AKA Motohisa Kondo?
Julia Clark
M. Kondo (Japan), Kearny, McClaskey, Fish, Julia Clark
J. D. Spalding, John Callan & T. Gunn
Coronado Polo Field - April 7, 1912
From WALDO: Pioneer Aviator

New York Herald
April 20, 1912,
Transcribed by Roy Nagl - 4-6-05
      The first Japanese to quality for an aviator's license under the rules of the Aero Club of America took the test successfully at the Curtiss Aviation camp at San Diego, Cal., on Saturday. His name is M. Kondo, and he intends to return to Japan to teach his countrymen to fly. L. Kaminski, a Rumanian, the first of his countrymen to get a license in this country, also qualified as an aviator. Both Kondo and Kaminski made perfect scores, according to telegraphic divides from Lieutenant J.W. McClaskey, U.S.N.C. retired, chief instructor at the camp received at the Curtiss office in this city.
      The summer flying school at the Curtiss flying field, Hammondsport, N.Y., opened on Saturday with fifteen pupils. These include young men from all over the United States, and one each from Cuba and Puerto Rico. A Cuban army officer, Lieutenant A. Ortis, is now en route from Havana to Hammondsport to take lessons in aviation.
Editor's Note: I suspect that "L. Kaminski, a Rumanian", may really be "John G. Kaminski, the youngest licensed Polish aviator in the world."

     If you search for "Motohisa Kondo", using the Google search engine, (4-7-05), you will find just four links, only one of which appears to be relevant.
Journal of San Diego History
     This page from the Winter 1979, Volume 25, Number 1 edition of the Journal is one of a series of very valuable resources to the student of early aviation. The featured article is entitled "The Only Safe and Sane Method...The Curtiss School of Aviation." It offers a comprehensive history of the School and also features an extensive collection of photographs relative to the school.
     There is no photograph identified as being Motohisa Kondo, but there is one toward the bottom of the page, which might show him in the group of students in the Class of 1912. It is designated as: "Page 56-57. Members of the Class of 1912 proudly pose before a training plane. Unlike the previous year, this class was composed of an odd assortment of officers, sportsmen, married couples, women and several foreigners." When it is enlarged, it shows a student, at the extreme right of the group, who is short of stature and might well be Motohisa. Anyway, I am sure you will enjoy visiting this website by clicking on the title above.

Tossed by the Fans, Machine Plunges Him to the Ground
in Trial Flight Up-State.

New York World
October 7, 1912
Transcribed by Roy Nagl - 4-6-05
(Special to The World.)
CORNING, N. Y., Oct. 6.---His aeroplane having caught in the fans of a windmill and pitched and plunged to loosen itself under the spur of a powerful motor, M. Kondo, a Japanese aviator, was hurled from his machine at Savona this morning head downward to the earth, forty feet below.
      His skull was fractured, and he died three minutes later. His spectacular fight for life had thrilled a dozen idle farmers, who had been watching his flight from the top of a rail fence.
      Kondo had never used a biplane of that type before and he was flying close to the earth while accustoming himself to it. He was unfamiliar with the locality and on rounding the corner of a large barn on the Charles Stamp farm found himself within a few feet of the windmill. He attempted to manipulate his machine so as to avoid the mill and all but succeeded, when the lower plane caught in the fans and broke up as wreckage, which clung to the frame of the mill.
      Kondo had learned to fly at the Curtiss school in Santa Barbara, Cal., last winter. He was a young man and a civilian, and was not representing the Japanese Government, although he had come East to visit two Japanese army officers who are learning to fly at the Curtiss school at Hammondsport.
      He went to Savona, a few miles from Hammondsport, today to see the Kirkham type of machine, which is manufactured there, and determined to make an experimental flight in one.

If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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