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McCurdy & Baldwin Canadian Aerodrome Co. Historical Facts Vs Historian Folklore

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P.B.A., I’m providing the header and short link, the below are just snippets, a timeline series on Canadian Aerodrome Company. For those requiring a comprehensive documented archive account of the day please fallow short link: —


Canadian Aerodrome Company, J.A.D. McCurdy & F.W. Baldwin’s Baddeck No. I & II, March – August, 1909. http://wp.me/p55eja-Hx

Notes by J.A.D. McCurdy and Frederick W. Baldwin, 19th May, Wednesday At Beinn Bhreagh. THE CANADIAN AERODROME COMPANIE’S NOTES.

May 18, 1909:—
The sheeting iron arrived yesterday morning and was made up into a box large enough to contain the moulds and quite a supply of slabs. Ingraham thought it would be a better scheme to utilize the oil stove to provide the heat for heating rather than build the box around the coal stove. This was done and it was found that the oil stove served admirably for heating the moulds to a sufficient temperature to allow the glue between the slabs when placed in the mould to thoroughly fill up the pores between the slabs before getting chilled; furthermore the heating of the moulds serves to dry the glue and so greater rapidity, in getting the curved slabs out, results. Another man has now been engaged, Willie McDonald, and he and Ruderham are at work on the Silver-Dart putting her in good and trim shape before shipment to Petawawa. We are building a new tuberlar truss for the support of the bow control on the Dart instead of the bamboo abortion used heretofore. The lumber for the crates has also been ordered and we hope to have the machine shipped by the end of the week. Last night we received a letter from Lord Strathcona, High Commissioner for Canada, from 17 Victoria St., London being a reply to our enquiry concerning the advisability of our sending a machine to Great Britain to compete for the prize of One Thousand Pounds offered by the 2 Daily Mail for a flight of one mile in the British Isles. He expresses the opinion that the scheme probably was of an advertising nature for the Daily Mail and enclosed in his note the rules governing all competitions under the auspices of the Daily Mail. From this we gather that the competitions will be conducted in a manner similar to that employed by the Scientific American in relation to their trophy. Yesterday we received the following telegram from Mr. Bell sent from the Cedric and dated New York, May 16, 1909.

Baldwin, McCurdy, Baddeck, N.S.

Glad to have you make any use of the Silver-Dart you choose in Canada. Good luck tom you. (Signed) Graham Bell.

Also received a telegram from the Kirkham Motor Co. of Bath, New York stating that the crank shaft had arrived and the engine would be ready any day. This as indeed very encouraging. (Int.) J.A.D. McC.

Notes by J.A.D. McCurdy, Thursday At Beinn Bhreagh. June 10, 1909:— The assembling of the truck is going on at first rate shape although slowly. The second batch of cloth arrived yesterday and Willie McDonald is at work sewing it up to make the fourth wing. We are only waiting now for the wire from A. C. Thompsons which he assures us will be here this week when the assembling of the machine proper will be started; after that it will be only a matter of a short while before she is all assembled. It has taken quite a while to get the different parts in shape for this new machine as there is a certain amount of experimental work to be done all along. But we can tell, however, from the materials required for this machine and from our time cards the time taken on each separate job, just how long we will be in constructing a second machine.

Received the following telegram yesterday from Montreal:— “Could supply flying-machine for Exhibition purposes at our races here July 9th and 10th. (Signed) G.A. McNainee, Secretary Automobile Club of Canada”.

To this I send the following reply:— “Could supply aerodrome to sell you under contract conditions for that date but we cannot ourselves fly her under exhibition auspices. (Signed) J.A.D. McCurdy.

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Notes by J.A.D. McCurdy, 1909, June 17 Thursday At Beinn Bhreagh. 16th June, 1909:— We started assembling the wings of the C.A.C. No. I to-day and in a very short time will have the two bottom wings assembled. The diagonal wiring in this plane through the trussed ribs comes very nicely. We have put in the ordinary Monot copper wire instead of waiting for our nickle plated wire which has been very much delayed in its preparation. assured by A.C. Thompson & Co. that it will arrive by Marion on Thursday. (Int.) J.A.D. McC.

