Early Flight (Part 2)
By the time William Gibson came to Alberta in 1911,
hed already been experimenting with flight for 30 years.
Gibsons aviation career began with kites and other flying machines when
Gibson was still a farm boy growing in Saskatchewan.
Now hed designed an airplane. And according to aviation historian Pay
Myers, success hinged on finding the right location to fly it.
Hed worker in Saskatchewan, hed worker BC but he found in Calgary,
outside of Calgary, on a friends ranch, the perfect conditions
wind, no trees, the dry climate
so he continued his experiments there
with what he like to call his "mulitplane"
And he called it a multiplane because he used many many many narrow strips
of fir all stacked up which he thought was way to hed get more lift.
As Pat Myers documents in her book, Sky Riders, the multiplane had great
lift and stability on the air. After a series of successful short flights,
Gibsons was ready to try a longer trip.
So on August 11, 1911, His assistant jumped in the pilots sea and flew
the multiplane for about one and half kilometers.
Then he cut the engine to glide back to earth for a landing.
As historian Pat Myers explains, thats when the historic flight turned
He noticed the field where they were flying was just riddled with badger
holes, so he decided this wouldnt be good for the plane, hed better
avoid it, thought hed be better landing in a slough, well, he did land in
the slough, he came to such an abrupt stop of course with all the muck on
the wheels. The plane crashed, the engine sort of smashed up some of the
And that was the last time William Gibson tired flying in Alberta..