Faces at Mineola

There are a few names and faces in the scrapbook who turned out to be fairly famous at some point in aviation history. Some were famous already: Glen Curtis, Capt. Thomas Baldwin, Victor Carlstrom. Ivan was now a flight instructor and friends with many of aviation's earliest pioneers. He collected photos from other sources, as I've mentioned before, and in this scrapbook he has pasted far too many to reproduce here.  As usual, I'm just posting the ones which I find interesting or photographically appealing.

First up is Ralph Taylor.  Capt. Taylor shows up a lot in the scrapbooks as you've noticed if you've been reading along.  Taylor Field near Montgomery, Alabama was named in his honor.  If you're new, the star associated with his name means he passed away during Ivan's lifetime.  In Capt Taylor's case, Ivan was very likely at the accident scene.  Here, he poses for the camera perhaps weeks before his death.

Notice that some of the photos are inscribed with fountain pens and some with ball point pens in blue. Ivan maintained these scrapbooks nearly up to his death.

Joseph Carberry, a West Point graduate, would rise to the rank of Major, and lived into the early 1960s.

I'm posting these three airmen because I found their flight jackets interesting.  Unfortunately, Ivan did not include their names. (I'm not cetain this was taken at Mineola, either)

Next post, I'm going to be sharing more crash photos.


By Special Request... LWFs at Mineola

I've met some fascinating people during the course of writing this blog. There are many very knowledgeable folks who love auto racing and flying. I've even met some folks who actually own one of the cars listed in the Indy 500 photos!

So, when I received an email this week requesting to see some LWF models, I decided to just hunt them down and pull them out for a post. Here's a portion of the reader's request...
With great interest I searched your blog with photos from your grandfather. I would ask you for two questions. My name is (reader's name) and I am an aviation historian from Czech republic. I am very interesting about U.S. aircraft L.W.F. Model V which your grandfather maybe also flew.
These are actually photos that I may not have posted at all if not for the request since I don't think Ivan even flew one of these models. In fact I'm hoping the reader can inform me if these photos are the L.W.F. Model V. The request goes on to ask if there are any logbook entries, and since they are in storage right now, I'll postpone that until I can get them out.

In the last photo there are four of the LWFs at the near end of the line. After those four are J1 Standards, and at the far end are a group of JN4s. I doubt you'll be able to make those out from this photograph.  I think this photo was a lineup of planes preparing to take off for the funeral of Tex Milman.  Also, I made reference to a LWF in this post about a flyer taking up an "old" LWF, but after reading up a little on the plane, it appears this model was not an "old" plane at all.  The company got its start in 1915.

Last week I made reference to the large amount of personal photos of fellow flyers and instructors at Mineola. Next week I hope to post some of those names and faces.



Retaliation? Prank? Hazing? Help me out!

I'm in a section of photos in the scrapbook right now where I see a lot of really great portraits of flyers, and some photos of what life around the camp was like. My photographic eye wants to find photos that are interesting to me and hopefully to you as well. So, I'm trying to discover what will be interesting to post photographically, and hopefully develop a narrative that gives a little insight into those photos.

My eye caught these two photos in a corner of one page. They are in a different format (size) and they are on different paper, so someone gave them to Ivan to add to his collection. They are pretty poor quality, actually. And even though I'm having a very difficult time coming up with something interesting to write about this, these photos are just too interesting to pass up.

The poor sap on the receiving end of this... what? prank? hazing? looks to be completely subdued already. Two of the guys have on aprons, and one looks to have some pointed rod or something in his hand.  Ivan is looking over his shoulder at the camera. I don't recognize the faces in the photos as being any of the flyers from the rest of the scrapbooks.

In the first photo it's difficult to see the victim's face. Next we see him with some sort of prosthetic snout strapped on? It's obviously great fun for almost everyone in the photos.

What's your take on this? I'll publish any comments that are not profane or obscene if you're willing to make a guess as to what's going on here!



Lester Barlow and his bomb

Well, I took a little break from blogging, there.  But there is a lot more material to cover, and I'm back to covering it.

This post highlights Ivan's participation in an event he was very proud of, and one of the events I remember him recalling to me. He worked with Lester Barlow to perfect techniques of aerial bombing.  In the early 1960s Ivan was awarded a commendation for the work which covers an entire page in the scrapbook. Lester wrote Ivan later to let him know of his success in selling the plans to the government on letterhead from the Marlin Rockwell corporation.

Here are Ivan and Lester Barlow holding the test bomb.

It's very difficult to tell exactly the method of mounting, but it looks well engineered.  The history I found on Lester indicates that he was a talented mechanic, and had a background in automobiles.  Perhaps this common ground explains the nature of their pose in the photo above.  

I have yet to find any other photos of these early experiments, but I expect there are more to be found.  I doubt there are many of them showing the airplane taking off with the bomb attached, though!

Finally, the end product.  Obviously no munitions packed in the bomb.  Lester later wrote to Ivan... "No pin-wheels, no junk, just a great big streamline (sic) can in which the load is about 2/3 it's (sic) total weight... The big bomb you are familiar with, we are now making about 13,000 of."

Barlow's bomb never did see use in France.  There is an excellent article on Lester Barlow and his bombs here. The article does say that the bomb being tested here was well regarded, but points out that the contract for the bombs was cancelled by the American Expeditionary Forces.  Interestingly, Ivan served in France under that very command.

I've made a change to the blog.  I've added a link to my photographs on Etsy.com on the right.  Over the last three years, a number of readers have contacted me for photo prints.  There is a book on early racing that will feature many of Ivan's photographs which will be published this year.  I thought that it would make it much easier for folks to get copies of photos this way and hopefully help me defray some of the costs of producing the blog.  I hope you'll have a look and perhaps order a print or two.