EXTRACTS FROM BALDWIN‘S LETTERS: 4th August:—Work on Baddeck I is progressing very nicely indeed. The center section is pretty well up today, and the left wing. There is no question about it, that the new one is a tremendous improvement over the Dart in construction and cleanness of design, and unless our curves are very bad indeed should carry a better load and be capable of making better speed than the Dart. Our idea has always been to have a little reserve power, and it would seem as if we were actually going to have it in this machine. Etc. F. W. B.



Canadian Aerodrome Company, F.W. Baldwin & J.A.D. McCurdy’s Baddeck I & II, Sept., 1909, Account. http://wp.me/p55eja-HN

Return of Baddeck No. I., Sept. 5:— Baddeck No.1, with engine, arrived at Baddeck, Friday (Sept. 3), and the engine was transferred by Gauldrie to the factory that afternoon. On Saturday morning (Sept.4), the Gauldrie towed the Get-Away to Baddeck, and the whole shipment was brought to Beinn Bhreagh. The shed at the Bentic Farm is almost finished, and will be ready for the reception of the machine (Baddeck No. II) by Thursday, Sept. 9. McC.

Completion of Baddeck No. II. Sept 11:— This day will mark the date of the successful finish of Baddeck No. II at the factory of the Canadian Aerodrome Co. All necessary preparations have been made to transport the aerodrome to the new testing grounds at the Beddick Farm on Monday Sept 13 if weather permits. I can feel assured that all the men who worked with us on the construction of Baddeck No. II, will join me in congratulating Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy, and in wishing all success to the Drome and her successors. (Int.) KI.

Glass-bottomed House-Boat Sept. 13:— We will put the finishing touches on the Ugly Duckling house-boat at once and get her ready to be towed to Big Baddeck for Dr. Bell’s use in camping out while the Canadian Aerodrome Company are carrying on operations there. (Int.) CCB

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Experiments with Baddeck No II., Sept 24:— Friday, Sept 17 was the first evening we took the machine out. In running the machine over the ground it was found that some of the wires had slackened up, and the machine was brought back to the shed to tighten these wires up. On the following day (Sept 18) the machine was again taken out, and as the previous day other wires were  found slack. All these wires have now been replaced with stronger ones. The machine runs very fast over the ground, but does not produce very much lift on account of small angle. Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy have therefore decided to give the machine a greater angle, in order that it might produce more lift, and thereby lessen the shock to the machine. The machine has been out every day since Friday (Sept 17), but no attempt has been made to put the machine into the air as some little thing each day had to be replaced and made stronger. (Int.) KI.

1909, Oct 8, CANADIAN AERODROME COMPANY, Sept 29:— Met Mr. McRae in town to-night, and he reports that Messrs. Baldwin and McCurdy expect to make a few short flights with Baddeck No.II at the Bentick Farm tomorrow afternoon. He also reports Mr. Bell reached the testing grounds about 7 o’clock. (Int.) CRC.

Work at Factory, Sept 29:— The men employed at the Canadian Aerodrome factory on Beinn Bhreagh are now putting together Baddeck No I, and are also making separate parts for Baddeck No. II, which might be used in case of accident. McC.

Sept 29:— Baldwin and McCurdy after spending a few hours at the factory this afternoon left for Big Baddeck. They expect to give Baddeck No.II a trial to-morrow. (Int.) CRC.



Canadian Aerodrome Company, J.A.D. McCurdy’s & F.W. Baldwin Baddeck I & II, Oct.,-Nov., 1909. http://wp.me/p55eja-HY

Oct. 13:— Experiments to-day were witnessed by A.G. Bell, F.W. Baldwin, Willie McDonald, Willie McRae (Big Farm), John McDermid, Miss Darling of Toronto and Mrs. F.W. Baldwin, Dan McRae and sister (Big Farm) and lady, McPherson Jr. of Baddeck. McC.

