McCallum and Evans Practice

William M. Evans
Two Kansas Ciy aviators will begin a two weeks' course of experiments in air navigation is the latter part of next week, using Kansas City's first 'heavier than air' machines. The experiments will take place in a field near Olathe, Kas.
- Kansas City Star, 15 April 1910.

One of the first references I've found to early aviator William Evans is in an April 15, 1910 edition of the Kansas City Star. The paper reported that Evans and J. A. McCallum would begin a “two weeks' course of experiments in air navigation. . .using Kansas City's first 'heavier than air' machines.”

In a move perhaps designed to whet the public's appetite more than shield the aviators' early work, the Star reported, “The public must keep its prying eyes turned the other way while the tests are being made. 'If they don't,' says William Evans of 817 East Fifteenth Street, 'I am going to put my machine in the tent and move away to another spot.' It was noted Mr. Evans didn't say 'fly away.'”

McCallum had built his own plane, while Evans had purchased a $2,000 monoplane made on the Santos-Dumont pattern. The paper reported that it was late in arriving, or the two men “would be sailing the skies now.”

Who was Evans? The paper paints him as quite sure of himself: “'I don't think I will need an instructor,' said Mr. Evans. 'You see, I have had considerable experience with dirigible balloons, and have put in seven or eight years' constant study on the subject of aerial navigation.”

“Ready to fly” was a constant theme for Evans throughout his career. His origins remain a mystery to me, but his confidence was clear from the start.