordship Manor shortly before four o'clock yesterday afternoon a Curtiss JN-4 aeroplane piloted by Lieutenant George Brown, of Brighton Beach, New York, was wrecked on the beach below. This machine turned completely over in its fall, landing on its back on the sand a few feet distant from the water's edge, Lieutenant Brown's safety belt, with which he was fastened in the rear cockpit of the machine, held secure, saving him from being hurled out of the machine on his head with possibly fatal results. The machine which shot over the edge of the cliff was the same one which was used by Lieutenant C. Hogue of San Francisco to take up a number of Bridgeport and Stratford people for joy rides at the Lordship Manor field Sunday afternoon, following a forced landing by Lieutenant Hogue and Lieutenant Brown at the field Saturday afternoon. Although a casual glance, at the machine lying on the beach seemed to show it had not been badly injured in the fall, Mechanic Jack Clark, of New York, who has charge of the work of repairing the craft, stated that it will be necessary to replace two wings, the rudder and the propeller before it will be possible to fly the machine again. Lieutenant Brown last evening telegraphed to New York for new wings, new propeller, and new rudder and when these have been installed on the machine, he, with Mechanic Clark as passenger, will resume the flight to Boston. Lieutenant Brown's crash came just as he was about to leave Stratford for Boston where he, with Lieutenant Hogue are to give an exhibition of stunt flying July Fourth. Lieutenant Hogue had just left for Boston and expected to greet Lieutenant Brown in that city tomorrow. A number of people were at the field yesterday, morning and afternoon anxious to obtain a ride in the army airplane. Lieutenant Hogue took up a number of people before leaving for Massachusetts and Lieutenant Brown also spent the morning and early afternoon taking up passengers for short rides in the air. "Well, I'll have to be starting on my way if I expect to reach Boston by tomorrow." Brown finally remarked. "I just take her along once to see how she's turning up and if the motor is hitting all right we'll take off." Mechanic Clark jumped out of the machine and Brown took off out over the Sound, circling up over Stratford Light house, and when he had reached a height of about 1500 feet, executed a loop-the-loop for the amusement of the spectators on the ground. He "jazzed" around in the air for a few minutes and then spiraled down to the landing field. Leveling off at a distance of seven or eight feet from the ground, he settled into the grass for what appeared to be a perfect landing. The speed of the machine was so great as it touched the ground, however, that it rolled across the field toward the bluff. Spectators held their breath as the machine rolled toward the cliff and then gave sighs of relief as the pilot swung it around in wide circle to head back toward his starting point. The machine had approached too close to the edge of the bluff, however, and as it swung- around, the bank gave way beneath, the weight of the ship. Down to the beach, plunged the ship. Bystanders rushed to the place where the machine had disappeared expecting to see the flier lying crushed and mangled beneath the wreckage of the airplane. They saw the machine lying on its back on the beach below, but Lieutenant Brown upside down with care, was in the act of unbuckling his safety belt to clamber out of the cockpit and survey the extent of the damage which had been done.

