Glenn Curtiss prepares for flight at Cleveland’s Euclid Beach
Ohio Life

1910: Aviator Glen Curtiss Makes Historic Flight

After taking off from Euclid Beach on Aug. 31, 1910, the pilot and plane-maker landed at
Cedar Point 1 hour and 17 minutes later.

One day after unfavorable flying conditions forced Glenn H. Curtiss to postpone a record-attempting, over-water flight from Euclid Beach to Cedar Point Beach, the famed aviator and airplane manufacturer took to the skies above Cleveland on Wednesday Aug. 31, 1910.

In the newspaper’s Sept. 1, 1910, edition, Springfield Daily News reporter Robert L. Clingerman wrote that an estimated crowd of 25,000 had assembled at Cedar Point on Aug. 30 to witness Curtiss make the historic flight in his Hudson Flyer biplane.

“About 1 p.m., word was received from Cleveland to the effect that the flight could not be made because of the strong offshore winds,” the newspaper reported. “This word was received at Cedar Point in anything but an agreeable manner.”

More favorable conditions arrived the following day, so the New York-based aviator took off from Euclid Beach, bound for Sandusky 60 miles away.

“At 1:10 p.m., a telegram was received by the management of Cedar Point, saying that Curtiss had left Euclid Beach at 1:06 p.m.,” Clingerman wrote. “A short while later a telegram came saying that Curtiss had passed the Union Depot at Cleveland at 1:16 p.m., thus making the nine miles in 10 minutes.”

The plane, which was powered by a 50-horsepower, eight-cylinder engine, was next spotted above Dover Bay at 1:26 p.m. and then Lorain at 1:46 p.m. As Curtiss approached Cedar Point and his admirers assembled, “guards were attempting to clear the beach in front of the Breakers Hotel, it being necessary to have everyone out of the water in order to eliminate any possible chance of accident in making a landing.”

Curtiss landed on the beach at Cedar Point at 2:23 p.m., setting a record for over-water flight, with the Cincinnati Enquirer reporting in its Sept. 1, 1910, edition that Curtiss made the flight in one hour and 17 minutes.

“His average time was 45 miles an hour, although one stretch of 20 miles was covered at a rate of one mile a minute,” the newspaper noted.

When Curtiss landed at Cedar Point, there was no more keeping the crowds at bay, “which immediately swarmed down on the beach into the guy wires of the machine and lifting Mr. Curtiss on their shoulders, carried him away to the hotel, cheering wildly as they went.”

Curtiss then telephoned his wife to inform her that he had a safe and successful flight. About an hour and a half after landing, Curtiss made an appearance on the beach, inspecting his airplane’s engine as the crowd cheered him on. Although the aviator had originally planned a return flight to Cleveland for later that same day, poor weather conditions forced him to postpone until the next day. 

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