Take Off with Airmail:The Plane, The Pilot, The Flight<br />
August 17, 1859 – West Lafayette, Indiana<br />John Wise carries the “first” US mail through the air<br />
First Flights<br />Aviation craze! <br />Wright Brothers flight: 1903<br />They don’t carry mail  <br />
Possibly the “First” Airmail Flight(s)<br />Fred Wiseman carries mail on February 17-18, 1911. <br />On the same day in In...
The Wiseman-Cooke Plane<br />
The Wiseman-Cooke<br />Built in 1910, based on photos and written descriptions of three other planes—no blueprints.	<br />...
Constructing the Plane<br />Henri Farman <br />1907-1908<br />The Wiseman-Cooke’s construction was inspired by three other...
Design: Picking the Best Parts of Three Planes<br />Henri Farman <br />1907-1908<br />The Wiseman-Cooke included great ele...
Navigating the Plane<br />
Navigating the Plane: Parts of the Plane<br />These tabs are called ailerons. They balance the wing. <br />Elevator<br />S...
The Engine<br />The plane contained a 50-horsepower Hall-Scott V8 engine (less powerful than the engine in a modern motorc...
The Pilot<br />Fred Wiseman (1875-1961) <br />From Santa Rosa, CA <br />Worked in the bicycle and automobile businesses an...
1910: Builds the first plane in CA
1911: Constructs another plane and makes the first airmail flight
He soon decided that aviation was too dangerous, returned to racecars, and sold his plane to Weldon Cooke.</li></li></ul><...
The Flight – Day 1 <br />Wiseman took off from Petaluma at 12:30 p.m. on February 17. His crew followed on the ground.<br ...
The Flight – Day 2<br />The next morning he took off at 8 a.m., using the tarp as a runway, and flew most of the way to Sa...
Party Time!<br />When Wiseman flew over Cotati, a nearby community, firecrackers exploded in front of the offices of the S...
Seven Months Later: Earle Ovington’s Airmail Flight<br />The flight was from Nassau Boulevard to Mineola, Long Island (~10...
The Pilot<br />Born in Chicago, December 20,1879.<br />Dropped out of school at 16 to be a messenger for the Edison Electr...
The Plane<br />Plane was built in France by Bleriot in 1911. <br />The engine had 70 horsepower.<br />Monoplane outfitted ...
The Flight<br />INSERT OVINGTON OATH HERE!<br />Was appointed “First United States Aeroplane Mail Carrier” on September 23...
The Airmail<br />Ovington carried one bag of mail containing 640 letters and 1,280 postcards.<br />The mail was specially ...
What is it with 13?<br />Ovington decided that his lucky number would be 13.<br />“Ovie” had a mascot named “Treize” or th...
So Would You Want to Be in the Pilot’s Seat?<br />
Flight Videos<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHrxxyBPaY4<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efOTxTixPBk&feature=rela...
But was it REALLY the first airmail flight?<br />Even our curators don’t know!<br />What do you think?<br />
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100 Years of Airmail

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In this presentation, we share the story of the 100th anniversary of airmail. Note: draft version.

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  • Built in 1910 in San Francisco, based on photos and written descriptions of Wright, Curtiss, and Farnam airplanes—Wiseman and his friends had no access to blueprints! This is a very typical 1911 plane that combines elements of the Wright, Curtiss, and Farnam airplanes. All it’s designed to do is fly, and that’s exactly what it does.
  • It is constructed out of wood and fabric, with a new sort of aileron (flaps to control drag) of Wiseman’s own design on both the upper and lower wings 42 feet long, 32-foot wingspan, 670 poundsThe plane contained a 50-horsepower Hall-Scott V8 engine (less powerful than the engine in a modern motorcycle)The pilot’s seat, which had been taken from a tractor, was positioned in front of the motor and propeller, leaving only the steering wheel to separate the pilot from the open sky but providing greater comfort than the Wright plane, which forced the pilot to lie on his stomach
  • The WB controlled their plane by wing warping, changing the angle at which the wing meets the wind. The WC plane was controlled by tabs circled below called ailerons (“little wings” in French). The ailerons balance the wing. WC was controlled by the wheel in the pilot’s hands being pushed forward or backward. Harnesses around the pilot’s shoulders control the plane’s right and left balance; when the pilot leans, he can change the lateral balance of the plane. The elevator/canard in the front controls the pitch (nose up, nose down). The rudder in back controls the yaw (nose right, nose left).
