From: Stig Agermose <stig.agermose.nul> Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 09:17:00 +0100 Archived: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 07:48:30 -0500 Subject: 1910: New Jersey Aviator Built Flying Disc Source: The Bergen Record - New Jersey http://www.bergen.com/page.php?level_3_id=3D59&page=3D5625229 Stig *** Totowa aviator built flying disc Monday, November 18, 2002 By MAURO MAGARELLI, Herald News ** In December 1910, a circular airship dazzled Totowa residents with an unprecedented aerial display near Laurel Grove Cemetery. No, it wasn't a flying saucer; this UFO only rose 4 inches off the ground. The flying machine was known as "the Hoople," one of New Jersey's first attempts at aviation. Totowa resident William P. Gary built the original Hoople, also known as the Garyplane, in 1908. The strange craft was a giant circle 20 feet in diameter, powered by a 50 horsepower engine in the center, and a tail wing that ran across the diameter of the hoop. The wings were non-collapsible and covered with Niad, a special type of linen imported from Ireland. A pressman for the Paterson Guardian by trade, Gary was also a successful builder outside his aerial pursuits, and pioneered Totowa's first home mortgage system. He built several homes on Lincoln Avenue and Jefferson Place and then sold them under monthly payment plans. On June 18, 1910, Gary's first aircraft fell victim to the elements. A severe rainstorm slammed into the Paterson area that afternoon, destroying hundreds of trees, shutting down several trolley lines and wrecking the unsecured Hoople. Gary rebuilt his airplane, but this time, he housed it in a peak-roofed shed near his home at 75 Lincoln Ave. The maiden flight near Laurel Grove Cemetery proved that the Hoople could fly, even if it was barely a foot off the ground, so Gary continued and tested the plane twice more the following year. The first run was in February, with the Hoople reaching a speed of 35 mph on the ground but without achieving any substantial height. Two months later, the plane flew nearly 6 feet into the air before crash landing. "The aviator was driving his flying machine and was proud of his achievement. Suddenly something went wrong with the motor. With a downward dash, the machine went head first into the mud of Union Avenue, throwing Gary several feet away," reported the Paterson Evening News, in its April 7, 1911, edition. Although the Hoople was severely damaged in the dive, Gary was uninjured during the April test-run, which was supposed to be a private demonstration, but nevertheless attracted a large crowd of curious onlookers. Afterward, Gary rebuilt his plane yet again, and on Feb. 8, 1912, he attempted to defy gravity once more. Showcasing a more- powerful engine, Gary wheeled the Hoople to the starting point near Westside Park, where a crowd was anticipating the demonstration. This time around, the plane achieved enough speed to glide 20 feet into the air and over several houses. Then another mode of transport cut the flight short. "At a point near the High Bridge, Gary made an effort to soar the machine even higher, but a Lackawanna Train which happened along at the time interfered with continuing the flight any further," reported the Paterson Evening News in its Feb. 9, 1912, edition. Nevertheless, the February test was the most successful flight involving Totowa's Hoople, now a forgotten bit of aviation history. "It's not famous at all; people come here at the museum and see a picture on the wall and say, 'How did that ever fly?'" said Pat Reilly, the founder-director of the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey in Teterboro. Gary never tried to develop or commercialize his invention. "Well, it never went further, he flew it and that was the end of it. He never capitalized on it," said Reilly. Gary did continue flying. He twice crashed a biplane into Union Avenue and then attempted to design an air-carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. He acquired a patent for a new Garyplane, a monoplane that was successfully tested in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's wind tunnel and proved efficient. Gary would never get to fly his new creation. Inclement weather arrived the day of the Garyplane's maiden voyage, so Gary went aloft in an old JN-4 Jenny, an aircraft used during World War I. The Jenny was caught in a downdraft, stalled out and crashed. Gary was badly injured, with internal bleeding. The Garyplane was stripped by souvenir hunters while its creator was bedridden during his recovery. Gary went on to work as an airplane inspector and eventually died in Paterson in 1951, at the age of 84. ** Reach Mauro Magarelli at (973) 569-7100 or magarelli.nul Copyright=A9 2002 North Jersey Media Group Inc.
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