Oct. 13:— Started machine up river course. Did not feel like staying in air so I advanced throttle a little and away she went after travelling over about 250 yards of ground. Flew up to a height of about what I judged 20 feet and came past shed and houseboat. Circled by the river, crossed the meadow and, when heading for Nyanza, shut off and glided to ground, covering a distance of 792 yards (paced); time 42 seconds. This gives a speed of 39.6 miles per hour. Balance seemed good and controls worked well. Throttle was about ¾ ways open. (Int.) McC.

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Changes on Baddeck No. II Oct. 16:— In first trials of Baddeck No. II she seemed to be too heavy at the rear and so we moved the seat for the operator a foot forward. In trials with this arrangement the balance seemed better and the old tendency to shoot up at the instant of shutting off the power is rectified. These items, together with the elevating of the front edge of the skids, 3 changing the launching angle to about 6° instead of 4°, constitute about all the changes made in machine so far. About thirty flights have been made up to date. (Int.) McC.

McCurdy’s Account of Flight Oct. 21:— Made good flight early this morning. Just took preliminary jump down the usual course to be in good position for starting on longer flight. Ground was awfully soft, but machine left ground O.K. and first turn to left was negotiated with ease. I was surprised to find out that the machine would turn with a comparatively short radius. Flew along the river bank past Bentick’s and then across marshy part of meadow to starting course. Machine seemed so good that a second turn was attempted and was successfully negotiated. Casey kept the time and his watch showed 2.55. We reckoned the distance at about two miles, which gives a speed of 40 miles an hour. The descent at landing was made by shutting down the engine and machine touched ground about where she took the air first. The shoulder arm was discovered to be twisted and one sliding arm was loosened so we thought it best to have that repaired before attempting any further trials. We all drove into Baddeck to have this repair effected. (Int.) McC.



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Canadian Aerodrome Company McCurdy & Baldwin’s Baddeck No. I - II, Feb., 1910 Original Accounts. http://wp.me/p55eja-Io

Aeronautics — American Magazine of Aeronautics Vol. 6 No. 2 February 1910. Boston Man Buys Canadian Aeroplane:—
The Canadian Aerodrome Co. is now building a monoplane somewhat similar to Latham’s for Gardiner Greene Hubbard of Boston. It will be remembered that the Canadian Aerodrome Co. was formed by Messrs. F. W. Baldwin and J. A. D. McCurdy when the Aerial Experiment Association came to an end on March 31, last year. The company has built two machines, called the “Baddeck No. I” and “Baddeck No. II,” on the model of the previous machines of the A. E. A., with improvements, of course. A short time ago Mr. McCurdy was in the air for over 20 minutes in the “Baddeck No. II,” using a commercial automobile engine not built especially for aviation work, at their grounds in the Baddeck River Valley, about four miles from the town of Baddeck, Nova Scotia, where they have the use of a flat meadow. Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, whose home is at Beinn Bhreagh, near Baddeck, together with the Canadian Aerodrome Co., will, as soon as the Bras d’Or Lake freezes up, have quite an aviation meet of their own. There are no less than five machines to be tried out. One, the old “Cygnet II,” a “drome” of pure tetra-hedral construction: 2, a “drome” upon the Oionos model, in which the framework is of tetrahedral construction and horizontal surfaces as well as oblique are employed; 3 and 4, the two “aerodromes” of the Canadian Aerodrome Co., the “Baddeck I and II.”

Feb., 24:— Dr. Bell invited the Social Aero Club of Beinn Bhreagh to meet here last night as it was the anniversary of the first flight of a heavier-than-air flying-machine in Canada. Present — Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, Honoary President; Mr. W.E. Rudderham, Presedent; Mr. Charles C. Byrnes, Treasurer; Mr. J.A.D. McCurdy, Secretary pro-tem; Mr. M. McFarlane; Mr. Percy Manchester; Mr. John G. Davidson; Mr. Gardiner G. Hubbard; Mr. F.W. Baldwin; Mr. Karl Sparlings: Mr. J. McIver; Mr. John McLean. After the usual preliminaries the President said that the debate, which was to have taken place at the last meeting, had been postpone and would be on that night. The subject of the debate was — “Whether Canada should or should not build a navy in Canada.”

