Malcolm Allison Library of Congress (LOC). The place is Governors Island just off (south-east) of Manhattan across from the Statue of Liberty. Photo 09848v shows Brooklyn across the East River I believe. Michael Grisham (pilot HG, HG researcher; Crestline Soaring Society member:: thanks for your research, Michael ... nice lift for All ... )
Bain News Service, publisher. Malcolm Allison - with glider [between 1910 and 1915] 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. or smaller. See photo. Notice that a higher resolution photo is available; also a very high tiff archival copy is available. Notice the tow lines at the wing tips. Notice also the lower wing trailing edge extension about 2 to 3 feet from the tips. Observe the firm curved airfoil format. In the two photos seen so far, a seat of any sort is not seen by Lift editors.
The original New York Times
article is here. New York Times:
October 9, 1911, Monday, Page 4, 1241 words
A text type version of the article for study is here for Lift:
The secret of the Governors Island airship, the short flights of which in the
late afternoons for weeks past have made many persons in Battery park and on
passing ferryboats wonder who the aviator was and the kind of a machine he used,
is out. The machine is a fifty-pound biplane glider, and the inventor and maker
is Malcolm Allison, the 17-year old son of Col. James N. Allison, U. S. A, the
commissary officer of the Division of the East of the army.
The machine is housed in the aeroplane shed built for Wilbur Wright at the time of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration, and young Mr. Allison is now busy making repairs due to an unexpected fall a week or so ago, when an army boy who was gliding stuck his feet too far forward, thus breaking the equilibrium and causing the machine to fall. The inventor is not only repairing the machine, but he is also adding some improvements, among them a stationary instead of a swinging seat and a new rear control.
The flight have been at heights of from ten to fifty feet, and in several of the mthe [sic, many flights the?] glider has traveled more than 500 yards before coming down. In all of the flights the passengers have been drawn from the youthful population of Governors Island. One of those who made a splendid flight of more than 100 yards was Miss Alice Judson, a niece of Gen. Leonard Wood, Chief of the General Staff.
When the wind is strong the glider behaves fine, Malcolm Allison said yesterday, but when there is only a gentle breeze a tow of some sort is generally necessary in order to get into the air. The Governors Island children do the towing.
The planes of the glider are twenty feet long and four feet wide, the surfaces being of varnished cambric. The wood is birch, and the planes are held in position with birch supports and wires, the same as are the planes in the big biplanes of the Wright and Farman types.
Every part of the machine is the work of Malcolm Allison, and every one of them was made on the back porch of Col. Allison's home, which has been fitted up as a workshop by the boy inventor. The tools and the lumber and cambric all cost about $12.
The starting point for the flights is generally the grass-covered incline on the south side of the enlisted men's barracks, opposite the Statue of Liberty. There the boy or girl who is to take a spin in the air gets into the swinging seat and jumps off, that is if the wind is strong enough to get the glider into the air without the aid of a tow. If the wind is too gentle, there are plenty of youngsters waiting around to act as the tow.
Young Mr. Allison said yesterday that he was perfecting a plan by which he can use a horse to tow. The only thing troubling him is to bet [sic, get?] a horse that won't be frightened when it is hitched to something that will go up as soon as he gets a moving. The inventor said he did not expect to use more than one rope, which would be about 400 feet long and which would be made fast to the center of the lower plane. He woudl [sic, would] find a way, he said, to release the rope in the event the horse became frightend [sic, frightened] and tried to run away.
Amusing stories are told of what the Governors Island glider has been mistaken for. Many have concluded that it was the real thing and that it was operated by an aviator tuning up for a cross-country flight. One day a reporter saw it from a ferry boat, and that afternoon his paper came out with the announcement that it was what was left of a machine that was used by Atwood on his record-breaking flight from St. Louis to New York. Another theory was that a Governors Island officer had invented a new machine that would revolutionize aerial warfare. Several aviators of note have seen the Allison glider, and all of them pronounce it a very clever piece of work.
========================== End of the article.==========
HangGliderHistory.com ANALYSIS of the early New York Times article is briefly done here on December 18, 2008:
1. A 17-year old youth built a 20' span biplane hang glider.
2. Malcolm Allison flew his glider considerable distance.
3. Malcolm Allison permitted many of his friends to fly his hang glider.
4. At least one girl significantly flew the hang glider. Miss Alice Judson, a niece of Gen. Leonard Wood, Chief of the General Staff.
5. The article did not report of any pilot injuries.
6. The first version of the hang glider had a swinging seat. And while with such a swinging seat, the flying boy was able to change the position of his legs.
7. Many of the flights were launched by the towing assistance of neighborhood youth.
8. Malcolm Allison used a damage incident as an occasion to improve upon his design. He explored a control surface and stable seat instead of the swinging seat that he first reportedly used.
9. Mistaken interpretation by published reporters occurred. Did those publications recant and correct their stories?
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Found card of 1972-1973 set: Ken de Russy .... Otto
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