Chapter 8 - 1913
American Aeronauts Ready for Start of Great Balloon Race from Paris - Captain H. E. Honeywell and Mr. R. H. Upson Represent the United States. - WIND UNFAVORABLE, NO RECORD EXPECTED - Ascent Will Be Made from Tuileries Gardens, but Competitors May Not Have Long Trip. [Special Despatch (sic)HCCCS] PARIS, Saturday (October 11, 1913) - All is ready for the great balloon race which starts to-morrow afternoon. The pilots sent by eight nations who will compete for the Coupe Internationale des Aeronautes passed most of the time to-day in attending to their final preparations.
The question all the competitors, as well as the thousands who are interested in the international contest are asking themselves is, "What of the weather? Which way will the wind blow?"
The HERALD correspondent called the Central Meteorological Bureau and the weather expert said: - "An anti-cyclone extends from the south of Norway to Central Europe and tends to spread still further toward the Black Sea. Another anti-cyclone has appeared in Spain, advancing toward the southwest of France. A vast zone of low pressure stretches from the British Isles to north of the Azores. There is a barometric minimum in Ireland that will probably move in a northeasterly direction. The pressure will become slightly lower over the North Sea and the low countries.
An Eighteen-Mile Wind
"This means that in Paris the winds will settle between south and west, at thirty kilometers (18.6 miles) an hour. Over the low countries the wind likely will be more southerly than westerly. It is probable that to-morrow afternoon the balloons will start with a southwesterly wind, but they are likely to encounter a breeze more directly from the south if they reach Belgium or Holland.
"The pilots must be warned to exercise extreme prudence, for they might be carried over the North Sea if they miss a landing."
"Is there any likelihood of unfavorable winds changing?" asked the correspondent.
Little Chance of Records
"No," replied the expert, "almost none. Of course there is a chance some balloonists may find the southern air current before traveling very far from Paris. In that case, they might cross the Channel and drift to Northern England or Scotland but that is doubtful. I am afraid they must resign themselves to being taken no further than Belgium. There, owing to an anti-cyclone over Scandinavia, they will find a southerly wind which will take them almost certainly over the North Sea unless they can land."
Those predictions will disappoint all who had hoped that the competitors in the international race would be able to make long distances and perhaps break the records.
Many of the competitors called the Meteorological Bureau, eager to obtain all the information possible, and great was their disappointment. The American pilots, Captain H. E. Honywell and Mr. Ralph Upson, were among the inquirers. Mr. Upson, who is only twenty-five years old, is a nephew of Mr. Frank B. Lahm of Paris, the well-known aeronaut, and a cousin of Lieutenant Frank Lahm, the first winner of the Coupe Internationale. He designed his balloon, the Goodyear, himself. It is the first of all American balloons to compete in Europe.
The teams representing the eight nations are: -
[list of pilots]
Apart from the cup the winner of the race receives a prize of 10,000 francs ($2,000) offered by the City of Paris -
BALLOONS DRIVEN BY WIND TOWARD ATLANTIC - FRENCH BALLOON, WITH WOMAN AID, LEADS IN RACE FOR COUPE DES AERONAUTES - The Stella Reports from Rennes, Expecting to Land at Douarnenez. - THE GOODYEAR NEAR COAST AT GRANVILLE - Change of Wind Wafts Balloons to West, Where Atlantic Will Stop Them. [SDHCCCS] Paris, Tuesday (October 14, 1913) - The European edition of the HERALD having given the pilots in the race for the Coupe Internationale des Aeronautes telegraph blanks to be thrown overboard with requests that the dispatches be forwarded to the HERALD, the following have been received: - NEUVY-LE-ROI, Indre et Loire, 11:30 AM Monday - Balloon Uncle Sam. All well. Just finished a big hot breakfast. Nine balloons in sight; location unknown. Hailed several towns, but they could not understand. Now eight o'clock, crawling due west, altitude 1,000 meters. "HONEYWELL AND WADE."
Neuvy-Le-Roi is a village about twenty miles north of Tours.
