Just something cool.
It appears to be a Wright Model B, here is a link to a neat site about Wright airplanes:
Thanks Herb. I bet railroad tracks would be a natural take off site, providing consistent grade and usually a clearing. Landing might be another story......
Wow - any relation Barry ???
In 1960 (I was 12) I got a paper route in San Jose, CA. One of the houses I delivered to was owned and occupied by a Mr. and Mrs. Fowler (I never knew their first names or initials). They were in their 80's at the time. I knew that they had some claim to fame in early aviation, but never found out exactly what. I wonder if R.G. Fowler is him.
I found this as a caption to a picture on-line. It seems that my Mr. Fowler was in fact R.G. Fowler, or at least there's reason to think so:
(PHOTO WOULD NOT COPY)
EARLY BIRDS AT FOWLERS, 1956
Collection of Walter Lees
Back, L to R: ?, ?, Robert G. Fowler, Ruth Law Oliver, Filip A. Bjorklund, ?, ?
Front, L to R: ?, Walter E. Lees, ?, Anthony Stadlman, ?
I found this picture in Walter's collection which only bore the cryptic identification, "Early Birds at Fowlers, San Jose, 19?? It was written in pen by Loa, Walter's wife. Inasmuch as Walter died on May 17, 1957, I suspect this photo might have been taken in 1956.
According to the Spring issue of the "CHIRP", the Official publication of the Early Birds, for June, 1957, the Third V.P. was Robert G. Fowler. Walter can be seen second from the left, kneeling.
My wife Jo thinks the man standing on the extreme left may be Forrest Wysong. If you can help with the identification, let us hear from you.
Thanks Henry. That is hard to believe that someone actually met the person in this picture! It is a small world isn't it?
( Made smaller by the airplane.)
I found a couple of pictures of R.G. Fowler in his later years and it is the fellow I remember. At the time I remember he and his wife he was in his middle late 70's and she was about 60, so I guess at age 12 they looked older to me.
For some of you who enjoy personal experiences with people of note here are a couple:
1. When I would arrive to collect for the paper once a month, either he or his wife would answer the door with the other close behind. They'd then get into an argument over who's turn it was to pay me. He would argue for a couple of minutes and tell her she's just trying to ruin his TV time. He wore a hearing aid that was about the size of a pack of cigarettes clipped to the front of his shirt with wires going up around his chin, one to each ear. Once he tired of the argument he would very deliberately reach up and turn the hearing aid off and walk away. She'd then have to pay me.
2. Mrs. Fowler, once it was established that she and not he would pay me, would pull out a roll of money with a $100 bill on the outside and ask me if I could change it. (I'm pretty sure the rest of the bills were $1 bills.) Of course I couldn't, so she'd tell me to come back later. After a few months of this routine I finally got smart. I waited until I had collected from all my other customers, then I went to the Fowler residence. We did the argument, the hearing aid routine, and then the $100 bill routine. This time I said yes, I can change it. The paper was $2.40 a month, so I counted out 97 one dollar bills, two quarters and a dime. She never did that to me again.
It is hard to believe that in 100 years a contraption like that had evolved into the modern Jet plane. I think nothing of flying from one city to another or one continent to another or from the mainland to Hawaii these days, but would be very leery of even boarding the plane in that picture!
Interesting is the fact that at the time (1960) I had some notion of the fact that Mrs. Fowler (Leonore Fowler, R.G. Fowlers' second wife) was a glider pilot of some note. I didn't realize until today that he was an aviation pioneer.
As I recall (the following from my fading memory) Fowler flew a Model B Wright which had a Cole automobile engine in it. It was called the "Cole Special". He was most known for his transcontinental flight (race) which he lost to the Vin Fiz flown by Calbraith Perry Rogers, a modified model B Wright called a model EX.
The race was the first coast to coast endurance flight and was for a $50,000 purse offered by William Randolf Hearst.
Fowler quipped he was the first to start and the last to finish. He came in a close second (flying west to east) to Rogers (going westward) of the two competitors to have finished.
He first flew in to Auburn (about 30 miles from where I live) and then attempted to cross the Sierras near Donner Pass. Failing to attain adequate altitude he had to make repairs and return to Sacramento later flying south on a route with lower passes.
I had a friend who lived near Colfax (a railroad town near here which was one of the stops for Fowler on this flight) had a Cole touring car of about the same vintage as the plane (1911). It had a large, reliable engine.
Both planes which completed this race had multiple crashes and rebuilds along the way. I seem to remember that the Vin Fiz had only a couple of original parts on it when it completed the flight. I also seem to remember that the Vin Fiz was totaled and Rogers killed in a crash on the beach near L.A. a short time after the race.
I don't know if Rogers "won the race" because he completed the flight 19 days after the race's deadline. Fowler took longer.
The most amazing thing about those two flights is that either survived. The whole event was a bit like a county destruction derby!
Did they make a movie about that?
Herb, I've never seen one... but I'd slap my quarter down to see it anytime!
I don't know Steve, but I had the same question. I will do some family tree snooping.