Harold D. Kantner  
  Harold D. Kantner, 1972

      Early in 1911, Alfred Moisant returned to New York and opened an aviation school at Hempstead Plains, new Garden City, Long Island, where a vast acreage was admirably adaptable to practice flying. Alfred had the assistance of Harold Kantner, an early exhibition flyer, as well as of George H. Arnold, Mortimer F. Bates, J. Hector Worden, and Chief Pilot S. S. Jerwan---"all licensed aviators," as the prospectus put it
From Henry Villard's CONTACT, The Story of the Early Birds

Kantner-Moisant Bluebird, 1913
      As for the United States, no amount of hand-wringing could bring a machine to the line. Half-hearted efforts by the Aero Club of America to make good on its two entries were unavailing; aviation continued to be in the doldrums, far eclipsed by developments in Europe, and public interest was difficult to arouse in a contest remote from America's shores. Norman Prince, however, was still in the ring, and as the months sped by with no tangible results in finding a racer, he offered to underwrite the cost of any machine that would represent the United States. During the summer, Harold Kantner, chief pilot of the Moisant school, went to France with Prince's backing to investigate the purchase of a suitable craft. Born at Meadville, Pennyslvania, on 23 February 1886, he was the holder of license No. 65, obtained at Hempstead Plains on 6 September and 14 October 1911. Kantner was highly regarded as an exhitition flier, instructor, and demonstrator of the Bleriot-type, Gnome-powered Moisant monoplane. He had made some test flights in 1911 for W. L. Fairchild, builder of a monoplane embodying steel-tube construction and equipped with a 100-horsepower Emerson engine. In the winter of 1912-13 he designed and built a new Moisant Military Scout. Known as the Kantner-Moisant Bluebird, the machine could be taken apart in four minutes and reassembled in eight. Superbly constructed, the Bluebird was successful from the start. Kantner interrupted tests and demonstrations before representatives of foreign governments to go to Europe on his Gordon Bennett quest. Though he lacked experience in racing, he stood in the front rank of American aviators and had the reputation of being a careful and conscientious pilot. But time was running out. When September arrived, no American entry had materialized.

From Blue Ribbon of the Air by Henry Serrano Villard, 1987

Editors Note:
I was privileged to know Henry during several years before his death.
He was an fascinating companion and a lifelong friend of aviation.
I heartily recommend his book to you for more on Kantner and
for the complete story of the Gordon Bennett Race.

"Aviators Are Eager to Essay Globe Circling"
Knoxville Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: February 27, 1914,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 2-20-07
"The accompanying illustration showed Harry Kanter explaining his monoplane to a group of naval officers. In the circle is shown the well known aviator Lincoln Beachey and on the right (left) is Gustav Hamel.
      Aviators express every confidence of the proposed "round-the-world" flight becoming a realization. The stupendous race project in connection with the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915 has aroused much interest and comment in New York, and included in the discussion is the opinion that American aviators are handicapped and that aviation as science and sport needs the stimulus of reawakened public interest.
      Harold Kanter, of Newtown, Queens county, N. Y., is one of the aviators mentioned by Mortimer Delano, secretary of the Aero Club of America, as being likely to take part in the flight.
      Gustav Hamel, of England, who flew upside down for the especial benefit of the King and Queen, is most enthusiastic. "Provided they are able to overcome financial difficulties," he said, "I am sure that many will jump at the chance to make th eattempt."
      Raymond V. Morris, of New Haven, Conn., has also given notice that he has begun the plans for a new machine for transatlantic flight and would enter the competition. Word received in New York from Los Angeles stated that Lincoln Beachey has decided to enter the race."

       First Vice President Elect Harold Kantner died Tuesday, December 11, 1973 in Cloisters Convalescent Hospital at San Diego of cancer. Private funeral services were held on Thursday, December 13th, followed by interment in the Greenwood Memorial Park, San Diego, California. He was born in Meadville, Pa. February 23, 1886.
     Harold attended the Moisant School on Long Island and was taught to fly by Andre Haupert. He had already built a Bleriot type monoplane with a 50 hp Gnome motor in which he soloed June 30, 1911. He was given F. A. I. certificate number 65. He then became an instructor at the Moisant School and traveled over the South making exhibition flights. He also designed planes for Moisant which were sent to Guatemala and Mexico where he taught the purchasers to fly. He next traveled to France for the Gordon-Bennett Cup Race and then to Italy where he was an instructor at the Naval Base, Taranto.
     He was instructor to the Yale group in Buffalo, many of whom were commissioned and served as pilots abroad in World War I. After the war, he worked as designer and test pilot for Continental motors, Aeromarine, Fairchild and Convair.
     He retired from Convair in 1961 to devote himself to his home workshop.
     He is survived by his wife, Mildred McCoy Kantner, a son, Richard D. and three grandchildren.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP, January, 1974

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