Feb., 24:— Douglas McCurdy proposes to try a flight in of aerodrome (airplane) Baddeck No. 2 tomorrow (Feb. 25) to test out the endurance of the engine with its new spark plugs.

C.A.C. First Flights of 1910 Flying Around Baddeck Bay, Nova Scotia Feb. 25th.

Feb. 25:— The drome (airplane) Baddeck No. 2 was taken out upon the ice on Baddeck Bay this morning. Mr. Baldwin is here and as I was not present during the tests, I will ask him to dictate an account of what happened. (Int.) A.G.B.

Mr. Douglas McCurdy has just come in and so I shall ask him to give his own independent account of what has been going on this morning before he reads Mr. Baldwin’s notes.  (Int.) A.G.B.

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Separating Historical Facts From Folklore:— Mainstream recycled online, historian/author accounts concerning C.A.C., are vague, erroneous and questionable, although at times they get it right, some examples as fallows:—

*The company was established by Frederick W. “Casey” Baldwin and J.A.D. McCurdy in 1909, with the financial backing of Alexander Graham Bell. The company was headquartered in Baddeck, Nova Scotia at the Kite House at Bell‘s Beinn Bhreagh estate. [1] Source: “Baddeck No. 1.” Riverview Rural High School. Retrieved: 12 May 2012.

Playing it safe, historians/authors, etc., popular narrative, claims C.A.C. H.Q., was located in Baddeck at Beinn Bhreagh estate; while going on a limb, Cape Breton Riverview Rural High School, retrieved: 12 May 2012, on Wiki claims, established at the “kite house.” The latter could be problematic, main source is a high school article, and Beinn Bhreagh estate is not located in or part of Baddeck, and that’s not debatable. It’s factual the “building formally known as the ‘kite house’ on the flying field at the Laboratory,” stored kites, suspended from the rafters with parts of Cygnet II re-modified, being constructed at Prof., Bell’s Laboratory. CAC first HQ was the ‘kite house,’ however only recorded by McCurdy on the 27th – 28th Aug., 1909, documents suggest CAC HQ was where ever the Boy’s were mainly located. Per say, the old houseboat; Bentick Farm, Big Baddeck; Petawawa Camp, in the latter at the ‘new’ houseboat with a glass bottom floor and sleeping/living quarters for Prof. Alec G. Bell.

*After construction, Baddeck No. 1 was disassembled and shipped to Petawawa, Ontario for tests by the Canadian Army. The Canadian Aerodrome Company had hopes to land a military contract. Baddeck No. 1 was assembled in Petawawa by 6 August 1909. The first flight of the Baddeck No. 1 successfully took place at Petawawa on 11 August 1909. A distance of 100 metres was achieved but engine problems resulted in curtailing further flights that day. On the next day, the second flight was short in duration and ended in a rough landing that damaged a wing and the landing gear. Military officials were not impressed and the Baddeck No. 1 was shipped back to Baddeck.[2] “Baddeck 1 / Le Baddeck 1.” Canadian Aeronautical Preservation Association Inc., 2009. Retrieved: 13 May 2012.

The CAPAI is off by one day lacking clarity, dismisses the Silver Dart, as for tests by the Canadian Army, not quite.

*Subsequently, the Baddeck No. 1 and Baddeck No. 2 were built by the Canadian Aerodrome Company, the newly formed company that Baldwin and McCurdy established in March 1909.[3] Molson and Taylor 1982, p. 22.

Unlike AEA, there are no records establishing a precise date, as for ending March, there’s no document, evidence supporting that narrative. By 2nd April all correspondence between Bell and the Government no mention Of the name. Requests from “two young Canadians, Baldwin and McCurdy, are going right ahead to manufacture at their own expense such an aerodrome as they think would be of use for army purposes, and that when completed and tested they propose to offer it to the Canadian Government.” The only records I’ve uncovered are by 19th May, the name Canadian Aerodrome Company is used in letters, notes, etc. “Mr. Bell suggested that two of the members of the A.E.A. — F.W. Baldwin J.A.D. McCurdy — should work together as a company and quietly build and produce a machine such as they would like to sell to the Canadian or British Government……. The name finally adopted was “The Canadian Aerodrome Company.”

