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Thomas Ethloen Selfridge Needless Death at Fort Meyer, 17th Sept., 1908 Accounts.

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  • Thomas Ethloen Selfridge Needless Death at Fort Meyer, 17th Sept., 1908 Accounts.

    P.B.A., the below are just snippets, for a comprehensive documented archive account of the day please fallow short link: US Army 1st Lieut. Thomas Ethloen Selfridge Needless Death at Fort Meyer, 17th Sept., 1908 Accounts. http://wp.me/p55eja-G3

    Please be advised, I’m quite aware of all archived recorded military, etc., documents concerning the tragic event in question, used by historians a score of times. The below was extracted from professor Alec G. Bell’s papers providing A.E.A.’s perspective, consisting of letters, telegrams sent, received, and press despatches timeline of the day as fallows:—

    CURTISS TO BELL. (About Orville Wright’s Machine). Hammondsport, N.Y., Sept. 7, 1908:— I have been down to Washington for two days, called there by a message from Gen. Allen. I was lucky enough to arrive just in time to see the Wrights’ flights, Thursday and Friday. The first flight was rather short as Mr. Wright said he was unaccustomed to the machine, and the levers seemed awkward for him. He made a wrong move and headed for the tent, which necessitated immediate landing; in this landing, with the machine tilted somewhat, one rudder struck first causing the machine to swing around sideways and broke the rudder off..........This is accomplished by running the chain through a steel tube, the slack side going out around the one which does the pulling. The engine is the same they had four years ago, being rather crude and not exceptionally light. Mr. Wright sits to the left of the engine just inside of the front surface on a little cushioned seat, which is large enough for two. Mr. Wright told me they intended to use but one propeller hereafter, presumably to simplify. This double-chain transmission they have weighs 100 lbs. more than the single propeller would.

    Selfridge has been ordered to St. Joseph, Mo. to fly the Government airship at the coming manoeuvres. After that he will probably fly the Wrights’ machine. Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild were out to the flight, and I had a nice visit with them. I enclose a brief description of what we have been doing here since the last report. G. H. Curtiss.

    Letter: Curtiss to Mrs. Bell Hammondsport, N.Y., Sept. 9, 1908:— One of the Wrights made a flight each day, the first and only two they have made so far. The first day’s flight was marred by a bad landing which broke one of the skids. The second was better lasting for over four minutes. It is plain to see that they have nothing new, or better than we. I wrote Mr. Bell describing the machine………G. H. Curtiss.


    Aerial Experiment Association Lt. T. Selfridge seated in Drome No. 3 Curtiss' June Bug, May 18, 1908.

    *To A. G. Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Washington, D.C., Sept. 17, 1908:— Wright aeroplane wrecked to-day. Propeller broken; fell over one hundred feet. Selfridge seriously injured. Wright’s leg broken. Charles Bell.

    *To A. G. Bell, Baddeck, N.S. Washington, D.C., Sept. 17, 1908:— Poor Tom died to-night of brain injury in wrecked aeroplane. A new propeller broke. Wright stopped engine, but aeroplane pitched forward and dove 50 feet. Wright broke thigh and two ribs. He will recover. Machine completely wrecked. David Fairchild.

    To Editor Sydney Record, Sydney, N.S. Baddeck, N.S., Sept. 18, 1908:— Dr. Bell and Mr. Baldwin have left to attend funeral. Telegrams received state a new propeller broke. Wright stopped engine but aeroplane pitched forward and dove fifty feet. Selfridge died eight P.M. from brain injury. Wright broke thigh and two ribs, but will recover Although Selfridge was only twenty-seven he had already distinguished himself commanding United States Marines in San Francisco earthquake; ascended in Dr. Bell’s man-carrying kite “Cygnet”, a feat never before performed. The White Wing, the first A.E.A. aerodrome was built under his direction and flew successfully. His loss great misfortune to A.E.A., and aeronautics generally. Mrs. A. Graham Bell.

