• They keep going and going

    Posted on February 5th, 2010 John Dorcey No comments

    Members of Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 60 Beloit/Janesville bring to mind the Energizer Bunny. They keep going and going and going. Yesterday, ten of them met at the Beloit Historical Society’s Lincoln Center to install a one-quarter scale model of the Warner-Curtiss aircraft. This effort is the culmination of more than 12 months of work and dedication to Wisconsin’s Centennial of Flight. A more accurate reference to these gentlemen is – they keep doing and doing and doing.

    Final adjustment BHS display

    Arthur Pratt Warner was already a successful engineer and businessman from Beloit, Wisconsin, when he attended the Auto Club of America’s 1906 event in New York. An aviation exhibit turned curiosity into passion. Warner became the first individual to buy an airplane and the sixth person to fly in this country in 1909. The Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame (WAHF) sponsored the Wisconsin Centennial of Flight celebration. The celebration’s centerpiece was the quarter-scale model of Warner’s airplane constructed for WAHF by EAA Chapter 60.

    The centennial culminated in Beloit on November 4, 2009. The day’s events concluded with the model being placed into long-term loan with the Beloit Historical Society (BHS). The exhibit has been under construction since that time. WAHF representatives Tom Thomas and Wynne Williams were on hand to lend moral support to Chapter 60 members. A news crew from Janesville radio station WCLO (1230 AM) were also on hand and filed this report.

    Warner-Curtiss exhibit, BHS

    Review earlier blog posts to learn about the Warner-Curtiss model, the craftsmen who built it, some of the locations the centennial exhibit visited, and the concluding ceremony at Beloit’s Morgan Elementary School. Visit EAA Chapter 60’s website for their story on building the Warner-Curtiss model. Thanks guys! Your skills, dedication, and generosity know no bounds – you just keep on doing and doing.

  • Celebrating a Century of Flight in Wisconsin

    Posted on November 1st, 2009 John Dorcey 1 comment

    While firsts happen every day, becoming the first to fly an airplane in a state, while making your first solo on that same flight, is noteworthy. Being the first person to buy an airplane and the 11th person to fly in this country makes the story even more remarkable.  All that happened on November 4, 1909 in Beloit, Wisconsin.

    Those aviation firsts are just some of the many firsts that Arthur Pratt Warner  experienced during his long and storied life. Those firsts, the man, and the 100-years of Wisconsin aviation history since are what the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame (WAHF) will be celebrating in Beloit during the next few days.

    Centennial of Flight exhibit and Warner-Curtiss model

    Commemoration of Warner’s flight begins at 9:00 AM at the Morgan Elementary School, 1811 Lee Lane (adjacent to Highway 81), on Beloit’s east side. The school sits on the original Morgan farm, site of Warner’s first flights. Weather allowing, festivities include a reenactment of Warner’s flight and a flyover by Wisconsin Air National Guard aircraft. A one-quarter scale replica of Warner’s aircraft and a Centennial of Flight display will be available for public viewing in the school’s gymnasium until 1:00 PM.

    Wednesday festivities continue at the Beloit Historical Society’s Lincoln Center, 845 Hackett Street, at 5:00 PM. Wisconsin historian and WAHF board member Michael Goc will present “A. P. Warner, an Appreciation.” WAHF will then present the Warner-Curtiss model, on long-term loan, to the Beloit Historical Society. Recognition of EAA Chapter 60 Beloit-Janesville, builders of the model, will follow. Refreshments available following the presentations.

    Smithsonian Senior Curator, Dr. Tom Crouch, will present “Aviation in 1909 and Wisconsin’s AP Warner” on Saturday, November 7. The presentation will take place in Eaton Chapel on the Beloit College campus beginning at 3:00 PM. A reception will follow the presentation.

    There is no charge for these events and the public is encouraged to participate.

  • Warner speaks again

    Posted on June 28th, 2009 John Dorcey No comments

    Arthur Pratt (A. P.) Warner was the first individual to purchase  an aircraft in the United States, the first to fly in Wisconsin, and the 11th to fly an aircraft in this country. He was a successful businessman and engineer; he was a loving husband and father. He lived in a simpler time, a time when things moved at a slower pace. He provides us, in his self-published autobiography, Making Things, reflections of that simpler time.

