Tuesday, October 22, 2019

John Cyril Porte 100 Years -- October 22, 2019

New York Tribune, 28-October-1919
British naval officer John Cyril Porte planned to fly a Curitiss Model H flying boat, America, from the United State to Britain in July, 1914. He was competing for the Daily Mail's ₤10,000 prize for the first non-stop fight across the Atlantic. Sponsored by Rodman Wanamaker, Curtiss and Porte developed the Model H. The attempt was cancelled because of approach of war.

Porte designed many flying boats for Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). He also flew combat patrols so he could learn what was needed.  

Porte was accused of financial improprieties, but was later cleared. He died of tuberculosis 100 years ago today, on 22-October-1919.  

Lieut. Col. John C. Porte,
British Air Pioneer, Dies

Came to America in 1914 to
Help Curtiss Build the America for 'Cross-Sea Trip

BRIGHTON, England, Oct. 27. -- Lieutenant Colonel John Cyril Porte, former wing commander of the Royal Navy Air Service, is dead here of tuberculosis.

Lieutenant Porte came to this country in February, 1914, to cooperate with Glenn H. Curtiss in the construction and navigation of the huge airplane America, which Rodman Wanamaker purposed to send in a transatlantic flight. He returned to England in March, but came back in April with his young wife, announcing his intention of remaining here until he could go across in the airship. He planned to go from Newfoundland by way of the Azores and Spain. The vessel was built at Hammondsport, N. Y.. and was completed by June 20. Two days later it was launched on Keuka Lake, and in trials it more than fulfilled expectations. Delays arose, and at the beginning of August it was announced that Lieutenant Porte was returning to England for army service and that the flight across the Atlantic would be postponed until after the war. A little later the America was purchased by the British government and taken over on a steamship, and with it Porte did noteworthy service over the North Sea.

In the summer of 1915 Porte visited this country in the interest of the British aviation service. In July, 1917, charges of conspiracy and "graft" were preferred against him in England, but the government soon withdrew its case and fully exonerated him. He was at that time suffering from serious lung troubles.

In May last he went to Newfoundland to compete in the transatlantic race for the prize of $50,000 offered by "The Daily Mail" of London, but was recalled by the British Admiralty. He was the inventor of the type of airplane known as the "Felixstowe Fury." The largest aircraft of that type, and indeed the largest airplane of any type, ever built, was about to start from England for Capetown, South Africa, on August 11 last, when on a trial flight off Felixstowe it sideslipped and fell into the sea. The wireless operator was drowned, but the other six passengers were rescued.

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