    US Army Signal Corps Lieut. Thomas E. Selfridge, 17th September 1908, at eight p.m., died of brain injury while in an aeroplane crash, known as the first aviation fatal casualty. The flying machine, aka Flyer piloted by Orville Wright, was seriously injured at Fort Meyer, Washington. A.E.A. members were aware of Orville & Wilbur Wright achievements, for several years at Kitty Hawk North Carolina. The Wright’s aeronautic endeavours were of no influence, nor contributed too AEA aeronautic innovations, McCurdy’s anecdote: “In spite of Bell’s good-hearted attempts too share our findings with the Wrights; we never succeeded in having the slightest communication with them.Whatever we accomplished was strictly our own.” Bell personally aware of Lieut. Thomas F. Selfridge knowledge in aviation, requested his services from President Theodore Roosevelt, pulling strings, the Army Signal Corps assigned him to AEA for one year. A close bond materialised between AEA team members and Selfridge, all working, contributing too each others designed and manufactured experimental aerodromes, Bell the father figure call them, “his boys.” Year passed, US Army reassigned Selfridge to the committee overseeing the development of the Wrights flyer, in compliance with the Signal Corps performance contract. Owing Selfridge was a former AEA member prompting Orville in voicing disapproval on the assignment. When Bell got wind Selfridge died in the plane crash piloted by Orville at Fort Myer in 1908, filled with overwhelming grief, went silent even throughout the funeral refusing press interviews. Accompanied by F.W. “Casey” Baldwin, Selfridge buried in Washington, Bell critical: “Wright System Wrong Principle, declaring both propellers should be on one shaft.”

    Washington Post Sept. 20, 1908:— Telegraphic advices received at the War Department yesterday announced that Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, the aeronautical expert, with whom Lieut. Selfridge had been associated, was on his way to this city from Halifax, to attend the funeral. He is expected to arrive here to-day. Dr. Bell sent the following telegram to the father of Lieut. Selfridge on learning of the young man’s death:— “The Aerial Experiment Association wants you to know that your son, Tom, its Secretary, will be missed by the Association and its individual members, as your son is missed from the family circle...........


    US Army 1st Lieut. Thomas E. Selfridge, photo by Mr. Conrad Frederic Haeseler, 1908.

    Washington Evening Star, Sept. 21, 1908:— Tribute was paid to the memory of Lieut. Selfridge at a meeting of the American Aerial Experiment Association held at the residence of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell to-day. All the remaining members of the Association were present. These included Dr. Bell, the President of the Association; Glenn H. Curtiss, F. W. Baldwin and J.A.D. McCurdy. Mr. McCurdy was elected Secretary of the Association in place of Lieut. Selfridge. Resolutions of regret were passed touching the death of Lieut. Selfridge. Resolutions of sympathy were drafted to be forwarded to Orville Wright. The Selfridge resolution said that the Association wished to place on record its high appreciation of its last Secretary, who met his death in his effort to advance the art of aviation............

    Minutes by J. A. D. McCurdy, from September 21, 1908, to September 26, 1908: A meeting was held on Sept. 20, 21 st 1908, by order of the Chairman, at 1331 Conn. Ave., Washington, D. C. at 10 A. M. Present, A. G. Bell, G. H. Curtiss, F. W. Baldwin and J. A. D. McCurdy. Owing to the death of Lieut. Thomas E. Selfridge, J. A. D. McCurdy was elected Secretary as his successor, that the Aerial Experiment Association place on record our high appreciation of our late Secretary. Lieut. Thomas E. Selfridge, who met death in his efforts to advance the art of aviation. The Association laments the loss of a dear friend and valued associate; the United States Army loses a valuable and prominent army officer, and the world an ardent student of aviation who made himself familiar with the whole progress of the art in the interests of his native country.

    RESOLVED, that the members of the A. E. A. herewith extend to Mr. Orville Wright their deepest sympathy for his grief at the death of their associate, Lieut. Selfridge. We realize that in this pioneering of the air the unforeseen must occasionally be disastrous. We hope sincerely that Mr. Wright will soon recover from the serious injuries he has sustained and continue, in conjunction with his brother Mr. Wilbur Wright, the splendid demonstration to the world of the great possibilities of aerial flight.

    On Sept. 26th, 1908, a meeting of the Association was held by order of the Chairman reviewed the conditions which led to the formation of the Association, its work during the past year and the probable plans for the Association in the future. Also read an extract from a letter to him from Mrs. Bell in which she expressed so beautifully the place our late Secretary held in her heart. Mr. Bell requested that a copy of this extract be prepared by the Secretary and transmitted to Mrs. Selfridge. Bell reminded members that the Association would come to an end on Sept. 30th, 1908, unless, as stipulated by our Constitution..........