*On 23 February 1910, with Baddeck No. 1 repaired, McCurdy made its first post-repair flight of 90 meters off the ice on Baddeck Bay. In March 1910, Baddeck No. 2 was flown over Baddeck Bay, with McCurdy at the controls[6] “The ‘Silver Dart’ Legacy: Alexander Graham Bell’s Flying Machines of the Future A Chronology.” Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site of Canada (Parks Canada).

It’s to be noted Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site of Canada (Parks Canada: With Madame Madeline Harvey seating in the pilots chair and Madame Valerie Mason as her co-pilot, are considered experts in Prof. Alec G. Bell’s life, etc., etc. I’ve already informed then on the inaccuracies concerning AEA & CAC accounts, perpetuated owing too secondary sourcing from historians/authors. There are no documents, recorders Baddeck No. I ever flew, considering a score of crashes which accrued with Baddeck No. II., as she flew in Feb., Mar., Apr., May., No. I., was scavenged for parts until her last flight at the Montreal Air Meet.

Feb., 24:— Douglas McCurdy proposes to try a flight in of aerodrome (airplane) Baddeck No. 2 tomorrow (Feb. 25) to test out the endurance of the engine with its new spark plugs.

C.A.C. First Flights of 1910 Flying Around Baddeck Bay, Nova Scotia Feb. 25th. Feb. 25:— The drome (airplane) Baddeck No. 2 was taken out upon the ice on Baddeck Bay this morning. Mr. Baldwin is here and as I was not present during the tests, I will ask him to dictate an account of what happened. (Int.) A.G.B.

*Shipped to Montreal in June 1910 to take part in the Montreal Air Meet, the Baddeck No. 1 was flown by McCurdy who crashed on 30 June 1910. Baddeck No. 1 was irreparably damaged, being replaced in flight testing by the Baddeck No. 2. With mostly McCurdy at the controls, Baddeck No. 2 had a total of 60 flights, 36 at Bentick Farm and 24 off the ice, with testing continuing into November 1910. Dolena MacKay MacLeod, age 23, flew as a passenger with Casey Baldwin on one of those flights over Bentick Farm, becoming the first female air passenger in Canada.[7] Skaarup 2009, p. 4.

It was Baddeck No. II., crated and railed to Montreal, crashed and seriously damaged shipped back to B.B. estate, Near Baddeck, without money, parts, and the Bell’s, Baldwin’s on a world tour, McCurdy signed a contract with Curtiss’ Flying Circus. While the total of flights provided by Skaarup 2009, p. 4, is problematic, considering you had starts, failed attempts, short-hops/flights and flights, is not supported with prime source documents. With tests continuing into November 1910, is erroneous, C.A.C. by June 1910 faded away over the horizon, and its members thousands of miles from Beinn Bhreagh estate, Near Baddeck.

Boston Evening Transcript Nov. 3, 1910. — TO LAUNCH PLANE FROM SHIP — Interesting Experiment to Be Tried on Saturday by McCurdy in a Curtiss Biplane — First Aeroplane Mail. — Washington, Nov. 3:— Official sanction was given today by the Government for the transmission of Unite State mails by aeroplane for the first time in history. Permission was granted by Postmaster General Hitchcock, for J.A.D. McCurdy to carry the United States mails in this manner from the out-going transatlantic liner Kaiserin Auguste Victoria to New York next Saturday, when that vessel is fifty miles at sea. The mail pouch which McCurdy will carry from the liner to the New York Post Office will contain letters from passengers of the steamship for transmission to various parts of the world. The only condition imposed by the postmaster general on this first sanctioned transmission by aeroplane of the United Sates mails is to be carried by aeroplane. In imposing this condition the Government is relieved of all responsibility in case the letters are lost while in transit from the steamship to the New York Post Office.

