February 6, 1909
Good roads are absolutely necessary to the successful sailing of airships or aeroplanes. That is the reason there are so few aeroplanes. That is what Henry Laurens Call of Girard, Kas., says, and what he doesn't know about airships isn't worth kinowing. In the first place the so new fangled aeroplanes, or airships, must first acquire a speed of thirty miles an hour along a road or a specially constructed track before they can rise into the air, he says. Mr. Call is building a new airship or aeroplane in Girard, Kas., and he also is constructing a mile of roadway in the nature of a boulevard. On this he expects to start the new ship sailing.
If one of these aeroplanes breaks down in a country where the roads are bad and where it is sandy, then it will be necessary to hitch a team of horses to it to pull it out where it may sail again. It will require the assistance of horses until the "relief ships" are intended to sail around a crippled airship like a fishhawk around a lake, making a dive down after it, lift it into the air and sail away to the repair shops with it.
The new aeroplane or airship Mr. Call is preparing to build will have an observation apartment, sleeping apartments for passengers, dining room and a gasoline cooking stove. Pancakes will not be on the bill of fare. They are too heavy. The new ship will be constructed of aluminum, will weigh only 1,500 pounds and preparations are being made to manufacture thousands of them for commercial use, to be in active competition with the railroad passenger departments. It will take up where it is cool in summer and down where it is warm in winter.
Henry Laurens Call of Girard, Kas., the only man who owns a caged airship in this part of the country, was at the Coates house in Kansas City yesterday and will be here today and tomorrow. He is returning to Girard from the East, where he went to purchase aluminum and other materials for the manufacture of airship No. 2. He also is purchasing equipment for a machine shop, which will be one of the additions to the airship building and repair plant at Girard.
"That was a fake story sent out about the wind wrecking the shed in which my airship is stored at Girard," Mr. Call said yesterday. "The ship was damaged very little and $75 will repair the damage. I have employed an expert gasoline motor engineer to take charge of the shop at Girard, and we are going to manufacture aeroplanes and airships that will sail. We are not going to manufacture them for sale. We will only lease them. First we will start a line between Kansas City and St. Louis as an experiment, and inside of six months we will put the passenger trains out of business.
Mr. Call then explained why that airship he owns at Girard has never sailed.
"There are too many trees in Girard, and the roads are not very good," he said. "I have never been able to get up a speed of more than 18 miles per hour on the roads near Girard on my aeroplane, and it is necessary to get up a speed of thirty miles an hour before the ship will rise in the air. Wright brothers, who have made such a success of their aeroplane in France are nothing more than trick bicycle riders. No one else could take their ship and run it like they can. It took them seven years to learn the trick of riding that machine. That is too long for an apprentice airship chauffeur to serve. It isn't good for practical purposes. The thing we are trying to accomplish is to make a simple aeroplane which anyone can operate who understands a gasoline engine."
Mr. Call modestly said that he is not attempting anything original. "I am availing myself of what has been accomplished," he said.