Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Aviator Drops 4,000 Feet -- December 1, 2010

James C (Bud) Mars was a pioneering aviator who lived until 1944. We saw a photo of Mrs Mars, whose first name may have been Marie, a while back:


Aviator's Engine "Goes Dead" but He Guides Machine to Earth from Height of 4,000 Feet


Brother Aviators Are Horrified Spectators of Daring Performer's Skillful Handling of Craft


Special Dispatch to the Call.

FRESNO, December 18.-- Dropping from a height of more than 4,000 feet after his engine had "gone dead" and his machine had been left to the mercy of the elements, J. C. Mars, a member of the Curtiss camp of aviators, today came safely to earth following one of the most sensational exhibitions of aerial navigation ever witnessed. The downward swoop of the plucky birdman took place before 10,000 persons at the fair grounds in this city.

Skillfully Guides Craft

So skillfully did the aviator guide his frail craft, however, that a realization of the awful battle taking place did not reach the big crowd until Mars had returned to the earth.

Mars had started out to break the Pacific coast record for altitude made by Louis Paulhan at Los Angeles. Gracefully he rose into the air and as he swept around the field he mounted higher and higher into the sky until no longer could the crowd below hear the whirr of his engine.

Darts Toward Earth

Suddenly the other aviators were horrified to see Mars suddenly dart toward the earth. Involuntary cries broke from the lips of both Curtiss and Willard, and Mrs. Mars, who was seated in an automobile, shrieked with horror as she, too, realized, what was taking place thousands of feet above her. Once around the field Mars glided his machine swiftly losing its momentum. Unable to hold it in the air any longer he tilted the planes downward and swooped toward the earth.

Mechanics made frantic efforts to remove Willard's machine, which seemed to be directly in the path of the oncoming aeroplane, but Mars passed 300 feet over them heading directly for a row of automobiles which lined one edge of the field.

Saved by Cool Nerve

His cool nerve saved the daring young birdman at the last moment. Had his machine gone straight ahead it would have crashed into the automobiles, but Mars almost stood it on end as he turned it right about and glided down in perfect safety.

Glenn Curtiss described the drop as one of the most thrilling bits of aerial navigation he had ever seen. He was the first to grasp the hand of Mars when he left his machine, and congratulated him on his success.

While climbing upward Mars struck a cold strata of air which froze his engine and put his biplane out of commission for the remainder of the afternoon. Earlier in the day, however, he made a thrilling glide to earth from a height of about 1,200 feet.

Curtiss Makes Record

Glenn Curtiss added to the features of the meet today by making the fastest time for five miles ever made by an aeroplane on a circular track. The time was 5:05. Curtiss used his new biplane, and in circling the track never rose to a height of more than 20 feet at any time. Three of the miles were made in three minutes.

The crowd was also entertained, and frightened. as well, when the aviators, all made individual flights, dipping and plunging, sometimes skimming close to the ground, and other times shooting up to a height of 50 feet.

On one occasion Mars almost struck a dog that had wandered into the field, diving down from a height of about 20 feet to reach the animal.

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