By three o'clock in the afternoon the American pilots had proceeded a little more to the west. The following second message was picked up at Tierce, near Angers, 288 kilometers (177 miles) from Paris: - TIERCE, Maine et Loire, 3:00 PM Monday - Balloon Uncle Sam. Altitude 3,100 meters; direction due west; thirteen balloons in sight all around us. We have tested the upper air currents at considerable cost to ballast to find currents to avoid the west drift to the Atlantic. Finding there was no air, we decided to drop to the lower fast current, make a run for the coast and avoid the threatening storm clouds. We still have plenty of ballast for another twenty-four hours. "HONEYWELL AND WADE"
Balloon with Woman Aid Leads
M. Rumpelmeyer and Mme. Goldschmidt have also taken to the southwest. The following telegram received at eight o'clock to-night, was picked up at Rennes, 352 kilometers (216 miles) from Paris: - RENNES, Ile et Vilaine, 6:45 PM, Monday. Balloon Stella. Passed over Rennes 4:10 PM. No speed. We are continuing to think we may land near Douarnenez about midnight. "RUMPELMEYER" "GOLDSCHMIDT"
Five of the eighteen balloons passed over Tours at dawn, proceeding toward the south.
The Temps had a telegram from its correspondent at Tours reporting that five balloons passed the River Cher at seven o'clock in the morning, traveling westward.
An hour and a half later the Swiss balloon, Helvetia, after hovering eight hundred meters above Tours, was disappearing slowly in the west.
A telegram to the Intransigeant stated that five balloons passed Angers between a quarter-past and half-past twelve.
Fourteen out of the eighteen balloons which started from Paris on Sunday were, as disclosed by the HERALD's bulletins from Mr. Honeywell, drifting into Brittany and will have been stopped no doubt by the Atlantic before these lines appear.
There remain four balloons unaccounted for, or perhaps three, as it is quite likely that the Hamburg II, reported last at Le Mans, is not among the thirteen seen by the pilot of the Uncle Sam.
It is just possible that these three may be balloons which started first and may have been carried sufficiently south to escape the turn of the wind which caught the others and drove them toward the northwest.
German Balloon Held Up
According to a telegram from Chateaudun to the Intransigeant the Hamburg II was at Lutzendunois, close to Chateaudun, at five o'clock yesterday morning. Descending to within a few meters of the ground, Lieutenant Von Pohl and Herr Perlewitz hailed a group of peasants to discover where were the balloons. As they were flying the German flag the suspicious peasants thought well to detain the aeronauts pending inquiries.
They seized the guide rope and held it while a messenger went to fetch the gendarmes. The latter, finding the balloonists' papers in order, let them go, and they resumed their journey. This incident puts Lieutenant Von Pohl out of the race. According to the regulations of the contest, touching the guide rope by persons other than the pilot or his aid constitutes a technical landing and disqualifies the competitor.
[I saw an earlier rule that the guide rope could be caught for 15 minutes before there was a penalty???]
The Hamburg II was seen at Le Mans at a quarter before two o'clock and was then continuing its trip in a northwesterly direction.
The Matin received a telegram last evening stating that the American balloon Goodyear, pilot Mr. Ralph Upson and aid, Mr. Preston, was seen about five o'clock over Avranches. There was very little wind. The balloon was in view more than an hour and disappeared toward the Channel coast in the direction of Granville.
The Goodyear passed over Granville at six o'clock.
Granville is a seaport at the foot of a promontory projecting into the English Channel.
Five of the balloons passed over Rennes in the evening. Seven passed over Retiers, to the southeast, and three over Fougeres to the northeast.
[While a Frenchwoman is making history by being the first co-pilot or aid in the International Balloon Races, an Englishwoman is having difficulties with the police in London.]
ON THE SAME PAGE OF THE HERALD - Miss Pankhurst Is Torn from Police Captors - Militants Throw Chairs and Benches on the Heads of Invading Squads. LONDON, Monday. After a fierce struggle, police arrested Miss Sylvia Pankhurst at Bow Neaths, in the East End of London to-night, where she was making a speech. But when they got her out of the building, with the intention... of taking her to jail, the militants attacked the police so savagely that they had to let her go and she escaped. [Miss Pankhurst was making a speech suggesting that women had the right to vote!]
AMERICAN PILOTS ARE FIRST AND SECOND - PARIS, Wednesday. - The victory was confirmed to-day of the American balloon Goodyear, piloted by Mr. Ralph Upson and Mr. Ralph A. D. Preston, in the international race for the Coupe Internationale des Aeronautes by the landing at Sougeal, near St. Malo, on the English Channel, of the last competitor, the Frankfurt, representing Austria and piloted by Herr Lehnert.
American aeronauts also won second place with the balloon piloted by Captain H. E. Honeywell, while Italy was third with the balloon in charge of Signor Pastine.
