Harry N. Atwood Cross Country Flight Records – 1911

Harry N. Atwood Cross Country Flight Record – 1911

     Harry N. Atwood, (1883 – 1967)

     The following article appeared in The Washington Times, June 30, 1911, page 10.  


Aviator Harry Atwood

     NEW LONDON, June 30. – Harry N. Atwood, the boy aviator, with a passenger, made a flight of 107 miles in order to witness the Harvard-Yale rowing regatta today.

     Leaving the Harvard aviation field at Squantum Mass., at 7:05, he crossed the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut and arrived at his destination at 9:10 o’clock.

     With weather conditions ideal all the way, he covered the 107 miles in 125 minutes, an average of a fraction over 51:56 miles an hour.

     Atwood broke the American record for a single flight across country, and established a world’s mark for passenger carrying flight across country.     

     One hundred thousand visitors who jammed into New London and were ready to leave for the race course, forgot all about college rooting and cheered themselves hoarse when Atwood circled twice around the Groton monument, directly across the Thames River from the New Haven Railroad station,  passed over the big drawbridge, and flew over the two-mile course at a speed which the waiting oarsmen at Red Top and Gales ferry envied.

     The Yale and Harvard crews for the moment turned loose all their enthusiasm and cheered the daring aviator.

     Secretary of the Navy Meyer and party aboard the Untied States dispatch boat Dolphin applauded Atwood wildly and the great fleet of yachts on both sides of the race course tied down their whistles and fired salute after salute from their cannon.

     After passing the Dolphin, Atwood picked out the west bank of the river for a landing place.  He volplaned from a height of 1,000 feet in two magnificent sweeps and landed lightly on the ground in Riverside park to the south of the drawbridge.


     Atwood would break his own record thirty days later when he flew from Boston to New York, a distance of 139 miles.  This trip received much more attention by the press than the one to New London.   

Click on image to enlarge.

A vintage postcard view of Harry N. Atwood and his airplane.


Harold Palmer’s Flying Machine – 1909

Harold Palmer’s Flying Machine – 1909

    Very little is known about Harold Palmer, other than he was the son of Ruben Tyler Palmer Jr. of 373 Pequot Avenue, New London, Connecticut.  

     The following newspaper article appeared in The Day, (Of New London, CT.), on November 29, 1909

     Harold Palmer Ready To Try His Flying Machine 

     “New London may have a young Wright or Curtis in its population, if a test programed for some day this week – possibly Tuesday – is successful.  The aviator is Harold Palmer of Pequot Avenue, this city, and the test, scheduled for some day this week, is to be a test of the capabilities of a flying machine which young Palmer has assembled after months of study and work.

     The airship was taken out on a wagon to the Niantic River, Waterford, a week ago Sunday as it was desired to have a sheet of water like the Niantic River over which to fly.  The ship was deposited on the John Brown place and ways were constructed.  From these ways the ship will be launched.

     The ascent will have to be quite abrupt as to get from the lot in which it is situated to the river it will be necessary to fly over telephone wires at quite a height.  The Niantic River was selected as the scene  of the trial as in event of the machine failing to fly and falling, the possibility of serious accident is minimized if water instead of land is beneath the airship and its occupant.

     Mr. Palmer has been interested in the subject of airships for some years.  Two or three years ago he started building an airship.  He was dissuaded by his father who purchased an automobile for the young man on the promise of his abandoning the plan of building a flying machine.

     He again took up the task and for months has been working at Hammond’s Ice House off Ocean Avenue. 

     All of the residents of the section of the country near the Niantic River are very much excited over the prospect of seeing an airship in flight or at least an attempt at flight.  They have faith, like the inventor, in the machine, and expect to see it soar skyward when the test is made.

     This airship is not the result of a few days heedless work, but represents many of the best ideas in aerial construction.  If it really flies Mr. Palmer and his friends will be much elated.

     Mr. Palmer is the son of Ruben Tyler Palmer, Jr., of Pequot Avenue.  He is in New York City and will return tonight.  He will then go to the Niantic River to prepare for the flight which, as can well be imagined, requires nerve.  Since his ship has been at the Niantic River Mr. Palmer has been staying at the home of Wilson N. Carroll, to be near at hand.”   

     Unfortunately, it was discovered that the engine installed in Mr. Palmer’s aircraft was too heavy, and not powerful to achieve flight, and it was announced that further testing would take place in the spring of 1910. 

     No further information has been found as of this posting.


     The Day, “Harold Palmer Ready To Try His Flying Machine”, November 29, 1909      

     The Day, “Some Sentences By The Judge”, (A local history column of long ago news events.), January 9, 1960

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