    A. P. Warner, ca 1950

    About the legal system
    “The patent system is all wrong. Patent judges should be engineers as well as lawyers. There are often points involved in a patent that a lawyer who is not an engineer cannot understand.”

    “The more I learned about advertising, the more valuable I thought it was, but I did not think it should be confined to magazine advertising alone.”

    Read more of the A. P. Warner story. Join us as we celebrate Wisconsin’s Centennial of Flight recognizing Wisconsin’s first pilot – A. P. Warner.

  • Wisconsin Public Television and the Warner-Curtiss

    Posted on May 11th, 2009 John Dorcey No comments

    The Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) network will share the story of A.P. Warner and his Warner-Curtiss airplane. In Wisconsin reporter Andy Soth travels to Beloit where he meets the builders of the 1/4-scale replica of the airplane. Members of EAA Chapter 60 spent five months constructing the aircraft.

    The program airs on Thursday, May 14 beginning at 7:00 p.m. An encore presentation will air on Sunday, May 17 at 4:00 p.m. There are six WPT transmitters throughout Wisconsin – Madison (ch 21), Green Bay (ch 38), Wausau (ch 20), La Crosse (ch 31), Menominee/Eau Claire (ch 28), and Park Falls (ch 36).

    View a clip of the program at the WPT website. A transcript of the program will be available at the website after the program airs on Thursday. A press release describing this In Wisconsin episode is  available.

    The aircraft replica is currently on display in the Wisconsin State Capitol. It will return to Beloit on Thursday, May 14. EAA Chapter 60’s Spring Fling Pancake Breakfast and Auto Show takes place on Saturday morning from 7 to 11. Further details are available at the chapter’s website.

  • Warner-Curtiss aircraft lands at Wisconsin Capitol

    Posted on May 9th, 2009 John Dorcey 1 comment

    The 1/4 scale replica of the Warner-Curtiss aircraft arrived at the Wisconsin State Capitol yesterday, Friday, May 8, 2009. The aircraft and its accompanying educational exhibit is located on the second floor. The aircraft will remain on display through Friday, May 15th when it will depart for Beloit, Wisconsin, in time for EAA Chapter 60’s pancake fly-in breakfast on Saturday, May 16.

    Warner-Curtiss exhibit, Wisconsin State Capitol

    A hearing on Assembly Joint Resolution 37, proclaiming Wisconsin’s Centennial of Flight, will be held on Wednesday, May 13. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 am. Anyone interested in supporting the resolution is encouraged to register at Assemblyman Gary Hebl’s office, Room 120 North, in the capitol.

    The Warner-Curtiss aircraft will continue to travel around the state as part of WAHF’s Wisconsin Centennial of Flight celebration. Visit the WAHF website  for a complete list of exhibit locations and dates.

  • Warner-Curtiss unveiled

    Posted on May 5th, 2009 John Dorcey No comments

    A. P. Warner first flew his airplane on November 4, 1909. The airplane was lost in a hangar fire sometime around 1914. Between those dates, thousands viewed the airplane, a majority of them saw it fly.

    Warner-Curtiss exhibit, Wisconsin Aviation Conference

    On Tuesday, May 5, 2009, the airplane became visible once again. This time the Warner-Curtiss is smaller (1/4 scale) and it will never fly, but the hundreds who viewed it that day were as filled with awe as those who saw the original. The Wisconsin Aviation Conference, May 4-6 in Eau Claire, provided the perfect venue for the first public appearance of the model. Nearly 300 aviation professionals were in attendance and most all of them stopped to look at, study, and appreciate the craftsmanship in construction.

    Rose Dorcey, WAHF president, told the A. P. Warner story during the event’s banquet. She also shared details of WAHF’s Wisconsin Centennial of Flight celebration and how to participate. Visit the WAHF website to learn where you can join in the celebration.

  • Warner-Curtiss update

    Posted on April 23rd, 2009 Tom Thomas 2 comments

    These parts have come together to form an aircraft

    Yesterday, Wednesday, April 22, I was able to visit a construction session of EAA Chapter 60 at the Beloit Airport and see the status of the Warner-Curtiss quarter-scale model. This airplane was the first purchased by an individual in the US and the first to fly in Wisconsin. With the help of many expert hands, it’s really coming together.