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Canadian Aerodrome Company Baldwin & McCurdy’s Baddeck No. II, Mar,- Jul., 1910 Accounts. http://wp.me/p55eja-Ix

Morning Flight of Baddeck No. 2: March 3rd., McCurdy’s Account:—
Sarah wakened me this morning at seven o’clock with the news that Ingraham had telephoned from the Lab., saying it was a good morning for the flight. Got own as quickly as I could; met John at about the graveyard with the sleigh where he turned round and took me to the Canadian Aerodrome Company………….On the tenth round, approaching the big she, my eyes caught Willie McDonald waving his left arm. I instantly knew, from a former arrangement, that his telegraphing meant that ten rounds had been completed..... After a rest of about ten minutes started off again completed a flight of sixteen minutes duration. Landed off the shed, not because anything was wrong, but just because T thought I would come down. Casey and Gariner took the time of machine over distance between Garruth’s wharf and Cresent Grove boathouse so that we could from some idea of the speed. What this was I haven’t yet heard. (Int.) McC.

Prof. Alec G. Bell, Mar. 3, Account:— About half past eight this morning a telephone message reached me from John McDonald saying that Douglas McCurdy had been up in the air for twenty minutes and asking whether he should come up for us. We asked him to come right away and Mrs. Bell, Mrs. Baldwin, Miss Mabel McCurdy and Drove down to the Lab. After passing the warehouse and stable we heard the distant whirr of the propeller of Baddeck No. 2 and, looking over the Bay, discovered the machine in the air near the other side. We stopped the horse on the brow of the Hill and watched the machine sweep across the Bay from the other side and pass us only a short distance away. The machine seemed to be about 50 feet in the air and was moving with great steadiness. McCurdy appeared to have it perfectly under control.

March 12th:— On the fallowing morning (Mar. 12th) got down to the shed about six o’clock when some of the men had already arrived. We ran the engine a few times & then started off for a trial flight. Had instructed John Mc Dermind to telephone the Point when he saw the machine flying – which he did- Casey Major Maunsell & Hubberd arrived at the finish of the second flight. The engine gave use trouble – We thought it might be mixture troubles & no disconnected the radiator & attached a have a meter to case while we ran motor at shed. She ran oil, giving no trouble at all so we attempted another flight. Motor stopped again & I thought the trouble lay in the fact that the overflow water from the radiator got on the magneto & shorted the circuited. We covered up the magneto but did not thoroughly dry it off – Motor stopped on the next trial. All the flights made now good & no damage sustained. Lt. Gov. Fraser witnessed the Flights & approved much pleasure. (Int.)  J.A.D. McC.

Aeronautics: The American Magazine of Aerial Locomotion Vol. 7 Montreal, June 28-July 5, 1910. — BY H. K. HITCHCOCK:— The “meet” was from one viewpoint, the scientific, eminently successful, and as a direct result an impetus to the interest in and study of aeronautics has been started in this great country. Financially the meet was a failure, the expenses running to some $40,000., but the flying was good—continuous every day of the meeting, all done by the Wright and Bleriot machines. J.A.D. McCurdy only got up once in the early morning and quite wrecked their Baddeck II in landing with the wind. McCurdy was unfortunate the whole week. He had trouble getting his machine on the grounds to begin with, and assembling was delayed by reason of no shelter. G.G. Hubbard, of Boston, was induced to come at a late date with his monoplane, built by the Canadian Aerodrome Co. of Baddeck, without an engine, which had to be sent for to Baddeck and it did not arrive until the last of the week………………………

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Canadian Aerodrome Company Sales Pitch Too Canada's Gov., Militia Council, &c., May 09—Apr., 1910. http://wp.me/p55eja-FK

