Line up with the Speed Scout

Pioneer aviators in front of the Curtiss S-1 Speed Scout, 1916

Here's an all-star line up at Newport News, Virginia.  They're lined up in front of a Curtiss Baby Scout, or Speed Scout, depending on who's telling the story.  I'm sure they'll put ailerons on it before we get to see it flying, in a future post.

Here's a little blurb on each of these gents, except 'Hewitt', whom I came up empty on.

Bert Acosta: Flew across the Atlantic just three days after Lindberg's crossing along with Admiral Byrd, Bernt Balchen and George Otto Noville in the Fokker tri-motor, 'America'.  He was notorious for stunt flying and was fined numerous times.

Vic Vernon: Had his hand in aviation for many years.  An excellent page in his memory can be found here.

Victor Carlstrom:  Set a number of world records in Curtiss aircraft until he was killed in a horrible crash in 1917. I have a letter to Ivan from another aviator who was on the scene, which I'll publish later.  I also have photos of the wreck itself. Carlstrom Field was named in Victor's honor.

Captain Thomas Scott Baldwin: Was the first American to parachute from a balloon, and built a motorized balloon using a Curtiss motorcycle engine in 1900  Baldwin is credited by some as introducing Curtiss to aviation.  Captain Baldwin designed his own airplane in 1910 which was built by Glenn Curtiss.  In 1914 he designed and built the U.S. Navy's first dirigible, and during WWI he was appointed Chief of Balloon Inspection and Production.  He earned the rank of Major before his death in 1923.  He apparently was as gruff as he looks in almost every photo I have of him.

Steve Mac-Gordon: Died due to burns sustained at a crash at Newport News.  There are a number of photos in one of the scrapbooks of a burned aircraft which may have been Mac-Gordon's.  Steve was friends with Blair Thaw (brother of William Thaw of the Lafayette Escadrille), and distinguished himself in a flight with Blair in 1913.  They stunted under a series of bridges following a flight from Newport, RI to Staten Island, NY.

Theodore Macaulay: Was a test pilot for Glenn Curtiss from 1915-1916 and went on to become a civilian flying instructor for the U.S. Signal Corps at San Diego and Fort Worth.  He served in the Air Service and acheived the rank of Colonel.

Hewitt:  I found no references for this man.

Stewart Cogswell:  Was also a test pilot and instructor for Glenn Curtiss, first at Hammondsport, then at Newport News.  He taught General Billy Mitchell to fly at Newport News the same year my grandfather was here at the school.


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