American Balloon Wins the International Trophy in Thrilling Night Flight - The Goodyear, Mr. Ralph H. Upson, pilot and Mr. Ralph A. D. Preston, Aid, Lands a Stone's Throw from Edge of North Sea in Heavy Gale. - AERONAUTS SORRY THEY HAD TO DESCEND - [sdhcccs] LONDON, Thursday. (October 16, 1913) - We could have remained up hours longer if it had not been for that unlucky gale.
With this statement, almost tantamount to an apology for having descended after a forty-three hours flight, Mr. Ralph Upson, the pilot of the American balloon, the Goodyear, set about this task yesterday of getting his balloon ready for the return journey to Paris.
He was engaged practically the entire day close to the cliffs of Bempton, on the Yorkshire coast, where he and his aid, Mr. Ralph A. D. Preston, were forced to come down.
Neither Mr. Upson nor Mr. Preston had any idea that they had piloted their balloon to an American victory in the Coupe Internationale des Aeronautes.
"We did our best," said Mr. Upson. We had a great disappointment in having to land, especially as we had plenty of ballast left and were enjoying the trip thoroughly. We were amply supplied with provisions and clothing, and both Mr. Preston and myself managed to snatch an hour's sleep here and there while in the air.
The weather conditions were calm at the start and seemed to continue so until we struck a severe gale that made our descent necessary.
"The balloon drifted across central France slowly in the direction of the English Channel. The coast was reached in the neighborhood of Cherbourg at midnight on Monday. The wind then freshened and we sighted Southampton, on the English side of the Channel, at three o'clock on Tuesday morning.
'Then began a northward drift, but the wind later increased to half a gale and we decided it was unwise to continue further."
The aeronauts began to look for a safe landing place, but the haze became so thick that this was difficult to find. Eventually, however, the flat tops of the Bempton Cliffs were selected, the aeronauts not realizing their proximity to the dangerous rocky coast until they had landed. They then found themselves within two hundred yards of the edge of the cliff, the bottom of which falls sheer into the sea.
Mr. Upson probably will leave for Paris to-day.
Mr. Ralph Upson is a first cousin of Frank P. Lahm, winner of the first Gordon Bennett race. Mr. Lahm landed at Fylingdales, only a few miles away from the site where Mr. Upson landed.
WINNING AMERICANS ARE BOTH NOVICES - First Long Flight They Have Made Since Receiving Their Aero Club Licenses.
Despite the remarkable showing of Mr. Ralph Upson and Mr. Ralph A. D. Preston in the American elimination race on July 4, Aero Club officials were entirely unprepared for their victory in the
Coupe Internationale des Aeronautes event. It was too much for them to expect the youngest and most inexperienced of American balloonists to outdistance the most thoroughly schooled airmen of Europe in the blue ribbon event of aeronautics. The news, therefore, astonished as well as gratified them.
At the aero club yesterday it was learned that both Mr. Upson and Mr. Preston had only recently qualified as licensed pilots. Mr. Preston, who is only twenty-four years of age, had never been up in a balloon prior to July of 1912, and Mr. Upson, who is twenty-five years old, ascended only once before that date. In 1906 when he was not quite eighteen of age, Mr. Upson accompanied Lieutenant Frank P. Lahm in the first international race in balloon history, starting from Reull, France. Mr. Upson's next ascension was on July 27, 1912, when he served as aid to Mr. G. L. Bumbaugh in the American elimination race.
It was only three weeks before this year's elimination that Mr. Upson applied to the Aero Club for his pilot certificate. To qualify he had to make half a dozen flights, including one in which he was asked to handle the balloon unaided. The tests were held near Akron, Ohio, his home, and he passed them all successfully. Four days before the race Mr. Upson received his certificate. Acknowledging it he wrote: -
"I appreciate the honor thus conferred upon me, and I propose to use it in such a way as to justify your confidence in me."
With Mr. Preston as his aid, Mr. Upson, piloting a balloon for the first time, surprised the aeronautical world by winning the American elimination and qualifying for the international race. The young men were elated over their victory and made an early start for the scene for the international race, reaching Paris a month before the event was to start. Before leaving for France, however, Mr. Preston applied for his pilot license, passed his tests satisfactorily and was awarded certificate No 43 by the Aero Club on September 4, only six weeks ago. -
How we won the Gordon Bennett, by RAD Preston – what magazine or paper?