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Ready for Takeoff: 1912

Ready for Takeoff: 1912

College Park, Maryland, 1912. "Aviation, Army. College Park aviation field, 2nd season. Capt. F.B. Hennessy, Curtiss plane." Harris & Ewing. View full size.


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Aviator Falls 600 Feet and Still Lives

San Francisco Chronicle July 11, 1913

Aviator Falls 600 Feet and Still Lives -
Captain Hennessy Is Saved From Death by His Foot Catching in Wire Strut -

San Diego, July 10 - Falling 600 feet in a military biplane and saved from being crushed to death when his heel caught between a steering wire and a strut was the thrilling experience of Captain F.B. Hennessy, one of the daring military pilots attached to the first aero squadron at North Island yesterday, according to information which leaked out this morning. He had attained a high altitude, when his plane suddenly pitched forward and threw him out of his seat. His right foot became caught in the wires which control the ailerons. The plane immediately began to fall.

Captain Hennessy, however, succeeded in wrenching his foot free, regained his seat in spite of the dizzy plunge of the machine and righted it within 200 feet of the water. He said, it is reported, the machine drooped 600 feet before he regained control.

Shoulder Yoke

That thing by his shoulder was used to control the ailerons. Curtiss had developed this particular feature to avoid violating the Wright Brothers' patent on wing warping. The pilot leaned against it to keep the plane in level flight. Fascinating picture showing one of the alternate paths that airplane controls went down before becoming more standardized.

Frederick Hennessy

Washington Post, Sep 12, 1912

It was announced by Capt. Frederick Hennessy, who is in charge of the school at College Park and the barracks, during the absence of Capt. Chandler, that flying hereafter will be in the morning at College Park, and in the afternoon at the hydroplane school.

Washington Post, Oct 15, 1912

Capt. Frederick Hennessy, in charge of the hydroaeroplane school, together with Lieut. H.H. Arnold and Lieut. T. DeW. Milling, tomorrow will leave for Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley, Kans. At Fort Riley the officers will demonstrate the two type "C" aeros, which were shipped from College Park Saturday.

Two new aeroplanes are expected at College Park within a few days, coming from the Wright factory in Dayton, Ohio. They may be purchased by the government. William Kabitzke and Paul Conover, Wright aviators, will fly the machines.

Washington Post, Oct 16, 1912

Capt. Frederick Hennessy, with Lieut. H.H. Arnold and Lieut. DeW. Milling, will leave this morning for Fort Leavenworth, Kans., to inspect a new type of automobile. The officers will take the machine over the roads from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Riley, a distance of more than 200 miles. It differs from the regular cars in that it is driven simultaneously on all four wheels, fore and rear, and is reputed to possess much more power and stability than the ordinary car.

Washington Post, Nov 19, 1912

Capt C. deF. Chandler, commandant of the army aviation school at College Park, with several officers at the school, left Washington yesterday for winter headquarters at Augusta, Ga. Lieut. Harold Geiger, with several other officers of the hydroaeroplane school, will leave in about one week for San Diego, Cal., for the winter school at that place. Capt. Frederick Hennessy, of the hydroaeroplane school, will remain here throughout the winter in charge of the tests of the four Wright machines which William Kabitzke will make at College Park.

Washington Post, Feb 28, 1913

Orders were issued from the War Department last night which, for the first time in the history of the army, will mobilize a complete and fully equipped squadron of aeroplanes. Nine flying machines will be immediately dispatched to Galveston and held in readiness for complications in the Mexican situation. The station to be established there will be in charge of Capt. Charles de F. Chandler, commandant of the army aviation school.

Capt. Frederick Hennessy, who has been in charge of the aviation schools at College Park and the Washington barracks all winter, left last night for Galveston to select a site for the station. A land station and hydroaeroplane station are to be constructed, and it is understood that all the eight officers ordered to the mobilization will hold themselves in readiness for a rapid move to Vera Cruz in case the unexpected should happen.

State of the art components

Friction tape, bamboo struts, baling wire, adhesive tape, leather gauntlets, make-do leather football helmet and a steering wheel sans the inner tube ... still, the guy looks supremely confident. We owe a lot to these pioneers!

Dual purpose

"Captain Hennessy, I need that helment back by 3 o'clock for our last practice before the big game Saturday. Have a good flight."


Seems he's looking at the designer and asking: "This thing really flies, right?"

Captain Hennessy, a brave guy

and possibly a friend of football star Red Grange. That helmet looks a lot like the one used by "The Galloping Ghost."

What? me worry?

He looks just a tad anxious.

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