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Alberta's Aviation Heritage
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Handmade Planes

Unpredictable and Dangerous


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Handmade Planes

Aircraft were often homemade, small and flimsy. The machines were made of spare parts found around the workshops of aviation enthusiasts, and consisted of wings made of wood with cotton stretched over them, kitchen chairs with the legs sawed off, and motorcycle motors without the power to effectively fly.

Tom BlakeyAlbertans kept up with the developments in aviation, and there was a general interest in seeing new powered biplanes fly at summer fairs. After reading about the design of aircraft, Reginald Hunt from Edmonton built one and flew it for thirty-five minutes on Labour Day, 1909. A year later he flew his biplane at the exhibition, crash landing into a fence. He stopped working on aircraft because there was no financial support for the effort.

Early Flights In Alberta (Part 1), The Underwood Brothers of Stettler
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Aviation flying enthusiasts In March 1913, Joseph Simmer of Calgary completed two months of training in an air school in Chicago before building his own Curtiss-type biplane. He hoped to start a flying school, and give some exhibitions of flight. Simmer was successful in showing his ability to fly, but was unable to set up the school. Although public interest in aviation was high, there were not enough people willing to sign up to pursue developments in this new area professionally.

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Alberta's Aviation Heritage

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