    Letters . (Extract from letter to Mrs. Bell by A. G. Bell). Washington, D.C., Sept. 22, 1908:— We reached here Sunday afternoon. Monday, Sept. 21, we held a formal meeting of the Association, appointed Douglas McCurdy as Secretary, and passed resolution of appreciation of Selfridge, and resolution of sympathy for Orville Wright, who is lying at the military hospital at Fort Meyer suffering from very serious injuries. Newspaper reporters from a number of papers were on hand to know what the Association was doing. Major Squier took lunch with us, also Mrs. Fairchild, Curtiss, Baldwin and McCurdy. Cause of accident. Rudder wire caught in one of the propellers. Wire snapped and propeller broke. Under action of other propeller machine swung round in air. Wright then shut off engine and attempted to glide to ground, but the snapping of the rudder wire rendered the steering gear useless, and the machine began to fall without any means of controlling it excepting the front control. In his excitement Wright evidently raised the front control too much, or too quickly, causing head to rise with danger of sliding backwards, and this caused machine to lose its headway. Under these circumstances all control was lost, the weight of two men and the engine, all at the front part of machine, caused the head to point almost vertically downwards, and the machine dived towards the ground. Under the headway gained by the dive he might have regained control had he been further from the ground, and indeed it appeared that the machine was beginning to right, but there was not 13 room enough for a clearance of the ground. If he had had 15 or 20 feet more space for a drop there is little doubt that the disaster would have been only “an experience” as one of the papers puts it. As it was, the machine struck the ground with the full force of its fall, and all was over..........


    THK U FR YR Time

    Joseph.

    .
    Last edited by Spańiard; 05 May 16, 18:39. Reason: changing header
    History is not like playing horseshoes where close enough counts; those that have done the proper leg work have a responsibility to insure a detailed accurate account. Canada at War Blog
    http://wp.me/55eja

  • #2
    Thank you for your time.

    Very interesting report.
    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

    Comment


    • #3
      For threads like this one ,this place 's worth it.
      That rug really tied the room together

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
        Thank you for your time.

        Very interesting report.
        Thank U, have more accounts of the day on AEA June Bug, Red Wing, etc.

        C.U.



        .
        History is not like playing horseshoes where close enough counts; those that have done the proper leg work have a responsibility to insure a detailed accurate account. Canada at War Blog
        http://wp.me/55eja

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by sebfrench76 View Post
          For threads like this one ,this place 's worth it.
          Bonjour, je vous remercie, J'ai plus sur AEA.

          Jusqu'ŕ la prochaine fois
          History is not like playing horseshoes where close enough counts; those that have done the proper leg work have a responsibility to insure a detailed accurate account. Canada at War Blog
          http://wp.me/55eja

          Comment


          • #6
            The Wright's system of driving two pusher props via a pair of chains was generally criticised from quite early on and yet they persisted in using it right up to and including the Wright Type F (the Tin Cow) of 1915.
            Charles Rolls' fatal crash in 1910 was also caused by a wire in the tail assembly of his Wright Flyer snapping.
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post
              The Wright's system of driving two pusher props via a pair of chains was generally criticised from quite early on and yet they persisted in using it right up to and including the Wright Type F (the Tin Cow) of 1915.
              Charles Rolls' fatal crash in 1910 was also caused by a wire in the tail assembly of his Wright Flyer snapping.

              Hi Just sharing part of my study paper first draft on: Wilbur, Orville Wright Vs Glenn H. Cutriss Epic Aviation Patent Wars, 1908-1917.

              As U well know: Not the only one or seriously injured, Wright with ignorance, arrogantly blame aviators for the crashes.

