Saturday, February 25, 2023
Chuck Conners, from Detroit, Michigan, was a race car driver, and spent time in Helena Montana with a Chevrolet on an endurance run (Billings Gazette, July 16, 1929)
Hometown Hero of the day, is getting my standing ovation! Tony, from Cedarville, came to the mechanical rescue of my sister and brother in law, who had a very unexpexcted fuel line leak 6 hours away from home when traveling
the whereabouts and existance of the American Grand Prize and Fairmount trophy have been unknown for about 100 years.
Artists at Bailey, Banks & Biddle (the Tiffany's of its day and place) were said to have worked round the clock creating the three foot, thirty-pound ornate sterling trophy, crowned with a figure of William Penn.The Fairmount Park event was the first major race run strictly with only American vehicles, hosted in the birthplace of American Independence and won by a driver who weeks later would achieve hero-status — becoming the first American to win an international competition in an American automobile.
To celebrate my 54,000th post, I decided to have fun: There were very few steps from Thomas Jefferson to Eli Whitney to Cadillac's demonstration of perfect interchangeable parts, and it pivoted around American guns and the 2nd amendment, and Dewar whiskey
This was capped with awarding the Dewar Trophy to Cadillac... . Lord Dewar, of Scotch whiskey fame, endowed a Dewar Challenge Shield awarded in cycling -
and Ronald Reagan.
Friday, February 24, 2023
1st Corvette sold to the public has been verified, and it was there all along... the VIN was in a box in the back. Because it wasn't simple to figure out without the VIN, it was set aside for years
Amgwert, along with other founders of the National Corvette Restorers Society, had already tracked down VIN 003 and sent it to Lloyd Miller's shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a full restoration. That led another 1953 Corvette owner to send his car to Miller's shop about 20 years ago.
While emptying out the parts stuffed in the Corvette's trunk, he happened to look under one of the flaps on the bottom of one of the cardboard boxes and found a door jamb VIN plate with a serial number ending in 001.
John Miller flew the first commercially available autogyro cross-country from the Hudson River in NY to San Diego, CA
Miller was understandably surprised when, in early May, he read in the New York Times of Beech-Nut’s intent to sponsor Amelia Earhart’s transcontinental flight! Flying to the Pitcairn Willow Grove field, he quickly discovered that the company had inserted Beech-Nut’s order ahead of his and that he was now to receive C/n B-13 (NC10781). This was clearly an attempt by the company to facilitate Earhart’s flight as the Beech-Nut order had been placed after Miller’s, and he later claimed that "the mechanics and the test pilots leaked the information to me that the sales manager had decided that he would rather have Earhart make the first transcontinental flight for better publicity coverage."28 Miller knew that he was merely regarded as an "unknown professional pilot without such publicity as Beech-Nut could provide" and also learned from the Pitcairn company pilots that Earhart’s final check ride was being delayed until her aircraft could be finished. Miller also later claimed that he spoke with Earhart several times while at the Pitcairn factory and that "she told them that she was not interested in all the aerodynamics and short landing procedures" but "she just wanted to fly it across the continent and then fly around the country for a Beech-Nut advertising campaign."29 So Miller resorted to subterfuge in the face of the company manipulation and announced that "if Amelia wants to make the flight she is welcome to it" but that he had to be in Omaha for the Air Races by May 17 or he would suffer a financial loss. He took a room at a local nearby tourist home and while waiting to take delivery of his Autogiro, received a check ride in the experimental PCA-1B, known as the "Black Maria" (X96N),30 by factory test pilot ‘Skip’ Lukens. Lukens took Miller on a single checkout ride, as he had previously done with Earhart, with five checkout practice landings – after that, Miller was given use of the Black Maria for practice during May 9 – 12, 1931 – he made 110 practice landings with a total of 5.5 hours of flying logged. This averaged out to flights of about 3 minutes along with practice in low cloud banks with the turn indicator. Finally, on May 14, 1931, he took delivery of his Autogiro, which he would name, presumably after the David Ingalls article31 in the March 31, 1931 issue of Fortune Magazine, the "Missing Link.". After five short test hops, Miller promptly left and headed west in PCA-2 NC10781.32
Miller was an experienced professional and aerobatic pilot and had gained extensive knowledge of the aerodynamics of the Autogiro from conversations with pilots Jim Ray, Skip Lukens, Jim Faulkner, and Pitcairn chief engineer Agnew Larsen. He would need all of his abilities for the trip west. While the normal cruising speed of the "Missing Link" was 100 mph, Miller flew at 90 mph to conserve fuel and break in the new engine. The Wright R-975-E, 330 hp, air-cooled radial engine consumed 18 gallons/hour, so Miller could only fly for three hours at which point he would only have 15 minutes of flying time on his fuel reserve. Navigation was by magnetic compass, following landmarks such as rivers or roads, and the pilot hoped that when a landing had to be made, there would be an airfield where the Rand McNally road maps showed one – it was not always the case. Miller discovered this at the end of the second day, during which he flew from Harrisburg to Chicago. He had flown seven hops, 11.3 hours over a route he had never flown before, aiming to land at Maywood Air Mail Field – but that airfield had been abandoned, and its replacement, later known as Midway Airport, was not yet finished or marked on the maps. Miller arrived at the site of the older field after dark and, after a perfect landing, located the new field, to which he immediately flew as he would have to refuel before continuing on. He napped on a workbench and, after refueling, left for Omaha at first light. He hadn’t even eaten. He then flew an additional seven hops, 7.2 hours flying and, after arriving at the site of the Omaha Air Races, flew an additional two hours and made 14 demonstration flights after arrival.
Miller remained in Omaha from May 16th until the 19th, and then left for San Diego. Headwinds kept him from reaching Clovis, NM on May 26th so he landed en route and installed extra fuel tanks on the front seat during the night. The next day he reached the NM town but encountered strong headwinds on the way to El Paso, which consumed extra fuel forcing him to land 18 miles short of his destination to add fuel. On May 28th he began the last leg of the journey from Lordsburg, NM before first light and, after flying 4 hops for 8.9 hours, landed at North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA. The first Autogiro transcontinental flight had taken a total flying time of 43.8 hours and was without mechanical incident. The aircraft had performed flawlessly with the most difficult task for Miller seemingly to get used to the shadows of the blades passing over his head, and the severe sunburn he incurred.
AMERICA'S first commercial Autogiro, built by Pitcairn Aircraft, Inc., was flown to Detroit from Pitcairn Field at Willow Grove, Penna., on February 12 and delivered at that city to the Detroit News, its purchaser.
NC10780 was sold to George Palmer Putnam, husband of Amelia Earhart, of New York, NY in May 1931, he sold it to Beech-Nut Packing Company two months later, Earhart continued to fly it for company promotions, when they sponsored Earhart’s early flights
Among other products, the Beech-Nut company manufactured Beech-Nut chewing gum, which was supplied in bulk to Earhart for distribution to the crowds who gathered to witness her cross country landings. (Charter member of 99's) https://iwasm.omeka.net/items/show/1297
It was painted green (the cream panel remained), with “BEECH-NUT” painted large upon its flanks.