Captain Frisbie, Rochester Aviation, Proves that
He is Real Birdman by Circling the
City in His Monoplane


     Captain John Frisbie, of this city, now with the Moisant International Aviators, flew over his native town late yesterday afternoon and proved to his old friends and neighbors that he is worthy to be classed among the foremost airmen of the world. His flight was merely a curtain raiser for the big aviation meet that is to open this afternoon at the Monroe Avenue field under the auspices of the Aero Club of Rochester.
     Representatives of the Moisant fliers have repeatedly stated during the past week, that if weather conditions were favorable on the day preceding the opening of the meet, some one of the bird men would make a flight over Rochester. The conditions were favorable and the flight was made and Captain Frisbie was given the honor of making it.
     Not only was the flight a great surprise to the people of Rochester, but it was the first time an aviator has ever made a flight over Rochester and one of the prettiest over city flights ever made in this country.
     It is not so very long ago that "Jack" Frisbie was not rated especially high as an aviator by his townspeople. There was never any question about his nerve and his determination, but somenhow he did not get very high in the air. He just kept on trying and that was about all. On one or two memorable occasions he landed on the fence and in tree tops and again he dropped into the chilling waters of the Erie canal.
     In those days there were persons in Rochester uncharitable enough to tell Frisbie that nature had never ordained that he should be a birdman and advised him to take up some other occupation that would hold him closer to mother earth.
     But Frisbie thought he knew best. He was sure that with determination and with his other assets, all he required was practice and a good machine. So, he left Rochester determined some day to return and fly over the old town.
Few Witness Start
     And that is precisely what he did last night. There were scarcely a score of people on the flying grounds yesterday afternoon when Frisibie made his flight . Those who were there didn't realize what was about to happen when the big biplane was rolled out of the tent and Frisbie said, very modestly, that he was going to fly over the city. It ws a pretty good afternoon for flying. There was just wind enough to sway the flag on the big tent but Frisbie was glad of that, because it helped the big machine to rise quickly into the air and it was Frisbie's ambition not only to fly over the city, but to make a record for speed as well. And he did it.
Spectators Skeptical.
     There were several photographers on the gorund and they were told by Manager Young where to stand in order to get Frisbie as he was rising. They smiled knowlingly and said they doubted if he would ever get high enough for a good picture. Before they could get their cameras adjusted, Frisbie was soaring over their heads.
     It was all done very quickly. When the biplane left the ground, after a run of about 50 yards, it was precisely 6:25 o'clock. He shot up into the air, flew over the city to the New York Central station, came back with the swiftness and accuracy of an arrow, landed within ten feet of his starting point, and was gone just nine minutes.
     It is seldom that a prettier flight is made. Wasting no time in climbing for altitude, the aeroplane rose gradually as its driver turned toward the dity, flying directly over Cobbs Hill reservoir and going in a bee line towards the Central station.
     Passing over the reservoir, he flew squarely over the baseball field and then straight on to a point over the railroad state where he turned and came back, passing within a short distance of the Hotel Seneca in his course to the Monroe avenue field.
Altitude of 2,000 Feet.
     For three minutes, he was lost to view of those on the aviation field and then the machine reappeared as a very small speck coming with great swiftness on its return trip. During the greater part of the flight he was 2,000 feet over the housetops. As he came back to the field, he dropped down from this dizzy height in one straight glide, dispensing with the usual circles or spirals. generally resorted to by aviators in making safe landings.
     A gasp of amazement escaped the spectators when he started on this glide and as his speed increased with the plunge, many thought they were going to see a wreck. Not ten feet from the ground, he shifted his control and skimmed off easily, lighting as softly as a feather on the ground.
     It was a moment of triumph for Frisbie, and one excited surprise for the little group that gathered about him.
     Frisbie merely pulled off his cap and bowed. In the next moment half a hundred hands were reaching fior his hand and enthusiastic congratulations were being poured on him.
     Then he was plied with many questions as to what Rochester really looked like to the birds.
     "Well," explained Frisbie, "as you know it's been my ambition for a long time to find out what Rochester really looked like to a man in a flying machine. Now I know, and I must say that it is just as beautiful a city from an aeroplane as it is from an automobile. But I never realized before how many trees there were in the town. In fact, as you fly over it, the city really looks like one great green carpet iwth little lines drawn through it. The business part of the city appeared very much like a huge checkerboard covered with toy houses and a lot of smudgy smokestacks. I could easily recognize every big building in the town. As I passed over the ball ground , a group of players were just coming out on the field. I could plainly distinguish the color of their uniforms and could see them all stop and gaze up at me. I don't know whether a game was in progress of not, but if it was, I hope I did't interrupt matters. Cars and automobiles seemed to creep slowly along as I shot over the streets. Pedestrians looked like insects merely moving along the pavement.
     "The New York Central station and the hundreds of glistening steel rails made a particularly interesting picture. You can't imagine what an odd looking thing a locomotive is, with the black smoke rolling out of it, when you look down upon it instead of at it from the ground."
     Frisbie explained that during a part of the flight his speed was greatly augmented by the wind and he estimated that at times he was flying at the rate of sixty-eight or seventy miles an hour. He said that at no time during the flight had he encountered any bad air currents, except that once or twice when he passed over smokestacks, the heated air caused his machine to dip a little.
Meet Opens Today.
     The regular programme of the aviation meet under the auspices of the Rochester Aero Club will open this afternoon at 4 o'clock. A large force of men were at work all day yesterday and continued through the night in order to get the grounds in readiness for the accomodation of the crowds which are expected to attend.
     One of the interesting features of the programme will be the dozen or more machines which have been placed on exhibition by their builders. Probably very few of ees will get into the air, but they represent every type of heavier-than-air flying macines and will be displayed in the tents where every one may see them.
     While it has been annouced that Rene Simon will make the opening flight of the day, still last night it was intimated that Captain Frisbie might be accorded that honor owing to the fact that Rochester is his home town. Barrier, who has been ailing for the past few days, was much better last night and was promised by his physicians that he could fly to his heart's content this afternoon. This means cross-country events to say nothing of "fool flights" and the sham battle between Simon and Company H, Third Infantry, for the opening ;programme of the meet today.
Collection of John Stewart, 11-27-06