  • Fred Wiseman (1875-1961) was a native of Santa Rosa who possessed a daredevil streak and a lifelong interest in transportation and technology. He worked in the bicycle and automobile businesses and became a professional racecar driver. In 1909, after attending the Wright Brothers’ homecoming celebration in Dayton, Ohio, Wiseman became obsessed by aviation. In 1910, with the help of his friends J.W. Peters and Ben Noonan, he built the first plane in California; he followed it up with his second plane, the Wiseman-Cooke, which at the time was known as the Wiseman-Peters. The following year, he conducted the first airmail flight in February and participated in a series of aviation exhibitions, but soon decided that aviation was too dangerous, returned to racecars, and sold his plane to Weldon Cooke.Weldon Bagster Cooke (1884-1914) was an engineer and aviator who purchased and renovated the Wiseman-Peters plane in 1912. He died during an exhibition flight, using a different plane, in 1914. Although Cooke is not connected to the first airmail flight, the plane bears his name as well because his renovations formed its current structure.
  • Fred Wiseman (1875-1961) was a native of Santa Rosa who possessed a daredevil streak and a lifelong interest in transportation and technology. He worked in the bicycle and automobile businesses and became a professional racecar driver. In 1909, after attending the Wright Brothers’ homecoming celebration in Dayton, Ohio, Wiseman became obsessed by aviation. In 1910, with the help of his friends J.W. Peters and Ben Noonan, he built the first plane in California; he followed it up with his second plane, the Wiseman-Cooke, which at the time was known as the Wiseman-Peters. The following year, he conducted the first airmail flight in February and participated in a series of aviation exhibitions, but soon decided that aviation was too dangerous, returned to racecars, and sold his plane to Weldon Cooke.Weldon Bagster Cooke (1884-1914) was an engineer and aviator who purchased and renovated the Wiseman-Peters plane in 1912. He died during an exhibition flight, using a different plane, in 1914. Although Cooke is not connected to the first airmail flight, the plane bears his name as well because his renovations formed its current structure.
  • Wiseman took off from Kenilworth Park in Petaluma at 12:30 p.m. on February 17, carrying his airmail load. His crew followed the path of his airplane on the ground.Engine trouble 4.5 miles into the flight forced Wiseman to make an emergency landing overnight in a muddy field near Denman Flat. While he was repairing his plane, a class of students from the nearby Cinnabar School came running to see it. Wiseman and his ground crew repaired the plane and slept with it under a tarp for the night.The next morning he took off at 8 a.m., using the tarp as a runway, and flew most of the way to Santa Rosa without trouble. Automobiles tracked his course and alerted the Santa Rosa mayor and newspaper of his progress by telephone. Along the way, Wiseman dropped a newspaper down to a woman working in her fields, who waved a dish towel at him to “scat.” Just outside of the Santa Rosa city limits, a wire on Wiseman’s plane broke and tangled in his propeller, forcing him to make another emergency landing. Although he never actually reached his destination, he was near to it, and a cheering crowd conveyed him and his mail the rest of the way to the town center. When Wiseman flew over Cotati, a nearby community, firecrackers exploded in front of the offices of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat to alert residents that his arrival was imminent, and then Santa Rosa began its huge celebration in honor of the unprecedented flight! Flying magazine wrote, “Santa Rosa declared a holiday. The tumult lasted for days. There were brass bands which played ‘The Conquering Hero Comes.’ There were banquets and speeches and awards and fireworks and exhibition flights.” Flight Statistics: top altitude: about 100 feet; top speed: about 70 miles per hour
