Copyright © 1998-2006 Carroll Gray All Rights To This Web Domain And Web Site And Contents Thereof Are Reserved


"Each art has its master worker - its Paderewski, its Saint-Gaudens, its Michael Angelo, its Milton.

"There is Music and most inspiring grace and prettiest poesy in flight by man in the heavens. And posterity will write the name of Lincoln Beachey as the greatest artist on the aeroplane. In his flying is the same delicacy of touch, the same inspirational finesse of movement, the same developed genius of Paderewski and Milton." - ELBERT HUBBARD.

The Genius of Aviation


I have demonstrated the possibilities of aviation more, than three thousand times. I was unable, however, to solve the genius of aviation until I "looped the loop," which feat I accomplished with,my a,aeroplane, for the first time, November 24th, 1913, over San Diego, Bay, California flying from the grounds of, the government aviation school on North Island, where is stationed the First Aero Corps, attached to the Signal Service.

The Silent Reaper of Souls and I shook hands that day.

Thousands of times we have engaged in a race among, the clouds - plunging headlong in breathless flight - diving and circling with awful speed through etherial space. And, many times, when the dazzling sunlight has blinded my eyes and sudden darkness has numbed all my senses, I have imagined him close at my heels. On such occasions I have defied him, but in so doing have experienced fright which I cannot explain. Today the old fellow and I are pals.

The instant we had completed the "loop" together I decided l would fear him no more. It was then that man's courage, coupled with an invention of science, had finally solved the deep mystery which through the ages had surrounded the flight of the birds.

Courage at the helm of an aeroplane driven upwards into a loop by the force of propeller blades attached to powerful motors will master the gravity of space.

The value of such knowledge to society now rests with men who possess money and brains.

I am convinced the aeroplane is a safe and practical vehicle of transportation.

Dirigible balloons and other types of airships, so-called, will have their limitations, while the aeroplane, for reason of its simplicity in construction and operation, will be known as the "flyabout," and like the "runabout" of motordom will become a popular means of conveyance with the masses.

The aeroplane, also, is bound to prove of inestimable value as an agency in warfare, doing scout duty in signal service, and as a weapon of destruction, in a variety of forms, for several reasons, one of which is its capability in the attainment and maintenance of tremendous speed.

On the day following my accomplishment of the "loop maneuver" I was honored by the receipt in San Diego of an invitation from Secretary of War Garrison requesting my presence December,2nd, at his office in Washington, D. C., where I reported in due time. In the presence of members of the General Staff I was privileged the opportunity of describing minutely certain data I had secured as a result of my perilous flight, pertaining to the science of navigation, the construction of my new type of aeroplane and its operation.

The army and navy departments have engaged in an exhaustive and comprehensive study of the science of aviation. The men at the head and front are thoroughly alive and acquainted with its possibilities, but powerless, absolutely, to develop the science to a state of perfection without sufficient money to do so.

The parsimonious policy pursued by our government in the matter of aviation is directly responsible for its lack of advancement. Its progress is bound to be slow until such a time as members of Congress, a majority, awaken to its infinite value as an agency in warfare and in the affairs of commerce.

The eyes of the nation are focused on the daily press for enlightenment on the question. It is small wonder that hopes are blasted when the harrowing disasters encountered by our army and navy men are so ruthlessly depicted in screaming headlines, that we stand appalled at the brink of graves, bewildered and frightened at the mere word - aviation.

It would be far better for our government to abandon all attempts to school its officers in aviation until such a time as Congress will appropriate sufficient money to enable the Signal Corps to properly equip the men with machines and keep such equipment up to the highest point of efficiency. Now they are being sacrificed on the altar of penury.

On numerous occasions I have stood around aviation camps and noticed the Signal Corps aviators patching up old machines and trying their level best to make a good flying machine out of scrap material. When I learned, by accident, that the lives of the men were being risked because they could not get proper material, and that even gasoline was scarce at times, I felt ashamed of my own government. Our army boys seem to be forced to take what is handed them, and instead of new machines of the latest and strongest equipment and construction, there are only about three good machines in the lot that comprises the equipment at the principal aviation school of our government, located on North Island, San Diego, Bay, California.


Lots of small-town postoffices and plenty of pork-barrel appropriations and but a few paltry dollars for aviation, the hope of future supremacy in warfare, is an infamous policy. It is unbelievable that such a country boasts a great prestige.

Congress last year appropriated $150,000 toward the equipment and maintenance of aviation schools in the signal service. The requisition submitted by the Army

(image caption) Barney Oldfield giving Beachey the "once over" just before starting of race. Reproduced from Fresno (Cal.) Republican.

and Navy departments called for an appropriation of $1,000,000.

Japan, Italy, Germany and France spend ten times as much each year on aviation as is spent by the United States.

Aviation is either a great agency in war or it is of no use. If it is of vital importance, why not go into it in the right way, and if it is of no use why waste any time or money in flying? And what of the lives of brave men?

I am convinced it is possible to demonstrate to members of Congress as individuals the great things of which the aeroplane is capable. If it were possible to corral 'em - every mother's son - on one of the aviation fields near Washington to witness an exhibition or two of the "loop maneuver," "upside down flying," "dropping from the clouds" and a few other perfectly simple stunts, I am sure they would have an entirely different opinion of the flying machine. The advancement in aviation then would go forward in leaps and bounds.

Previous to my accomplishment of the "loop maneuver" over San Diego Bay, California, November 24th, Pegoud, a French aviator, won distinction in his own country by the same maneuver.

But we Yankees, you know, have a habit of going 'em all one better. Parley - vue - what? Since November 24th I have "looped" 268 times.

"Fools! fools!" rings out in clarion tones the voice of the multitude. Ah! - but are we?

"No!" and again "No!" I shout back in defiant answer.

With the knowledge we now possess there remains no danger. We have solved the mystery which has surrounded the flight of the birds, have mastered the gravity

(continued on next page)

Return to "The Genius of Aviation" page