René Simon
René Simon
Collection of Dave Lam, 10-10-05
       Rene Simon in his sixty horsepower Moissant monoplane and "Jack" Firsbie in his big Rochester biplane were the fliers at yesterday's opening day programme of the Rochester Aero Club aviation tournament. Rene Barrier, Simon's companion flier, was announced as ill at his hotel and the much advertised Captain Baldwin and his "Red Devil Flier" failed to pout in appearance.
     Simon shouldered the heavy burden of the afternoon's entertainment successfully. Three flights, two of them for estimated distances of six miles, were negotiated without difficulty and Simon finished with an altitude record for the day of over 4,000 feet.
     Frisbie was handicapped by the slight wind and after one circle of a couple of miles at a height of about 400 feet, he abandoned the work for the day. He created consternation in the camp of his companions by pushing his machine through eddies and puffs in a way that caused it to rock and plunge heavily, but he succeeded in landing a few feet from his starting point.
     Simon's first flight was made at 4:30 o'clock and lasted seven minutes. The second was much longer, covering two circles that carried him over the center of the city, and during it he attained an altitude of over 4,000 feet. Frisbie essayed the third flight--and Simon finished up with a long fifteen minute trip that contained
  features that pleased the crowd.
     With his power shut off he volplaned down until he almost touched the ground, when he went up again with renewed power to complete the journey. His machine was handled well. After his second and third flights, Simon brought the plane up close to the side lines in a series of jumps so the spectators might witness its operation at close range. He also piloted the craft through a couple of "figure eights" before landing for the last time.
     Some 2,000 persons paid to witness the exhibitions, while 10,000 more lined Highland Avenue and Cobb's Hill about the reservoir. Arrangements at the grounds, with one exception, were well handled. An extra charge of ten cents is levied upon spectators who have already paid admission, to enter the tent in which the machines are kept, a practice which will be noticeable absent from The Herald Meet next week. A dozen or more amateurs, whose machine are in the process of construction, are occupying hangars at one end of the field, and some of them may be induced to try out their handicraft before the affair is closed.
     The sham battle in which local guardsmen were to take part failed to materialize yesterday as advertised, but officials of the club say that it may be pulled off later. More flights will be made today.
Collection of John Stewart, 11-27-06

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