  • Wiseman took off from Kenilworth Park in Petaluma at 12:30 p.m. on February 17, carrying his airmail load. His crew followed the path of his airplane on the ground.Engine trouble 4.5 miles into the flight forced Wiseman to make an emergency landing overnight in a muddy field near Denman Flat. While he was repairing his plane, a class of students from the nearby Cinnabar School came running to see it. Wiseman and his ground crew repaired the plane and slept with it under a tarp for the night.The next morning he took off at 8 a.m., using the tarp as a runway, and flew most of the way to Santa Rosa without trouble. Automobiles tracked his course and alerted the Santa Rosa mayor and newspaper of his progress by telephone. Along the way, Wiseman dropped a newspaper down to a woman working in her fields, who waved a dish towel at him to “scat.” Just outside of the Santa Rosa city limits, a wire on Wiseman’s plane broke and tangled in his propeller, forcing him to make another emergency landing. Although he never actually reached his destination, he was near to it, and a cheering crowd conveyed him and his mail the rest of the way to the town center. When Wiseman flew over Cotati, a nearby community, firecrackers exploded in front of the offices of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat to alert residents that his arrival was imminent, and then Santa Rosa began its huge celebration in honor of the unprecedented flight! Flying magazine wrote, “Santa Rosa declared a holiday. The tumult lasted for days. There were brass bands which played ‘The Conquering Hero Comes.’ There were banquets and speeches and awards and fireworks and exhibition flights.” Flight Statistics: top altitude: about 100 feet; top speed: about 70 miles per hour
  • Wiseman took off from Kenilworth Park in Petaluma at 12:30 p.m. on February 17, carrying his airmail load. His crew followed the path of his airplane on the ground.Engine trouble 4.5 miles into the flight forced Wiseman to make an emergency landing overnight in a muddy field near Denman Flat. While he was repairing his plane, a class of students from the nearby Cinnabar School came running to see it. Wiseman and his ground crew repaired the plane and slept with it under a tarp for the night.The next morning he took off at 8 a.m., using the tarp as a runway, and flew most of the way to Santa Rosa without trouble. Automobiles tracked his course and alerted the Santa Rosa mayor and newspaper of his progress by telephone. Along the way, Wiseman dropped a newspaper down to a woman working in her fields, who waved a dish towel at him to “scat.” Just outside of the Santa Rosa city limits, a wire on Wiseman’s plane broke and tangled in his propeller, forcing him to make another emergency landing. Although he never actually reached his destination, he was near to it, and a cheering crowd conveyed him and his mail the rest of the way to the town center. When Wiseman flew over Cotati, a nearby community, firecrackers exploded in front of the offices of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat to alert residents that his arrival was imminent, and then Santa Rosa began its huge celebration in honor of the unprecedented flight! Flying magazine wrote, “Santa Rosa declared a holiday. The tumult lasted for days. There were brass bands which played ‘The Conquering Hero Comes.’ There were banquets and speeches and awards and fireworks and exhibition flights.” Flight Statistics: top altitude: about 100 feet; top speed: about 70 miles per hour
  • Wiseman took off from Kenilworth Park in Petaluma at 12:30 p.m. on February 17, carrying his airmail load. His crew followed the path of his airplane on the ground.Engine trouble 4.5 miles into the flight forced Wiseman to make an emergency landing overnight in a muddy field near Denman Flat. While he was repairing his plane, a class of students from the nearby Cinnabar School came running to see it. Wiseman and his ground crew repaired the plane and slept with it under a tarp for the night.The next morning he took off at 8 a.m., using the tarp as a runway, and flew most of the way to Santa Rosa without trouble. Automobiles tracked his course and alerted the Santa Rosa mayor and newspaper of his progress by telephone. Along the way, Wiseman dropped a newspaper down to a woman working in her fields, who waved a dish towel at him to “scat.” Just outside of the Santa Rosa city limits, a wire on Wiseman’s plane broke and tangled in his propeller, forcing him to make another emergency landing. Although he never actually reached his destination, he was near to it, and a cheering crowd conveyed him and his mail the rest of the way to the town center. When Wiseman flew over Cotati, a nearby community, firecrackers exploded in front of the offices of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat to alert residents that his arrival was imminent, and then Santa Rosa began its huge celebration in honor of the unprecedented flight! Flying magazine wrote, “Santa Rosa declared a holiday. The tumult lasted for days. There were brass bands which played ‘The Conquering Hero Comes.’ There were banquets and speeches and awards and fireworks and exhibition flights.” Flight Statistics: top altitude: about 100 feet; top speed: about 70 miles per hour
  • Wiseman took off from Kenilworth Park in Petaluma at 12:30 p.m. on February 17, carrying his airmail load. His crew followed the path of his airplane on the ground.Engine trouble 4.5 miles into the flight forced Wiseman to make an emergency landing overnight in a muddy field near Denman Flat. While he was repairing his plane, a class of students from the nearby Cinnabar School came running to see it. Wiseman and his ground crew repaired the plane and slept with it under a tarp for the night.The next morning he took off at 8 a.m., using the tarp as a runway, and flew most of the way to Santa Rosa without trouble. Automobiles tracked his course and alerted the Santa Rosa mayor and newspaper of his progress by telephone. Along the way, Wiseman dropped a newspaper down to a woman working in her fields, who waved a dish towel at him to “scat.” Just outside of the Santa Rosa city limits, a wire on Wiseman’s plane broke and tangled in his propeller, forcing him to make another emergency landing. Although he never actually reached his destination, he was near to it, and a cheering crowd conveyed him and his mail the rest of the way to the town center. When Wiseman flew over Cotati, a nearby community, firecrackers exploded in front of the offices of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat to alert residents that his arrival was imminent, and then Santa Rosa began its huge celebration in honor of the unprecedented flight! Flying magazine wrote, “Santa Rosa declared a holiday. The tumult lasted for days. There were brass bands which played ‘The Conquering Hero Comes.’ There were banquets and speeches and awards and fireworks and exhibition flights.” Flight Statistics: top altitude: about 100 feet; top speed: about 70 miles per hour
  • Wiseman took off from Kenilworth Park in Petaluma at 12:30 p.m. on February 17, carrying his airmail load. His crew followed the path of his airplane on the ground.Engine trouble 4.5 miles into the flight forced Wiseman to make an emergency landing overnight in a muddy field near Denman Flat. While he was repairing his plane, a class of students from the nearby Cinnabar School came running to see it. Wiseman and his ground crew repaired the plane and slept with it under a tarp for the night.The next morning he took off at 8 a.m., using the tarp as a runway, and flew most of the way to Santa Rosa without trouble. Automobiles tracked his course and alerted the Santa Rosa mayor and newspaper of his progress by telephone. Along the way, Wiseman dropped a newspaper down to a woman working in her fields, who waved a dish towel at him to “scat.” Just outside of the Santa Rosa city limits, a wire on Wiseman’s plane broke and tangled in his propeller, forcing him to make another emergency landing. Although he never actually reached his destination, he was near to it, and a cheering crowd conveyed him and his mail the rest of the way to the town center. When Wiseman flew over Cotati, a nearby community, firecrackers exploded in front of the offices of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat to alert residents that his arrival was imminent, and then Santa Rosa began its huge celebration in honor of the unprecedented flight! Flying magazine wrote, “Santa Rosa declared a holiday. The tumult lasted for days. There were brass bands which played ‘The Conquering Hero Comes.’ There were banquets and speeches and awards and fireworks and exhibition flights.” Flight Statistics: top altitude: about 100 feet; top speed: about 70 miles per hour