              By this time Wilbur as the expert witness spent countless of hours in court, while Orville lacking innovation was overseeing production. Diminishing the company, ending 1911 the Wright’s machines lacked development, European companies and aviators manufactured superior engineered aeroplanes at the fraction of the cost. In 1912-13 the Wright’s downwards spiral and victory were bitter sweet, during a trip to Boston Wilbur suddenly fell ill with Typhoid fever and died within a month. Orville blamed Curtiss for Wilbur’s death, developed post exhausting travels and stress from countless of court appearances and lawyer meetings endured by his bother, now inheriting the reins and responsibilities. The US Army questioned the stability and safety of Flyers purchased from the Wrights, when a series of fatal accidents accrued in mid 1912. By mid 1913 with unknown seriously injured and eleven dead in the Wright’s Model B, while all six model C crashed, constantly nose diving. Orville arrogantly stood firm blaming pilot error, advised at an extra added cost, they would install flight indicators avoiding steep climbs, military brass were not impressed. The Government launched an investigation concluding, the Wright’s model C was, “dynamically unsuited for flying,” prompting the US military too ground and discard all aeroplanes with “pusher” propellers. The engine placed behind the aviator concerned the military, favour “tractor” type propellers, avoiding the aviator being crushed by the engine propelling forward in a crash. Included “planes” purchased from Curtiss’s, Orville dragged his heals believing any drastic engineering changes, would have serous negative implications on the “ailerons” lawsuit.


              C.U.

              Joseph.
              History is not like playing horseshoes where close enough counts; those that have done the proper leg work have a responsibility to insure a detailed accurate account. Canada at War Blog
              http://wp.me/55eja

              Comment


              • #8
                The Wright's tried to sell aircraft to the British War Office and an abortive correspondence was opened with Haldane - Secretary of State for War who took a bit of umbrage at being approached by a mere aircraft manufacturer. The 1908 crash finally put and end to this. In 1910 a Flyer was bought from Charles Rolls but no attempt was made to fly it. After Rolls' fatal crash it was used for a short time as an instructional airframe at Farnborough and then scrapped. It would seem that the early RFC was also doubtful about its safety.

                It's an interesting sidelight that part of the terms under which the Wright family made the flyer in the Smithsonian available was that no attempt was to be made to investigate any claims by anyone to have flown earlier. There is at least one possible candidate for a successful controlled flight in 1902 in the USA with witnesses . A reconstruction of the aircraft in question has flown and was significantly more aerodynamically advanced. However only the Smithsonian has the authority to investigate such a claim and they are blocked from doing so by the Wright family.
                Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                  The Wright's tried to sell aircraft to the British War Office and an abortive correspondence was opened with Haldane - Secretary of State for War who took a bit of umbrage at being approached by a mere aircraft manufacturer. The 1908 crash finally put and end to this. In 1910 a Flyer was bought from Charles Rolls but no attempt was made to fly it. After Rolls' fatal crash it was used for a short time as an instructional airframe at Farnborough and then scrapped. It would seem that the early RFC was also doubtful about its safety.

                  It's an interesting sidelight that part of the terms under which the Wright family made the flyer in the Smithsonian available was that no attempt was to be made to investigate any claims by anyone to have flown earlier. There is at least one possible candidate for a successful controlled flight in 1902 in the USA with witnesses . A reconstruction of the aircraft in question has flown and was significantly more aerodynamically advanced. However only the Smithsonian has the authority to investigate such a claim and they are blocked from doing so by the Wright family.


                  Hi, although portrayed by mainstream history as being the first in inventing the aeroplane; which is misleading, erroneous, as voiced by countless of the historian “Chateau Clique”.


                  PBA the below first paragraph is the intro of First draft.

                  The Wright’s felt a sense of entitlement, by January 1904 the brother’s press despatch, championed narrative reached the Aero Club of Paris, France. They wrote their own patent in 1903, as being the first inventors of the flying machine with all components, controls, etc., the application was rejected. In January 1904 retained the services of Henry Toulmin an Ohio patent attorney and granted their first U.S. Patent 821,393, on 22 May, 1906, only covering; “new and useful Improvements in Flying Machines.” During 1906-07 the brothers never took-off the ground and were more interested in filling their pockets, lobbing US and European governments negotiating contracts for their Flyer. The above mentioned countries manufactures, aviators evading the Wright’s patent, engineered, constructed mirrored ailerons for lateral control. This action prompted the brothers too release the hounds, launching lawsuits on whoever infringed on their US patent. They sued European manufacturing companies who purchased foreign patents, in their own country, seeking a worldwide monopoly and control. Met with little success, although the pro-Wright ruling in France, a German court ruled the US patent was not valid, owing too prior disclosures during speeches by Wilbur Wright in 1901 and Octave Chanute 1903. The Aero Club of America brokered a deal, compensated the Wright’s who issued a license allowing aviators participating in Club events, free of legal prosecution......