    Work on wing structure continues

    It’s been a long time coming, but steady progress and steady hands have brought it together. The quality of workmanship is outstanding. In talking to chapter members, there have been challenges where they had to interpret the plans as to how Glenn Curtiss wanted things to work out. They stuck with it and progress continued.

    The aircraft is now 95% complete and will be ready for its first display at the Wisconsin Aviation Conference in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, May 5 and 6. If you are in the area, stop by and take a look at it and bring your camera.

    The Beloit Daily News has written two articles, one on February 13 and the second today, April 23, about A. P. Warner, his airplane, and the Wisconsin Centennial of Flight.

  • Building pace accelerates

    Posted on March 28th, 2009 John Dorcey No comments

    The four wing panels of the Warner-Curtiss were assembled at last Wednesday evening’s work party. The assembly took longer than first anticipated, taking about 2 1/2 hours. According to Al Draeger, project co-lead, “The size of the parts we are working with makes them difficult to handle. We need baby fingers to hang onto them.”

    Wing panels await assembly

    Next week’s effort will be on Tuesday and start at 2:00 PM. Keeping the builders focused on the project – dinner will be provided at the work site. A planned 7-hour work session should result in much being accomplished.

    The change from the normal Wednesday build night is due a schedule conflict. Chapter members will be attending an aviation safety seminar on Wednesday evening. Typical pilots, they want to keep up on the latest aviation safety information.

    Parts continue to be built at chapter member’s home workshops. The work pace will continue to accelerate as the completion deadline nears. EAA Chapter 60 meets at the Beloit Airport.

  • Warner-Curtiss model construction

    Posted on March 18th, 2009 Rose Dorcey No comments

    This evening, my husband, John, and I flew to Beloit, Wisconsin, to visit with Archie Henkelmann and members of EAA Chapter 60, who are building a quarter-scale model of the Warner-Curtiss aircraft. The model will be nearly identical to the first airplane that flew in Wisconsin in 1909. We were impressed!

    EAA Chapter 60 members begin component assembly

    What I particularly enjoyed was seeing helping hands and minds coming together to help troubleshoot individual projects. This is what I read of nearly every day in my job as an editor in EAA’s publications department; how when men and women are building airplanes they know they always have a resource in their fellow chapter members. What I also enjoyed was seeing such fine artisanship. Though this model is not intended to fly, the members are putting the same quality and thought into the building process as if they were to actually fly the airplane. When finished, it will be an honorable example of the first flying machine in Wisconsin, one that A.P. Warner, Wisconsin’s first aviator, would be proud to see.

    White in 1909 the tires will be black on the 2009 model

    About a dozen chapter members started construction of this model in January, and their progress is remarkable. Members have been working hard on individual components, often working at home throughout the week. They then bring completed parts on Wednesday “build” nights to show and share in their progress. Construction continues as the calendar closes in on the May 4 deadline. The model will be unveiled at the Wisconsin Aviation Conferencein Eau Claire.

    As May is just a bit over a month away, I’m getting excited about seeing the completed model, but more excited that WAHF members and aviation and history enthusiasts throughout the state will have the opportunity to see it, too. I recently learned that the model, along with an informational exhibit, will be displayed in the EAA AirVenture Museum during AirVenture Oshkosh this summer. Along with this exhibit, the model will be at several Wisconsin fly-ins and other events throughout the summer. Check the WAHF website often for updates.

    Rose Dorcey
    President, WAHF

  • A. P. Warner speaks

    Posted on February 18th, 2009 John Dorcey No comments

    The Wisconsin Centennial of Flight celebrates our state’s first powered, heavier-than-air flight. The flight occured in Beloit, Wisconsin, on November 4, 1909. Arthur Pratt (A. P.) Warner was at the controls of the third airplane Glenn Curtiss built. Warner wrote a short autobiography entitled Making Things. We will share details from the book in this blog.

    Here are two statements A. P. made about life in the first half of the 20th century.

    A. P. Warner, ca 1940

    Overcoming adversity
    “Serious difficulties can be surmounted sometimes if one is anxious enough to do it.”

    Education verses experience
    “I have often thought ever since that businessmen are too much inclined to pay attention to newly educated boys, and not enough to men with experience.”

    Join us as we celebrate our Centennial of Flight.