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First Flight . . . Jamaica 1911

Thursday December 21

Jesse Seligman
Promoting the event
Wednesday December 20
Thursday December 21
. . . and on to Panama
Other 'First Flights'
On from 1911 . . .
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Daily Gleaner

December 21, p8 col 6

(Editorial Column)


The day may come when expert aviators will be able to face, in their biplanes and monoplanes, any wind that blows, just as birds can fly serenely through the upper air no matter how gusty or tempestuous the weather may be, but such a day has not yet arrived. That is the lesson which was taught by yesterday's aviation meeting at Knutsford Park. The exhibition which Mr. Seligman had arranged to give, created wide-spread interest, and attracted a large number of spectators to the course and Grand Stand. But for the most part they came away disappointed; and we can well believe that the most chagrined of them all was the aviator himself. Mr. Seligman knew that he was introducing aeroplaning to the public of Jamaica that no aviator had ever before given an exhibition of the art of flying in this island. And naturally he desired, both for his own sake and for that of the people who went to see him, to acquit himself with distinction and make an impression that would not readily fade away from the public memory. But if man proposes, the weather sometimes disposes. The wind was uncertain and tricky. it came in gusts of great velocity precisely such gusts as have overturned many a machine and produced the most tragic results. It was only after a shower had fallen that atmospheric conditions favourable for flying prevailed for a short time; and the aviator courageously seized the opportunity to ascend in his monoplane and make the circuit of the race-course. The spectacle was magnificent; and the flight was watched with the keenest interest and excitement. But a good many people who know something of the risks attending aeronautical displays in squally weather, heaved a sigh of relief as the machine (which resembled a great bird) descended gracefully to the ground in front of the Stand. It is sincerely to be hoped that the wind will be more propitious to-day when the air-man gives his second and concluding exhibition; for it is an open secret that Mr. Seligman intends to make up for any disappointment that was experienced by the public yesterday, if only he can get the chance. Let us hope, therefore, that he will have the opportunity he wants, and that those who go to witness the sight will have their most cherished anticipations fully realized. But the experience of yesterday has brought us face to face with the limitations of the art of aviation. Extraordinary strides have been made in all branches of aeronautics during the past three or four years. But aviation is little more than in its infancy yet. The problem of flight and of the mastery of the air has only been partially solved. The wind in its varying moods has still to be conquered, and made subservient to the will of man. But who can doubt, in view of the progress which has been recorded since the Wright brothers launched their first flying machine in the air, that the supreme triumph will ultimately be achieved?

Jesse Seligman.


Daily Gleaner

December 22, p1 col 7



Another Daring Exhibition

At Knutsford Park.


Two Flights Carried Out by

Aviator Yesterday


"I'll do it," and it was done. For close on two hours yesterday afternoon Mr. Jesse Seligman, the daring young American aviator, had been waiting on the field at Knutsford Park for the powerful gusts of wind, that every few seconds came tearing across the open space gusts so strong that the big monoplane had to be held to prevent its being driven backwards to die down sufficiently to give him a chance to go aloft in his machine. At 6.46, when the sun had dipped below the western horizon, and some of the 600 or so spectators that were present showed signs of giving up their long but patiently borne vigil, Andre, the machinist said a flight might be risked, and with the simple sentence "I'll do it," Mr. Seligman clapped on his headpiece, and mounted to his seat near the head of the monoplane.

A couple of seconds later the powerful engine was driving the propeller round at terrific speed, the men, straining against the ash frame released their hold, the monoplane bounded along the ground for a few yards and then mounted gracefully into the air, while the spectators shouted their applause.

The course followed was the same as on Wednesday afternoon. As usual, Mr. Seligman had perfect control of his machine and the wind being less he made his turns beautifully. At a speed of about a mile a minute, he circled the track, keeping at an elevation of about 400 feet, but on this occasion finding conditions favourable, he did not descend, but kept right on for a second round, flying a little higher than on the first circuit. After being in the air about eight minutes Mr. Seligman brought his monoplane gracefully to earth in front of the grand stand, while the welkin rang with applause.

"Yes, the weather conditions are better than last evening, and I am going up again," said Mr. Seligman, as he ordered the aeroplane to be backed down for another start. A couple of minutes later the aeroplane whizzing around over the field, presenting a spectacle that at once


as it stood out in bold relief from the background of the hill and mountain.

Flying, toward the west, Mr. Seligman having twice gracefully circled round, he landed. It was a wonderful spectacle - that flight of man among the birds, and those who kept away missed a very rich treat. When nearing the stand on his second circuit, scores of cards were showered down from the bird-like machine, which contained the following inscription: "Message from the Clouds, smoke Machados Cigars."

The aviator in all flew for about 15 minutes, at a speed between 50 and 60 miles an hour.

The W. I. R. Band supplied the music.

Mr. Newman, the manager, had this to say after the flight: "Had it not been for Drs. G. J. Machado and G. R. Machado, there would have been no flight to-day. They have given us their undivided attention since our arrival last Wednesday, and whatever measure of success we have achieved we owe it entirely to them.

If the municipality or public will offer sufficient inducements, on our return from South or Central America in March or April next, we will give further flights in Kingston."

The aviator leaves tomorrow for Limon via Colon, where several flights will be given. Later on Mr. Seligman will fly to and fro across the route of the Canal and then tour South America.



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