Clipped From Del Rio News Herald

nataliedbauman Member Photo

Clipped by nataliedbauman

 - First airplane flight still very real By JOHN...
First airplane flight still very real By JOHN CL1FT Denison Herald POTTSBORO, Texas (AP) It happened more than 75 years ago, but to a Grayson County native who witnessed the first airplane flight over the county, it still is a very real thing. In fact Beulah Dickson has plans to be on hand at the Grayson Airport on the morning of Oct. 5 when the replica of the Vin Fiz sets down in Grayson County. On the morning of Oct. 17,1911, the original Vin Fiz plunked down in Jim Bryant's pasture about a mile southwest of Pottsboro. Then-11-year-old Beulah Belle Bennett and her father, Pottsboro Bank President J. Frank Bennett, picked up the pilot, Cal Rodgers, and drove him into Pottsboro for fuel. "Everyone who ran out into the field where the plane landed were given the chance to autograph one of the wings. There were already so many names on the wings that I had a hard time finding a place to write my name," Mrs. Dickson said. The plane was similar to today's ultra light planes. This time it will be an ultra light plane, dubbed Vin Fiz II, that Jim Lloyd will pilot in attempting to retrace the actual flight. While he would like to park the plane at the same spot in the pasture, Lloyd says he will be looking for more stable landing sites, which is why Grayson Airport may be his landing spot this time around. The 1911 plane was supposed to have landed in Denison but Rodgers, who was following the railroad tracks, apparently couldn't find a landing spot any closer than Pottsboro. When he flew over the Katy railroad shops, Fred Sisson led all of the employees up on the roof to view the plane. The Vin Fiz got its name from an orange drink that sponsored the trip. Rodgers was seeking to fly from coast to coast in 30 days or less for a $50,000 prize offered by publisher William Randolph Hearst. His 30 days elapsed while he was in North Texas, but the intrepid pilot continued until he completed the journey and drew bigger and bigger crowds after the time limit had lapsed. On Sept. 17, 1911, Rodgers lifted off from Sheepshead Bay, Long Island. On that same day in 1986, Lloyd will take to the air in his ultra light version. Lloyd will seek out the same stops at nearly the same times his illustrious predecessor accomplished. Rodgers had come from some rather storied American stock. Thus his family at least expected him to do something extraordinary since his forebearers included Commodores Matthew Galbraith Perry and Oliver Hazard Perry. "It is something that I will never forget. It still is the most exciting day of my life," Mrs. Dickson recalled. "I know that Mr. Perry was in a hurry. I think he had to get to Dallas by a certain hour to claim a $500 prize," Mrs. Dickson continued. "My father had a red 1909 Buick Overland. I climbed in and we drove out to where the plane had landed in the pasture. There already was a big crowd on hand," she said. "We picked him up and took him to town to get some gas. I remember he was in a hurry. He kept rushing us. We got two five gallon cans and filled them with gas and hurried back to the plane," Mrs. Dickson recalled. She said Rodgers strained the gas as it was put in the plane. "Then before he took off again, my father gave him a handful of cigars. He shoved one in his mouth and the rest in his pocket and climbed back in the plane," she said. Author E.P. Stein, who wrote a book about the flight of the Vin Fiz published by Arbor House in 1985, says the flight was greater than Lindberg's flight across the Atlantic, since 3,000 miles in a plane then was like three million miles. A Vin Fiz box car was on a special train that Rodgers followed across country, he said. The top of the car was marked so Rodgers could spot it from the air. White strips were supposed to mark the route he was to follow, but more often than not he missed the turn and had to retrace his flight. Rodgers held the plane together literally with baling wire. He used gasoline, alcohol and any kind of fuel that he could find that would burn to keep the plane aloft. He did complete the first cross country flight. He was given a medal of honor by President Howard Taft and was lionized by the public. There is a story that after Rodgers landed in Fort Worth, he was handed a telegram telling of a man being shot by his wife in Pottsboro in an argument over what direction Rodgers has departed. Mrs. Dickson discounts the tale. "Why I never heard anything like that in my life! If that had happened then, I surely would have remembered it. If it had happened in Pottsboro, everyone in town would have known about it," she said. REGISTRY We are proud to announce the following couples hove registered their household bridal selections with us. We invite you to come br and see their selections. Maria Prieto Arturo Beltran Sept. 13 Sandy Hernandez Eddie Cervantez Sept. 20 Marta Flores Xavier Pereda Sept. 27 Melanie Cowley Russell Conkling Oct. 18

Clipped from
  1. Del Rio News Herald,
  2. 28 Sep 1986, Sun,
  3. Page 21

nataliedbauman Member Photo

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in