John Lansing Callan

By Merrill Stickler

Among the new displays to be seen at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum of Local History in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Naval Aviation, is that dedicated to the memory of Rear Admiral John Lansing Callan.
     The Curtiss Museum is fortunate enough to have a small collection of Admiral Callan's personal memorabilia donated by his sister, the late Mrs. Frederick B. Downing of Kinderhook, N.Y. Admiral Callan's collection of photographs were made available by his niece, Mrs. Frances Vaughan.

       Lanny went to North Island in San Diego Bay, Calif. with the Curtiss winter experimental camp and Flying School, in November of 1912. During that winter, Curtiss, with the aid of his crew, developed the first experimental flying boat, as well as training a large number of student pilots from several foreign countries, along with the many Americans who wanted wings.
     Callan's skill, personality and knowledge of his field, soon brought him a post as a foreign representative of the Curtiss Co. in Italy and England. In October of 1914, he went to Italy for the Curtiss Co. to set up and demonstrate three Curtiss Model F Flying Boats. These boats were built to carry two passengers and were equipped with the Curtiss OX motor. The boats were assembled at Tranto, Italy and were demonstrated for the officers of the Italian Navy, which purchased all three boats. These, and a few old Curtiss Hydroaeroplanes, sometimes called 'Robinsons', after Hugh Robinson, who had demonstrated and sold them years earlier, constituted almost the entire Italian Naval Air Force. There were no regularly established schools or factories to aleviate the problem when Italy found herself involved in the war.
     Signor Enea Bossi was the Italian representative of the Curtiss Co. and had arranged with the Zari Bros. of Bovisia, Italy, to build the Curtiss type boat from plans sent from Hammondsport. On September 22, 1914, Lanny made a demonstration flight in the first Italian built flying boat on Lake Como before naval officials. The boat was purchased and an order placed for several more. The Italians were convinced that naval aviation was an excellent way to patrol their long and exposed coastlines.
Editor's Note:
The above extract of the complete article was taken from a copy of:
The Curtiss Flyleaf of 1987,
a publication of the
Glenn H. Curtiss Museum of Local History
I invite you to visit their site by clicking on
Glenn H. Curtiss Museum of Early Aviation
and Local History of Hammondsport, New York.

Says We're Behind in Aerial Craft
Knoxville Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: October 21, 1914
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 3-13-07
New York, Oct. 20. - Enea Bossi, an officer of the Italian naval aviation corps, who has been in the United States several weeks left for Naples today on the San Guglielmo. He said he has been looking over American hydro-aeroplanes, but would not say whether he had purchased any. "The United States is far behind in aerial craft," said the Italian officer."
Transcriber's Note:Maybe he was really refering to the ground-based aeroplanes?

     If you search for "Enea Bossi" +aviation, using the Google search engine, (12-5-07), you will find about 43 links. Most of them only offers brief glimpses into his life and career, however the one cited immediately below is especially worthy of your attention.

Gossamer Odyssey
     This article which is available from the Google "Book" section, is an extremely valuable resource. You can read three full pages from this book which was written by Morton Grosser and which offers an extensive revue of the life and career of Bossi. Also, you can check out the "Recommended Reading" section on this page for more details. You can access the stie by clicking on the title above.

     This brief news item from October 2, 1914, which is found in the the New York Times archive, reports on one step in the sequence of events surrounding this operation. When added to the other brief notes which are available, the whole event may be better understood. You can access the site by clipping on the title above.

Gossamer Odyssey
Gossamer Odyssey:
The Triumph of Human-Powered Flight (Paperback)

Morton Grosser
Product Details
Paperback: 336 pages 8.8 x 5.7 x 1 inches
Publisher: Zenith Press; New Edition (September 30, 2004) Used Price: from $0.91
ISBN-10: 0760320519
ISBN-13: 978-0760320518


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