APRIL 20, 1920 - Parachute Jumper Lands in Sound after 2,000 Foot Drop From a Speeding Aeroplane: Hurling himself from a moving aeroplane at a height of 2',000 feet, "Daredevil Jack' Murphy made a sensational drop at Lordship Manor yesterday afternoon which landed him in the waters of Long Island Sound. Fully clothed he cast off his rope harness just as he struck the water and swam to the rocky shore a short distance away. There was not a boat within two miles of the spot where Murphy struck the water after his thrilling drop through space, and but for the fact he is a strong swimmer he would undoubted have drowned. A miscalculation of the velocity of the wind which was blowing in from the Sound resulted in Murphy landing in the water instead of on the field where hundreds of people had gathered to watch him. Murphys feat, was staged in conjunction with Pilot Mark C. Hogue of Portland, Oregon. Never before had Murphy attempted a drop from such a fast moving plane as the one used in the feat yesterday. Last summer and fall he made 54 successful drops from a comparatively slow-moving Curtiss J-N 4 machine, making his get-away from the machine when it was moving at not more than 65 or 70 miles an hour. There was some doubt as to whether he could jump from the speedier machine without running foul of the tail and tailskid as he leaped off into space. A Telegram reporter reached the rocky shore of Lordship Manor just as Murphy crawled dripping from the water. The water is fine was Murphy's first remark as he clambered out upon the rocks, dragging his parachute behind him. "I'm thankful I hit the water instead of these rocks," he said, 'so I'd probably be sporting a broken ankle or a few cracked ribs. That wind wasn't blowing as strongly as we thought it was or I would have landed up on the field. Well, it's me for the hotel and a dry suit of clothes." While willing assistants helped Murphy to climb up the aide of the forty -foot bluff at the edge of the field, others dragged his parachute up for him. He jumped into a waiting automobile and came into Bridgeport to secure his dry garments. Pilot Hogue in telling how the feat was accomplished said that, when he figured he was far enough out over the Sound for the wind to waft Murphy back to the field, he gave a signal to the parachute jumper. Murphy climbed out of the front cock-pit onto the right wing of the machine. Just as Murphy crouched on the wing, one hand wrapped around the rope of the parachute, Hogue side-slipped toward the left. This threw the aeroplane clear of Murphy's body as it shot into space. The weight of Murphy's body removed from the forward part of the plane as he leaped off, the tail of the machine dropped, the heavy wooden tail-skid whizzing by Murphys ear as the machine zoomed by at 100 miles an hour. If too strong a gale of wind is not blowing this afternoon Murphy intends to make another jump from the moving aeroplane at Lordship about 3 o'clock. He hopes today to Iand on the field instead of in the water.

MAY 1, 1920 - Jumps from Aeroplane And Lands in Tree "Dare-Devil Jack" Murphy Drops 5,000 Feet, from Speeding Plane-Rests in Tree Top, then Continues Descent to Ground without Further Mishap: Jumping from the Craig-Smith aeroplane at Lordship Manor from which he made his sensational drop into Long Island Sound Monday afternoon, "Dare-devil Jack" Murphy, parachute jumper, yesterday afternoon dropped from an altitude of about one mile, just missed the roof of one of the cottages at Lordship, and landed ingloriously but safely in a small tree near the house. The tree was damaged more than was Murphy or the parachute. Dare-devil Jack didn't roost in the tree but for a few seconds when he continued his trip to earth. It was Murphy's intention to try for a Iong distance record drop yesterday afternoon but as a high wind was blowing at an altitude of 5,000 feet, he decided to leap off at that height rather than run the risk of being carried by the wind into the waters of the Housatonic River, half a mile from the field where the plane went up. As it was the airman was carried a quarter of a mile beyond the Lordship Manor field as he came down in the parachute. In today's drop, Murphy will try to break the record for length of fall in a parachute from a moving aeroplane, weather conditions permitting, and Sunday or Monday will attempt to see how near the earth he can leave the machine with the parachute. He hopes to establish a record of several miles in the high jump and 200 feet in the low jump. A former army air service pilot, now employed as a reporter on The Telegram, accompanied Hogue on one of his trips over the business section of the city and snapped photographs of the Remington Arms Plant, Locomobile Company, Bridgeport harbor, Seaside Park and other points of interest.


