Aviation Historian 6
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F.Merriam - Echoes from Dawn Skies (1)
On November 3, 1915, Bristol’s sleek but delicate single-seat Scout C earned the distinction of being the first landplane with a wheeled undercarriage to take off from an aircraft carrier, when Flight Sub-Lieutenant H.F. Towler departed the short flying-deck of HMS Vindex in Scout C serial 1255, with the help of one of Ogilvie’s ideas.
Alec Ogilvie at the controls of Short-Wright biplane No 2 at the aviation meeting at Lanark in October 1910. Ogilvie demonstrated the aircraft’s slow-flying capabilities by using minimal throttle, keeping the machine airborne at an average 24 m.p.h. (39 km/h) during a circuit of the airfield. As he passed the finishing line he opened the throttle and, according to a report in Flight, “accelerated like a motor car until she had added 30 per cent to her speed”.
Ogilvie’s Short-Wright No 2 is returned from the beach at Camber Sands during 1909-10. Contrary to what has been reported elsewhere, all six Short-Wright biplanes were fitted with engines built by Leon Bollee at Le Mans.
Flying “straights” over the banked racing circuit at Brooklands, Surrey, on a Bristol Boxkite in 1911.
McClean’s Short S.40 at Westgate-on-Sea, after it had been fitted with floats in May 1912. It was in this aircraft that McClean took Ogilvie for a flight before the former's sensational flight up the Thames on August 10, 1912, during which he flew between the footbridge and the road span of Tower Bridge and alighted at Westminster.
One of the most influential and yet least-known of British aviation pioneers, Frank McClean acquired the land at Eastchurch in November 1909 and gave use of it to the RAeC for a fixed annual rent of a shilling. Seen here is his modified Short S.27, known as the “Tandem Twin” or “Double Dirty”.
Ogilvie flying Short-Wright No 6 with an NEC engine at Camber Sands in October 1910. Contrary to Ogilvie’s own statement, surviving records indicate that the machine was acquired by the Wright brothers from Charles Rolls’s estate following his death, and was sold on to Ogilvie, who then modified it to Wright Model B configuration.
“’Ello, ’ello, ’ello, what’s all this then?” A policeman looks on as Ogilvie prepares his Baby Wright racer for the Gordon Bennett Trophy race on July 1, 1911. By his own admission, Ogilvie had little chance of winning, but completed the course nevertheless, despite having to stop to refuel on his 20th lap.
Alec Ogilvie (left) with Wilbur Wright at Eastchurch, probably during the latter’s visit to Eastchurch to help Ogilvie with his repairs and preparations for the Gordon Bennett race on July 1, 1911. Note the early example of Ogilvie’s spring-loaded airspeed indicator attached to the forward strut.
Ogilvie in the cockpit of the Nile Seaplane during the Nile expedition. Starting off from Alexandria on January 3, 1914, McClean flew the S.80 via Rosetta to Cairo, where he was joined by Ogilvie, who accompanied him up the Nile to Khartoum, where the S.80 arrived on March 23. During the journey there had been 13 engine breakdowns and three “bad landings”.
Aerial explorers of the Nile - from left to right: Frank McClean, mechanic Gus Smith and Alec Ogilvie with the Short S.80 Nile Seaplane at Merowe in Sudan, about 210 miles (330km) north of Khartoum, on February 25, 1914. Ogilvie had flown in the 67ft (20.4m)-span S.80 back in the UK after its first flight on October 2, 1913.
T.W.K. Clarke, who made a Short-Wright glider for pioneer Alec Ogilvie.