  • 100 Years of Airmail

    1. 1. Take Off with Airmail:The Plane, The Pilot, The Flight<br />
    2. 2. August 17, 1859 – West Lafayette, Indiana<br />John Wise carries the “first” US mail through the air<br />
    3. 3. First Flights<br />Aviation craze! <br />Wright Brothers flight: 1903<br />They don’t carry mail <br />
    4. 4. Possibly the “First” Airmail Flight(s)<br />Fred Wiseman carries mail on February 17-18, 1911. <br />On the same day in India, a French pilot also flies airmail! <br />
    5. 5. The Wiseman-Cooke Plane<br />
    6. 6. The Wiseman-Cooke<br />Built in 1910, based on photos and written descriptions of three other planes—no blueprints. <br />42 feet long, 32-foot wingspan, 670 pounds<br />The pilot’s seat, which had been taken from a tractor, was positioned in front of the motor and propeller, leaving only the steering wheel to separate the pilot from the open sky but providing greater comfort than the Wright plane.<br />
    7. 7. Constructing the Plane<br />Henri Farman <br />1907-1908<br />The Wiseman-Cooke’s construction was inspired by three others.<br />The Wright Brothers<br />Dec. 17, 1903<br />Glenn Hammond Curtiss,<br />July 4, 1908<br />
    8. 8. Design: Picking the Best Parts of Three Planes<br />Henri Farman <br />1907-1908<br />The Wiseman-Cooke included great elements of three other planes<br />Nice elevator!<br />The Wright Brothers<br />Dec. 17, 1903<br />Glenn Hammond Curtiss,<br />July 4, 1908<br />But laying down is no fun!<br />Navigate by “wing warping!”<br />Two wings are stronger than one!<br />
    9. 9. Navigating the Plane<br />
    10. 10. Navigating the Plane: Parts of the Plane<br />These tabs are called ailerons. They balance the wing. <br />Elevator<br />Steering wheel and shoulder straps<br />Propeller<br />
    11. 11. The Engine<br />The plane contained a 50-horsepower Hall-Scott V8 engine (less powerful than the engine in a modern motorcycle)<br />
    12. 12. The Pilot<br />Fred Wiseman (1875-1961) <br />From Santa Rosa, CA <br />Worked in the bicycle and automobile businesses and became a professional racecar driver.<br /><ul><li>1909: Fred Attends the Wright Brothers’ homecoming in Dayton, OH
    13. 13. 1910: Builds the first plane in CA
    14. 14. 1911: Constructs another plane and makes the first airmail flight
    15. 15. He soon decided that aviation was too dangerous, returned to racecars, and sold his plane to Weldon Cooke.</li></li></ul><li>The Airmail<br />Wiseman carried a sack of coffee, copies of the Press-Democrat, and the three historic letters, all cancelled by Petaluma postmaster John E. Olmstead: <br />One written from Olmstead to Santa Rosa postmaster Hiram L. Tripp<br />Another from Petaluma mayor George P. McNear to Santa Rosa Mayor James Edwards<br />The third from McNear to John P. Overton, President of the Savings Bank of Santa Rosa.<br />A letter from one postmaster to another: <br />“Dear Sir and Friend, <br />Petaluma sends, via the air route, congratulations and felicitations upon the successful mastery of the air by a Sonoma County boy in an aeroairplane conceived by Sonoma County brains and erected by Sonoma County workmen. Speed the day when the U.S. Mail between our sister cities, of which this letter is the pioneer, may all leave by the air route with speed and safety.” <br />
    16. 16. The Flight – Day 1 <br />Wiseman took off from Petaluma at 12:30 p.m. on February 17. His crew followed on the ground.<br />Engine trouble forced an emergency landing overnight. Wiseman and his crew repaired the plane and slept with it under a tarp for the night.<br />Santa Rosa, CA<br />Drops a newspaper<br />Forced landing<br />Petaluma, CA<br />
    17. 17. The Flight – Day 2<br />The next morning he took off at 8 a.m., using the tarp as a runway, and flew most of the way to Santa Rosa without trouble. <br />Along the way, Wiseman dropped a newspaper down to a woman working in her fields, who waved a dish towel at him <br />Just outside of Santa Rosa, a wire on Wiseman’s plane broke and tangled in his propeller, forcing him to make another emergency landing. <br />A cheering crowd conveyed him and his mail the rest of the way to the town center. <br />
