Tag Archives: Wright Model B

14 July 1911

Harry Nelson Atwood, 1914. (Bain News Service, Library of Congress)
Harry Nelson Atwood, 1914. (Bain News Service, Library of Congress)

14 July 1911: Three months after learning to fly at the Wright Flying School, Huffman Prairie, Ohio, Harry Nelson Atwood flew from Boston to Washington, D.C., a distance of 576 miles (927 kilometers) over 14 days, and completed the final leg from College Park, Maryland, by landing his Wright Model B airplane on the South Lawn of the White House. President William Howard Taft and his secretary, Charles Dewey Hilles (former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury), were watching from the south portico.

President Taft presented Atwood with a gold medal from the Aero Club of Washington. Atwood’s mother was also present at the ceremony.

Harry Atwood and his Wright Model B over the White House lawn, 14 July 1911. (Smithsonian Institution)
Harry Atwood and his Wright Model B over the White House south lawn, 14 July 1911. (Smithsonian Institution)

Atwood’s airplane was a Wright Model B, which he had named Moth. The Wright Model B was a two-place, single-engine biplane. The elevator was at the rear, rather than in canard position as had been the earlier Wright airplanes. (This configuration was known as “headless.”) Roll control was through the Wright Brother’s patented wing-warping system. It was 26 feet (7.925 meters) long with a wingspan of 39 feet (11.887 meters). It weighed 800 pounds (363 kilograms) empty and had a gross weight of 1,250 pounds (567 kilograms).

The Model B was powered by a single water-cooled, fuel-injected, 240.528 cubic-inch-displacement (3.942 liter) Wright vertical overhead-valve inline four-cylinder gasoline engine with 2 valves per cylinder and a compression ratio of 4.165:1. It produced 32 horsepower at 1,310 r.p.m. During three years of production (1908–1911) Wright “4-40” engines were built that operated from 1,325 to 1,500 r.p.m. Power output ranged from 28 to 40 horsepower. These engines weighed from 160 to 180 pounds (72.6–81.6 kilograms).

Two 8½ foot (2.591 meters) diameter, two-bladed, counter-rotating propellers, driven by a chain drive, are mounted behind the wings in pusher configuration. They turned 445 r.p.m.

The Wright Model B had a maximum speed of approximately 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour) and its range was 110 miles (177 kilometers).

Approximately 100 Model B aeroplanes were built by the Wrights and under license by Burgess from 1910 to 1914. Three are known to exist.

A reproduction of a Wright Model B
A reproduction of a Wright Model B

Harry Nelson Atwood was born in the family home at Roxbury, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, 15 November 1883. He was the first of two children of Samuel Shurtleff Atwood, a coal dealer, and Florence Nelson Atwood, of Nantucket.

Harry Atwood attended the Massachussetts Instititute of Technology at Cambridge, Massachussetts, from 1903 to 1908, where he studied electrical engineering and was a member of the Phi Beta Epsilon (ΦΒΕ) fraternity.

He married his first wife, Sarah Matilda Jenkins at Lynn, Mass, 7 February 1906. They would have two children, but divorced after several years. On 2 March 1914, Atwood married Ruth Satherwaite at Reading, Pennsylvania. After Ruth Atwood died in 1920, he married her sister-in-law, Helen Louise Kestner Sattherwaite, widow of Ruth’s brother, 16 June 1922. They were soon divorced, and in May 1923, Helen Kestner Atwood traveled to Europe as a Red Cross social worker. Atwood next married Mary E. Dalton, who died soon after their son was born. Atwood’s fifth wife was Nellie Dow. They had a daughter, and remained together until Atwood’s death.

Atwood remained in the aviation industry as an inventor and research scientist. He died at District Memorial Hospital, Valleytown Township, Andrews, North Carolina, 14 July 1967, 56 years to the day after his landing on the White House lawn. Harry Nelson Atwood was buried at the Hanging Dog Baptist Church Cemetery, Murphy, North Carolina.

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

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7 June 1912

 Captain Charles deForest Chandler mans a prototype Lewis machine gun with Lieutenant Roy C. Kirtland at the controls of a Wright Model B, at College Park, MD. (U.S. Air Force)
Captain Charles deForest Chandler mans a prototype Lewis machine gun with Lieutenant Roy C. Kirtland at the controls of a Wright Model B, at College Park, MD. (U.S. Air Force)

7 June 1912: With Lieutenant Roy Carrington Kirtland flying a Wright Model B at College Park, Maryland, Captain Charles deForest Chandler was the first person to fire a machine gun mounted on an aircraft. The weapon was a prototype designed by Colonel Isaac N. Lewis.