                  Le Coup de Grâce on Wright’s Aviation Claims as Being the First: Wilbur Wright in May 1899 requested “aviation mechanical human flight assistance,” from the Smithsonian: “I am an enthusiast, but not a crank in the sense that I have some pet theories as to the proper construction of a flying machine. I wish to avail myself of all that is already known and then if possible add my mite to help on the future worker who will attain final success.” The Institute of history responded; read “Progress in Flying Machines,” published in 1894, by 13th May 1900 Wilbur wrote Octave Chanute. Their 10 year friendship abruptly ended during the patent wars, Chanute critically, and publicly challenged the Wright’s narrative, “on the amount of credit, if any.” Considering they religiously used data from, “Birdflight as the Basis of Aviation,” published in 1899 by Otto Lilienthal while designing their 1900-01 gliders. Decades later revealed the air machine of Victor Tatin, 1879; Jean-Marie Le Bris flying machine, Albatros II, 1868, however adding insult to injury a forgotten 1868 registered patent surfaced. On Aërial Locomotion, by Matthew Piers Watt Boulton from Tew Park, Oxford, London, was published in 1864, several “plane” designs, included the ailerons. Boulton’s at the Office of the British Commission of Patents, with his Petition, on 5th February 1868: Sealed the 4th August and dated A.D. 1868, 5th February, No. 392: “Improvements in Propulsion and in Aerial Locomotion, and in Apparatus connected therewith, Parts of which are applicable to Propellers and to Boilers.” Page 20, Boulton’s Improvements in Aërial Locomotion, &c., Ailerons Figure 5................

                  Countries like Germany, etc, ruled the Wright’s US patent was not valid, while North American companies forked 20% many others refused especially in Europe; legal wrangling would carry on until the patent expired in 1917.

                  A majority of aeronautic historians, scholars, alike, support Charles Harvard Gibbs-Smith’s aviation historian, argument, he disclosed “a score of times.” Critiqued the Wright’s court victories would be “doubtful” if a 1868 patent of “a prior but lost invention” by M.W.P. Boulton been known in the period 1903–1906. The fact in 1903 the brothers patent was rejected, and only approved in 06 after retaining the services of a patent lawyer, begs to ask, whose wheels were greased? From 1906-15 if Boulton’s 1868, 5th February, No. 392 patent surfaced, the Wright’s claims, patent and lawsuits, would’ve never materialised.


                  The Wright’s during 1910 were Smithsonian recipients of the Samuel P. Langley Medal for Aerodromics; the Institute had a change of heart. In the Wright brothers’ lawsuits, Curtiss in 1914 proving his patent argument, made 93 modifications to Langley’s Aerodrome, the Smithsonian was aware prior in attempting the flight. Samuel P., was the Institute’s secretary from 1887 till his death 1906, in conflict of interest, establishing Langley’s forgotten aeronautic endeavourers, legacy; Smithsonian never publicly acknowledged Curtiss’ heavily reengineering of the aerodrome. Although conducted successful short experimental flights, without affect to the Wright’s lawsuit concerning U.S. patent expired 1917, “the invention of a system of aerodynamic control that manipulated a flying machine’s surfaces.” The Smithsonian with evidence supporting their narrative publicly proclaimed, Langley’s aerodrome, as the first heavier-than-air craft “capable” of manned powered flight. Later Langley’s aerodrome was proudly displayed, pamphlets printed and downgraded the Wright brothers’ 1903 flyer, supposed invention, to play seconded fiddle. The Wright’s early quest for flight, Wilbur requested and received assistance from Langley, the Smithsonian and others, without their help and guidance the supposed 1903 flight would’ve never taken place. Lorin Wright and Griffith Brewer learned of the modifications, witnessed, photographed, some of Curtiss’ short flights, hastily informing Orville prompting a feud lasting decades with the Smithsonian.


                  C.U.
                  Last edited by Spańiard; 10 May 16, 08:44.
                  History is not like playing horseshoes where close enough counts; those that have done the proper leg work have a responsibility to insure a detailed accurate account. Canada at War Blog
                  http://wp.me/55eja

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