Ready for Flight

Headlines from the September 1910 Skidmore New Era, Evans Aeroplane Ready
The management of the Skidmore Punkin Show promises the visitors this year the greatest exhibition ever given in northwest Missouri, in fact, an exhibition that has not been attempted before in cities of many hundred times the size of Skidmore. An exhibition of a real genuine, living aeroplane or biplane.
- Skidmore New Era, 20 Sept 1910.

A real, genuine, living aeroplane was an amazing sight in 1910. Flying such a craft was no simple task, and the aviator needed time to assemble the biplane and scope out the makeshift aviation grounds. Said the Skidmore New Era, “Mechanic H. H. Boore arrived from Kansas City Saturday with the strange little air craft, and Capt. Evans came up Sunday evening. The first thing the captain did upon his arrival in our city was to look over the grounds and select the most suitable spot for “launching” of his aeroplane. He chose the grounds just south of town, and pronounces them to be ideal with a commanding place for the spectators to view every movement of his wonderful machine.”

Careful planning was a must, but confidence was the real key to Evans' showmanship. The New Era reported, “Although this article is written Tuesday morning, Capt. Evans says “you tell the people that I flew, that I made good, or anything you want. You cannot make it too strong. I am here for business and I am going to FLY.” There were skeptics in town, but everyone would be there to see whether Captain Evans could make good on his bold claims.

The Greene biplane stood as another character in the story. The local paper described the “magic airship” as 30 feet long and 30 feet wide, with a total weight (pilot included) of 900 pounds when ready for flight. “The engine,” the paper said, “is a 60-horse power motor, equipped by the Boore Carburetor Co. of Los Angeles, California. The machine is forced through the air with a seven foot propeller by the means of motor power and manipulated by the aeronaut. It is built on rubber tire wheels, similar to automobile wheels, and takes to the air at a speed of 25 miles to the hour in from 50 to 75 feet from the starting point according to the conditions.” The machine, which the paper assured its readers was “a light and graceful machine” that “takes to the air with the ease and grace of a sea gull,” would be on display Tuesday evening before the demonstration flights began.

Some pilots in 1910-1911 carried passengers as part of their exhibition flights, but not Evans. “Captain Evans says he can easily carry a passenger with him by reducing some of the equipment. But don’t all speak at once for passage, as he only issues ballast tickets, and you are liable to be dropped off overboard when he gets 400 or 500 feet in the air, if he finds that his load is a little heavy.”

Next: Immense Crowd at Skidmore