The Lewis Gun was an air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed light machine gun, later produced in calibers .303 British, .30-06 Springfield and 7.92 Mauser by the Birmingham Small Arms Company, Ltd., and the Savage Arms Co. It could fire at a rate of 500–600 rounds per minute. The muzzle velocity was approximately 2,440 feet per second (744 meters per second) and the effective range was 880 yards (805 meters).

Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, was named in honor Colonel Roy Carrington Kirtland, who had retired in 1938 after 40 years of service. Recalled to active duty in 1941, Colonel Kirtland died at Moffet Field, California, 2 May 1941. He was buried at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California.

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

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21 April 1911

Lieutenant Henry H. Arnold with Wright Model B, Wright Flying School, Simms Station, Ohio, May 1911. (U.S. Air Force)
Lieutenant Henry H. Arnold with Wright Model B, Wright Flying School, Simms Station, Ohio, May 1911. (U.S. Air Force)

21 April 1911, Lieutenants Thomas DeWitt Milling and Henry H. Arnold, United States Army, received orders to proceed to the Wright Flying School at Simms Station, northeast of Dayton, Ohio, for flight training. This photograph shows him at the controls of a Wright Model B while at the school, May 1911.

After completing the training, Lt. Arnold received Fédération Aéronautique Internationale pilot certificate #29, and was appointed the U.S. Army’s Military Aviator #2.

1910 Wright Model B (Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company)
1910 Wright Model B (Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company)

“Hap” Arnold had a distinguished career in military aviation. During World War II, General Arnold commanded the United States Army Air Forces. On 21 December 1944, he was appointed General of the Army, one of ten U.S. Navy and U.S. Army officers promoted to 5-star rank, and the seventh in order of date of rank. In 1949, he was appointed General of the Air Force, the only individual to have held that rank.

General of the Air Force Henry H. Arnold. (1886–1950)
General of the Air Force Henry H. Arnold. (1886–1950)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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11 October 1910

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., President of the United States.
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 26th President of the United States.

11 October 1910: Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., was the first President of the United States of America to fly aboard an airplane.

At Kinloch Field, St. Louis, Missouri, (now, Lambert–St. Louis International Airport) Arch Hoxsey, a member of the Wright demonstration team, invited the former president (1901–1909) for a flight. Initially Roosevelt declined, but then accepted the offer to accompany Hoxsey aboard the Wright Model B.

President Theodore Roosevelt with Arch Hoxsey aboard a Wright Brothers airplane at St. Louis, Missouri, 11 October 1910.
President Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., with Archibald Hoxsey aboard a Wright Brothers airplane at Kinloch Field, St. Louis, Missouri, 11 October 1910. (Cole & Co.)

An article appearing in the New-York Tribune  the following day described the flight:

. . . The aeroplane sped quickly around the field at a height of less than one hundred feet. It made the first lap of a mile and a half before news percolated through the crowd that Mr. Roosevelt was Hoxsey’s passenger. When he swept past the grandstand he leaned forward a bit and waved his hands. The spectators seemed frightened and remained silent, watching the aeroplane intently.

Nearly a Mile a Minute

The flying machine sped by and made the turn for the second lap. Hoxsey could be seen to bend over and shout something into Mr. Roosevelt’s ear. The engine cracked regularly, hurling the aeroplane forward at a speed of nearly a mile a minute, but from the ground it looked as though it were travelling much slower because it sailed so evenly and smoothly. There was not a breath of wind, and the engine did not miss fire once.

At the end of the second lap, Hoxsey dipped his planes and the machine descended easily, striking the ground without a jar a few rods from the grandstand. The machine glided over the grass a short distance and stopped.

Mr. Roosevelt, smiling his most expansive smile, disembarked backward. He became entangles in the wires, but was soon out of them.

When the spectators saw that he had landed safely, they cheered wildly, and the guards had all they could do to keep the crowd from breaking into the field.

Mr. Roosevelt’s first act after alighting was to shake Hoxsey’s hand vigorously.

