Glenn Martin, who builds B-26 bombers, and flying boats, stood on the sidelines at Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale while a motor-less machine generating “two horsepower” slid into the skies.
The horsemen of Los Charros, association of hard-riding film, radio and ranch folk were pulling the glider up, a test proving that horses, galloping at 30 m.p.h. over ground where motorcar launching of sailplanes is unfeasible, can be put into useful operation.
Two held the long rope attached to the peapod cockpit of Hawley Bowlus’s sleek San Fernando-made sailplane. At the signal, they spurred like mad. And while Martin, North American Aviation Co. officials and air minded Hollywood cinema men watched, the noiseless craft soared to the length of its halter.
When the glider returned, Martin asked to be permitted to sit at its simple controls.
“Not much like your bombers, is it Mr. Martin?” asked Bowlus.
“Our ships–yours and mine–all have their place. Sailplaning is a grand sport that really teaches the theory of flight. With the clipped winged, heavily powered, heavily loaded military craft used today, knowledge of thermals and wind currents and the art of flying without engines comes in mighty handy in emergencies.”…
In 1939 soaring enthusiasts had 800 clubs throughout the United States