    18. 18. Party Time!<br />When Wiseman flew over Cotati, a nearby community, firecrackers exploded in front of the offices of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat to alert residents that his arrival was imminent. <br />Then Santa Rosa began its huge celebration in honor of the unprecedented flight! Flying magazine wrote, “Santa Rosa declared a holiday. The tumult lasted for days. There were brass bands which played ‘The Conquering Hero Comes.’ There were banquets and speeches and awards and fireworks and exhibition flights.” <br />
    19. 19. Seven Months Later: Earle Ovington’s Airmail Flight<br />The flight was from Nassau Boulevard to Mineola, Long Island (~10 miles) during an air meet in September 1911.<br />Ovington flew for the sake of aviation and the mail service and not for the honor. <br />After this flight, air mail started to become a new (and exciting) form of mail delivery.<br />
    20. 20. The Pilot<br />Born in Chicago, December 20,1879.<br />Dropped out of school at 16 to be a messenger for the Edison Electric Company.<br />Earle graduated from MIT in 1904.<br />Married Adelaide Alexander in 1907.<br />Died from cancer on July 21, 1936.<br />
    21. 21. The Plane<br />Plane was built in France by Bleriot in 1911. <br />The engine had 70 horsepower.<br />Monoplane outfitted by an inverse curve on the wing. This was revolutionary. <br />He fitted 6 steel straps beneath the wing (most had only four) in order to ensure stability and safety. <br />He fitted the Dragonfly with a speedometer and an inclinometer (level indicator). <br />
    22. 22. The Flight<br />INSERT OVINGTON OATH HERE!<br />Was appointed “First United States Aeroplane Mail Carrier” on September 23, 1911 by Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock. <br />The plane got up to 2000 feet in altitude.<br />Flying was difficult with a 75 pound mail bag on your lap.<br />
    23. 23. The Airmail<br />Ovington carried one bag of mail containing 640 letters and 1,280 postcards.<br />The mail was specially postmarked in front of Postmaster General Hitchcock at the air meet. <br />Participants could write to whoever throughout the country. <br />The postage was still 1 cent.<br />
    24. 24. What is it with 13?<br />Ovington decided that his lucky number would be 13.<br />“Ovie” had a mascot named “Treize” or thirteen in French. The mascot was a French gendarme.<br />
    25. 25. So Would You Want to Be in the Pilot’s Seat?<br />
    26. 26. Flight Videos<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHrxxyBPaY4<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efOTxTixPBk&feature=related<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k854UKAKL1w<br />Wise: http://postalmuseum.si.edu/museum/1d_Balloon_Jupiter.html<br />Wiseman-Cooke (that’s the one in the atrium; all info so far has been about it) <br />Pequet: http://postalmuseum.si.edu/museum/1d_india_air_mail.html and http://postalmuseumblog.si.edu/2011/01/india-and-the-worlds-first-official-air-mail-by-airplane.html<br />Ovington: http://arago.si.edu/index.asp?con=2&cmd=1&id=182842&img=1&mode=1&pg=1&tid=2040230<br />
    27. 27. But was it REALLY the first airmail flight?<br />Even our curators don’t know!<br />What do you think?<br />
    28. 28. But Was It REALLY the First?<br /><ul><li>Mr. Wiseflew on August 18, 1859 from Lafayette to Crawfordsville, Indiana. He carried 123 letters and 23 circulars in his balloon.
    29. 29. Mr. Pequetflew on February 18, 1911 from Allahabad to Naini, India carrying 6,000 pieces of mail. Philatelists (stamp collectors) consider this the first flight:
    30. 30. Mr. Ovingtonflew September 23, 1911 from Garden City to Mineola, New York. The Post Office Department considers this flight first as Ovington was sworn in as a postal worker. </li></ul>Wise: http://postalmuseum.si.edu/museum/1d_Balloon_Jupiter.html<br />Wiseman-Cooke (that’s the one in the atrium; all info so far has been about it) <br />Pequet: http://postalmuseum.si.edu/museum/1d_india_air_mail.html and http://postalmuseumblog.si.edu/2011/01/india-and-the-worlds-first-official-air-mail-by-airplane.html<br />Ovington: http://arago.si.edu/index.asp?con=2&cmd=1&id=182842&img=1&mode=1&pg=1&tid=2040230<br />

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