Craig Smith Plane


Craig Smith Plane Crash


Craig Smith Plane Crash

MAY 8, 1920 - Two Passengers in Airplane Get Thrill in First Flight As Lordship Airplane Goes Dead: Lieutenant Dean C. Smith compelled to make forced landing yesterday afternoon, and in "nosing down," machine dives into mud flats, wrecking it, but occupants escape with shaking up. They wanted a thrill and they got it. They were two lighthearted youths who had never been aloft in an aeroplane. Journeying out to Lordship manor yesterday afternoon they took passage with Lieutenant Dean C. Smith in the three-passenger machine which Smith and his fellow pilot, Lieutenant Mark C. Hogue, have been flying over Bridgeport for, the past two weeks. Everything went lovely until Smith's motor "went dead" on him as he was about to guide down to the field at Lordship manor. He saw that with a "dead" motor he could not make the regular landing field, so he "nosed her down" for the next best field. To a person who has never before been aloft the sensation which hits one's stomach the first time an aeroplane noses down for a forced landing is anything but pleasant. It is the thrill which comes to steamship passengers who are crossing the Atlantic in stormy weather for the first time. A seasoned flier thinks nothing of the swift dive toward the earth but to persons who are up for the first time the drop earthward causes their faces to turn green, but not with envy. The two passengers got a thrill as they sailed heavenward for the first time; the thrill was doubled when the motor "cut out" and Pilot Smith dived for the nearest field and the thrill was increased a hundred-fold as the machine "nosed up" on landing. A muddy field which gripped the wheels of the machine, was responsible for forcing the plane up upon its nose. The propeller, landing gear, and one wing were damaged, but the three occupants of the machine were unhurt. After pinching themselves to make sure they were still alive, the two passengers gingerly unbuckled their safety belts and climbed out of the cockpit. Wanly they smiled upon Pilot Smith as they tried to convince him that the thrill they had received was not disagreeable. The smile didn't carry conviction. Frankly, the youths looked unwell as they hurried away. They did not want to give their names to anybody. They were through aviating for the day. "Nosing over" is a daily and sometimes hourly pastime on any government flying field, particularly after a rain. Cadets and pilots think nothing of it, but to a person who "noses up" on his first trip aloft, it's "the thrill that comes once in a lifetime."

AUGUST 23, 1927 - PLANE TURNS OVER ON STRATFORD FIELD: An airplane piloted by Lieutenant Wright, pilot for the Conklin Aeroplane Company, "nosed over" on the Lordship flying field Sunday afternoon, breaking its propeller but not otherwise being seriously damaged. The pilot and his passengers crawled out of the plane uninjured. Lieutenant Wright who is a graduate of the same flying school as Colonel Lindbergh, is rated as an excellent flyer and has had no mishaps in the air. He had just made a perfect landing on the field Sunday and was "taxing" back to the starting point at one end of the field when the wheels of the aeroplane sank in a rut in the field, causing the tail of the plane to go up and the revolving propeller to bury itself in the soft earth. The occupants climbed out of the machine, willing hands pulled the tail back to earth, and the broken propeller was replaced with a new one.


Chance Vought V-173 crash lands on Russian Beach

JUNE 3,1943 - R. H. Burroughs makes forced landing of V-173 on Lordship: An engine vapor lock forced it to make an emergency landing on June 3, 1943, on Lordship Beach (Russian Beach) on Long Island Sound. Pilot Burroughs flipped it over on its back in soft sand trying to avoid running over a sunbather, whose towel was found underneath the upturned Pancake when it was righted. The aircraft broke two propeller blades in the mishap. Lindbergh and Zimmerman were watching when it disappeared from sight and rushed to the beach. Up to then Lindbergh had declined to fly the aircraft. "He was worried that if the aircraft turned over on its back the cockpit would be crushed and he would be trapped," Zimmerman recalled. "The aircraft did overturn, the canopy was not crushed. Burroughs exited through it after shoving some sand aside." Lindy then remarked to Zimmerman, "Now I'm ready to fly it." The airplane was towed back to the nearby plant and repaired. During its flying career, the Pancake was involved in several mishaps which were not too serious because of its light weight and slow speed. On one occasion it landed on Mill River golf course at Stratford. Being a secret project, the plane was placed under guard and towed back to the factory at night. Due to the unusual shape of the aircraft, there were many UFO sightings in the area during test flights. The project was cancelled by the Navy in March 1947 and the Navy approved the transfer of the V-173 to the Smithsonian. Although a light aircraft, the V-173's width of more than 30 feet almost filled a city street. A tractor towed it through Stratford and Bridgeport during the daytime and put it aboard a tugboat for transport to Norfolk. It took the tugboat two days and nights to make the short voyage in a snowstorm. Transfer to the Smithsonian storage yard came at a later date.

