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The Curtis Fall Flying Festival

The real star of the 2013 Curtis Fall Flying Festival held in Hammondsport NY on September 14 was a fledgling (a young bird) that hadn’t even acquired its feathers! There under a tent in the village park stood the Glenn Curtis Museum’s restoration project of Glenn Curtis’s 1929 Curtis Fledging aircraft. Next year at this time, this museum piece will be flown for all to see!

There is still a lot of work that has to be done. The wings and the fuselage need to be covered with cloth and spray painted. And then the wings need to be attached to the fuselage and the surface controls connected to the cockpit. I would guess that the engine has already been bench tested but it too will need to be connected up with to a gas tank and to the internal controls of the cockpit. And then there will be some final adjustments before the test pilot can give the 1929 Curtis Fledgling its maiden flight sometime in 2014.

It’s hard to me to imagine that some of our greatest inventors of the 20th century like Fredierick Baldwin, Lt. Thomas Selfridge, Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, and John McCurdy gathered in 1907 in Hammondsport to hold talks with the young Glenn Curtis on how he might help them to power their dirigibles and to help build flying machines. Glenn Curtis already knew how to build lightweight gasoline engines as his now famous V8 powered motorcycle carried him to a world record of 136 miles per hour in 1907 and the title as the fastest man on earth – a record that would stand until his untimely death in 1930.

Every fall the little village of Hammondsport, NY once again comes alive with the roaring sound of airplane engines as there is a fly- in with all sorts of seaplanes which demonstrated their ability to land and take-off from the water of Keuka Lake. Why in Hammondsport, NY? Because there was a young man who lived there and who loved to go fast whether it be on a bicycle, a motorcycle, or in an airplane.  Faster was better for Glenn!

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