The Soggy end of #3

A Curtiss biplane being disassembled after landing in the water

Not much commentary on these two photos, except to say that judging by the smiles, nobody was seriously hurt.  Perhaps one of the men in the photo was the pilot?

Pilots pose with a wrecked Curtiss Jenny

In the above photo, I see the name Dolly Gray, which is pretty distinctive. I found references to a baseball player from early 1900s by that name, but no aviators.  I'm interested to learn more about Capt. Taylor as well, since he appears in many of Ivan's photos.

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  1. About Gray ['Dolly' Gray] there is at least one aviator with the name Gray and no mean one.

    George A. Gray is one of the veteran Wright pilots. He has 1,500 flights to his credit—and no accidents. He has flown at dozens of fairs, and has made several cross-country flights, the most notable being one of 244 miles soon after his graduation from the Wright school.

    Source: Aerial Age Weekly Volume 1 (1915) July 26, p. 449.

    Around that time (July 1915) he was flying with the New York National Guard.

    No proof, but it could be the 'Dolly' Gray.

  2. The book

    Vaughan, David Kirk. 1998. Flying for the air service: the Hughes brothers in World War I. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press. ISBN 9780879727628

    contains several references to Captain Taylor who was a flying instructor at Mineola. At page 72 it gives

    'Captain Taylor, who was in charge of our training in Mineola, fell about a week after I left. He was instantly killed. They say he fainted in the air and fell on the controls. The man with him was unable to bring the machine down on that account. This fellow is a sergeant and only has his jaw fractured.' [From a letter of Gerard Hughes dated 27 September 1917].

    The book is a publication of the letters of George Hughes - Flight Instructor at Wilbur Wright Field (Dayton Ohio) and Jerry Hughes - Flight Instructor at Chanute Field. It includes at first chapter on their training at Mioneola p.13-39. Book looks good and I will see if I can buy it for my collection.

    1. Fascinating! Vaughan's book credits Jerry's trainer as "Wil Wheaton", which was certainly Ivan, and I offer the following proof. Ivan notes in his log book that he became a "Junior Flying Instructor" on May 9th. A "Hughes" shows up as his fifth student on that day, and received 22 minutes instruction. On a few occasions, Ivan notes the name "Hughes - G.H." to differentiate the brothers.

      I believe I'll have to order this book as well. There's an incident regarding Merritt's death in this section on Mineola. I'm looking at a photo of Merritt here on my desk, standing with another young fellow.

  3. There is more on Captain Ralph L. Taylor and his fatal accident at Mineola in the Air Service Journal August 9, 1917 p. 152


    1. Thomas E. Pell was with Taylor in the plane according to that last article. "Pell" appears briefly as a student of Ivan's during July of 1917. He received just 5 minutes shy of 3 hours instruction, and doesn't show up again past July 12.