“It was great! First class! It was the finest experience I have ever had,” he declared. “I wish I could stay up for an hour, but I haven’t the time this afternoon.”

excerpted from the New-York Tribune, Vol. LXX, No. 23,341. Wednesday, 12 October 1910, Page 1, at Column 7, and Page 2, at Column 1

The event was captured on an early news film, which is in the collection of the Library of Congress.

http://www.airspacemag.com/video/Teddy-Roosevelt-Goes-Flying.html

Teddy Roosevelt served as President of the United States from 14 September 1901 to 4 March 1909, having assumed the office on the death of president McKinley. Prior to that, he had been the 25th Vice President, 4 March–14 September 1901, and the 33rd Governor of the State of New York. He had been appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by President McKinley in 1897. Colonel Roosevelt commanded the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, known as “The Rough Riders.”

The Wright Model B was a two-place, single-engine biplane. The elevator was at the rear, rather than in canard position as had been the earlier Wright airplanes. (This configuration was known as “headless.”) Roll control was through the Wright Brother’s patented wing-warping system. It was 26 feet (7.925 meters) long with a wingspan of 39 feet (11.887 meters). It weighed 800 pounds (363 kilograms) empty and had a gross weight of 1,250 pounds (567 kilograms).

The Model B was powered by a water-cooled, 240.5-cubic-inch-displacement (3.940 liter), Wright inline four-cylinder gasoline engine which produced 32 horsepower at 1,310 r.p.m. Two 8½ foot (2.591 meters) diameter, two-bladed, counter-rotating propellers, driven by a chain drive, are mounted behind the wings in pusher configuration. They turned 445–470 r.p.m.

1910 Wright Model B (Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company)
1910 Wright Model B (Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company)

The Wright Model B had a maximum speed of approximately 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour) and its range was 110 miles (177 kilometers).

Approximately 100 Model B aeroplanes were built by the Wrights and under license by Burgess from 1910 to 1914. Three are known to exist.

Arch Hoxsey was killed at Los Angeles, California, 31 December 1910, when his airplane crashed while he was trying to better his own altitude record of 11,474 feet (3,497.3 meters), set the previous day.

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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9 October 1912

Arnold and Milling at College Park, Maryland, 1912. (U.S. Air Force)
Lieutenants Arnold and Milling at College Park, Maryland, 1912. (U.S. Air Force)

9 October 1912: In October, Lieutenants Henry H. Arnold and Thomas DeWitt Milling, both assigned to the Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps, United States Army, were ordered to enter the competition for the first Mackay Trophy for “the most outstanding military flight of the year.” Milling withdrew because of illness shortly after the competition started.

Clarence Hungerford Mackay. (Brittanica)
Clarence Hungerford Mackay

“Hap” Arnold won when he flew a 40-horsepower Wright Model B biplane over a triangular course from College Park to Washington Barracks at Washington D.C., on to Fort Myers, Virginia, and back to College Park.

The Mackay Trophy was established on 27 January 1911 by Clarence Hungerford Mackay, who was then head of the Postal Telegraph-Cable Company and the Commercial Cable Company. Originally, aviators could compete for the trophy annually under rules made each year, or the War Department could award the trophy for the most meritorious flight of the year.

The Wright Model B was a two-place, single-engine biplane. The elevator was at the rear, rather than in canard position as had been the earlier Wright airplanes. (This configuration was known as “headless.”) Roll control was through the Wright Brother’s wing-warping system. The Model B was 26 feet (7.925 meters) long with a wingspan of 39 feet (11.887 meters). It had an empty weight of 800 pounds (363 kilograms) and a gross weight of 1,250 pounds (567 kilograms).

The Model B was powered by a water-cooled, fuel-injected, 240.53-cubic-inch-displacement (3.942 liter), Wright “4-40” inline four-cylinder overhead valve gasoline engine, which produced 32 horsepower at 1,310 r.p.m. The engine weighed 160 pounds (73 kilograms). Two 8½ foot (2.591 meters) diameter, two-bladed, counter-rotating propellers, driven by a chain drive, are mounted behind the wings in pusher configuration. They turned 445–470 r.p.m.

The Wright Model B had a maximum speed of approximately 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour) and its range was 110 miles (177 kilometers).

Approximately 100 Model B aeroplanes were built by the Wrights and under license by Burgess from 1910 to 1914. Three are known to exist.

Arnold won the Mackay Trophy again in 1934 when he commanded a flight of ten Martin B-10 bombers from Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., to Fairbanks, Alaska, and back.

Lieutenant Arnold went on to have a successful career in military aviation.

General of the Army Henry Harley Arnold, United States Army Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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