A portion of Militia Council, MP’s, etc., favoured and were impressed by the memorable historic flight, 23rd Feb., and 24th, 1909 would do; “everything in its power to facilitate the work of experiments in aerial navigation”. While others remained implacably opposed, however, mainstream recycled accounts paints a different portrait: "The Canadian Army was unimpressed at the headway made by the group. The general impression of the time was that aircraft would never amount to much in actual warfare. Despite official scepticism, the Association was finally invited to the military base at Petawawa to demonstrate the aircraft." Its true Silver Dart’s second flight while attempting a landing, crashed on the 24th Feb., “The machine, however, struck her starboard wing on the ice, and spinning round smashed a few struts and chords. One wheel also was broken.” Considering the fiasco that fallowed; “we transferred the engine and propeller from the damaged Silver-Dart to Cygnet II…. Tried her on the ice just at dusk…. Three starts were made, but she did not rise into the air.” The celebrated Silver Dart achievements for the 23rd, overshadowed by the accident which fallowed on the 24th, considering Cygnet II three failed “starts,” a majority of Canadian M.P.’s &c., and Militia highbrows, “were unimpressed.”

Prof. Alec G. Bell:— When the Association finally dissolves the only way in which the members can obtain any substantial reward for their labors will be by the manufacture and sale of aerodromes embodying features produced by the Association. This means either that the Association must be converted into a manufacturing corporation, or that the Association will sell out its rights to some manufacturing company for a consideration in shares or cash.

DHH OH FWW 1964:— Although by August 1914 five and a half years had elapsed from the February day when J.A.D. McCurdy lifted the “Silver Dart” in flight over the frozen surface of the Bras d’Or Lake at Baddeck Bay, the outbreak of war found Canada without any organized military flying service. After that history-making flight the Militia Council had expressed its intention of doing “everything in its power to facilitate the work of experiments in aerial navigation”. As noted in Chapter I (above, p. 13: There was no air force; in 1909)…. in August 1909 members of the Militia Council witnessed a number of test flights at Petawawa. But in 1910 the Treasury Board rejected an application by the Department of Militia and Defence for a grant of $10,000 (a later request for $5,000 was also turned down) to assist McCurdy and his partner, F.W. Baldwin, “to pursue their studies” in aviation and also train selected army officers to fly. A recommendation to include funds for a similar purpose in the 1911-1912 estimates did not get past the Militia Council. Early in 1912, the Chief of the General Staff, expressing the opinion that a military organization which did “not keep pace with the latest scientific developments must be hopelessly left behind by organizations which are alive to that necessity”, sought authority for a start on a modest programme suggested by the War Office in answer to a Canadian request for advice. But the Minister would not approve of any such steps being taken, “neither towards training nor purchase of aeroplanes”.93 Government policy remained the same until war came: “No funds available”.

Baldwin and McCurdy to Militia Council Baddeck, N.S., May 14, 1909 Secretary Militia Council, Ottawa, Canada. Dear Sir:— Your letter No. H.Q. 6978.4 addressed to Dr. Bell has been referred to us by his Secretary. Dr. Bell is in Washington and sails for Europe on Saturday, May 15, where he will remain for a period of perhaps three weeks.........

Militia Council to Dr. Bell Ottawa, 14th July, 1909:— Dear Sir,— In reply to your letter of the 7th instant, intimating that Messrs. McCurdy and Baldwin would be very pleased if some arrangement could be made whereby they should give their services........ I may add, however, that, at the present moment, little can be arranged definitely, owing to the absence in England of Sir Frederick Borden, whose return is expected about the middle of October, next. Yours very truly, (Signed) —Fiset  D.M. Dr. A. Graham Bell, Beinn Bhreagh, near Baddeck, Nova Scotia.


For more on J.A.D. McCurdy post CAC until 1914 fallow short-link.

J.A.D. McCurdy Aviation Exploits Post Canadian Aerodrome Co., July – Dec., 1910. http://wp.me/p55eja-Ja

J.A.D. McCurdy Aviation Exploits Post Canadian Aerodrome Co., Feb., - June, 1911. http://wp.me/p55eja-Jn

J.A.D. McCurdy Aviation Exploits Post Canadian Aerodrome Co., July, 1911 - 1914. http://wp.me/p55eja-JF



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