For further information on Chance Vought and the Flying Pancake see the following links:

The Flying Pyschic Hope Eden At Lordship Airfield

June 28, 1920 - Miss Hope Eden Defeats Lieut. Chadwick in Match Race Through Clouds. THOUSANDS SEE CONTEST Crowds at Lordship and Seaside Cheer Girl Flier and Male Opponent. DARE-DEVIL "STUNTS" Miss Eden Duplicates Hair-Raising Feats Performed by Army Man During Race: Miss Hope Eden, young aviatrix, came out victorious yesterday afternoon in the first aeroplane race ever held over Bridgeport, nosing out Lieutenant Stewart Chadwick by virtue of the fact that she had a speedier machine than Chadwick's Standard "Red Bird." Five thousand people saw the start and finish of the race at Lordship Manor landing field, and other thousands at Seaside park, Newfield park, the Brooklawn Country club, and other points over which the two speeding machine passed, witnessed the thrilling race through the clouds. When Lieutenant Chadwick saw that his machine was being outdistanced by the Curtiss JN-4 army plane which Miss Eden was piloting, he decided to give the crowds which were watching the race some real thrills on the side. Nosing down his ship he pulled, back his stick and went into a loop-the-loop. Not to be outdone, Miss Eden also looped. Over the Brooklawn club Chadwick made a regular army about face, throwing his ship into an Immelmann instead of making an easy turn to head back toward Lordship. His ship was headed for Lordship in less time than it takes to tell and it looked for a moment as though he was going to outwit the young woman. She, however, executed a similar maneuver and in a second was abreast of Chadwick's ship, and a few minutes later was again ahead of him. Over Newfield Park the two machines dived down toward the ball field, thrilling the big crowd of fans at the Bridgeport-Springfield game. Miss Eden was leading Lieutenant Chadwick when the ships passed over Newfield, so she looped for the benefit of the fans and did some trick turns and tight spirals for the crowd. Seeing that Chadwick was catching up with her again she headed straight for Lordship, arriving over the field 50 yards ahead of the "Red Bird." The two machines were at an altitude of 3,000 feet when they arrived over the landing field, so both Miss Eden and Chadwick decided to put on a free show for the big crowd before landing. Almost simultaneously the two aeroplanes went into loops and followed the loops with Immelmanns and other evolutions. Chadwick then kicked his ship into a tailspin, staying in the spin while the machine dropped from 3,000 feet to 800 feet. At 800 feet he throttled down his motor and glided into the field in a perfect landing. When Miss Eden saw that Chadwick had landed she glided down in a long sweep from the clouds and dropped into the field on almost the same spot where Chadwick had landed a few moments before. As the two machines taxied up to the edge of the field, motion picture operators filmed the fliers. Motion pictures of the aeroplane race taken at different points along the course, together with motion pictures showing the recent delivery of Evening Posts by hydroplane, are to be shown at Poll's theatre this week where Miss Eden is appearing in a mind-reading act. Manager Matt Saunders was in the big crowd which was at Lordship Manor when Miss Eden arrived in her plane from Mineola, Long Island, promptly at two o'clock yesterday afternoon. Lieutenant Paul Collins, a former army flier, accompanied Miss Eden on her trip from Mineola to Lordship prior to the race here. The 40-mile jump across the Sound was made in 29 minutes. Jeff Davis, "King of the Hoboes," was the first person to greet Miss Eden as she landed at Lordship field. He immediately designated the young woman "Queen of the Air," stating that her flying excelled that of any other woman aviator he had ever seen. Miss Eden took quite a fancy to Davis' pet monkey which he takes with him on his hobo trips and promised to take the monkey up for a ride through the clouds some day this week. In Lieutenant Chadwick's machine during the race over Bridgeport yesterday afternoon was his brother Carroll Chadwick. Accompanying Miss Eden was Lieutenant Collins. The crowd nearly mobbed the young woman as she stepped from her machine in its eagerness to congratulate her on the result of the race. Miss Eden, after posing for her picture for the benefit of the motion picture men, proceeded to the Stratfield with Lieut. Collins and other members of the party to be Manager Matt Saunders' guests at a luncheon.


The Flying Psychic


Hope Eden 1920


Hope Eden 1920


Hope Eden Lordship Movie