3.1 Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines: Celebrating the Centennial of the 1910 Harvard Boston Aero Meet

Wednesday, 26 January 2011: 11:30 AM
304 (Washington State Convention Center)
Jinny Nathans, AMS, Boston, MA

September, 2010 marked the 100th anniversary of the Harvard-Boston Aero Meet, an event which brought over 500,000 people to an air field in what is now Quincy, Massachusetts, on Boston Harbor, to cheer on the glamorous and courageous fliers who performed seemingly impossible feats of derring-do over land and sea. Sponsored by the Harvard Aeronautical Society, whose president was Abbott Lawrence Rotch, Harvard's first professor of meteorology and founder and director of Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory, and the Boston Globe, international competitors vied for prize money up to $10,000 for separate events from speed racing to “bombing” ground targets. In addition, there were dirigible and kite demonstrations, including the first manned kite flight. All America was enthralled by the idea of being in the air and the 10-day event drew aviation and other luminaries, including President William Howard Taft and Boston Mayor “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald. Attending the Aero Meet inspired Harriet Quimby to become America's first licensed female pilot and also the first woman to fly across the English Channel. This talk will chronicle the 10-day event, which was a milestone in early aviation.
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