Potter School - Shield Yearbook (San Francisco, CA)

 - Class of 1917

Page 14 of 60

 

Potter School - Shield Yearbook (San Francisco, CA) online yearbook collection, 1917 Edition, Page 14
Page 14



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THE POTTER SHIELD A Flight By Night I NEVER did find out exactly how I happened on that field, but as I remember, I was walking proudly forth with my friend Dodge Jefferson. He had been an aviator before the United States had declared war and had responded immediately to the President's call. He was now an accomplished blrdman and as I walked out with him I felt, indeed, that I deserved more than ordinary notice. . Jefferson led me across the field to one of the many favorite hangars. Salutmg the guard, he opened the door and we entered. Sunlight streamed through a sky- light overhead, illuminating the large bird-like plane before me. I stopped momen- tarily, attempting to realize that this object before me was the wonderful plane my friend had been telling me about. . U , "Don't be afraid," he laughed, as he noticed my "wall-eyed" staring, "lt won t bite ou. Hi am due for a flight at half-past, George," he added to the mechanic, who was bending over the motor. i "Whom are you going to take up?" I questioned. I anticipated his offer and resolved to accept. "How about you?" "Great," I answered. "I certainly would like to." Fifteen minutes later the plane was wheeled out, ready for flight. "Here, you'll need this," said Jefferson, holding out a heavy aviation coat and a muffler. He also gave me a queer leather arrangement which he showed me how to ad'ust. "ft is a mouth and nose guard," he explained. "It prevents your breath being blown back into your mouth when traveling 'at high speed. You don't need to put it on yet." X' I climbed into the passenger seat with my companion in front of me. One of the attendants turned the propeller over. The motor started with a terrific noise and clatter which soon settled down to a loud heavy drone. Dodge gave the signal and we rolled swiftly across the field. Then we left the ground. I looked over the side and saw the earth rushing away from me. While there was a remarkable feeling of firmness and stability about the plane, there was just a trace of the sensation that I had left the lower part of my stomach behind. At a height of about two thousand feet objects were plainly distinguishable and I had a beautiful view of San Francisco and the country round about. As we rose, the objects below me seemed to go together as if some great, invisible hand was tightening a strap around the earth. At a height of about six thousand feet the city below me looked like a large garden marked off neatly into small plots, bordered by white bands. There were two or three larger, more irregular, green and brown plots which seemed to be the parks. All together it looked like a miniature city on the shore of a great lake. "How do you like it?" yelled Jefferson above the roar and rush of the wind and motor. "Fine," I answered. I now began to pay more attention to my companion. He held in his hand a movable steering column. Moving this forward would cause the plane to descend, back, to ascend. The machine was steered to the right or left by the steering wheel on the column. The fuel was controlled by a pedal under the right foot, the spark from the wheel. Dodge motioned for me to adjust my mouth guard. I did so, and waited ex- pectantly. The roar of the motor increased and for the next few minutes a powerful something seemed to push me backwards. After a while we slowed down. "How fast?" I questioned. He shrugged his shoulders. "Over a hundred," he guessed. Dodge circled, and flew back towards camp. When he had almost reached it he shut off his motor and volplaned down in a spiral. This made me 1'H-tl161' dizzy, Twelve lm 419' . ..s. pw' arf? ,Mas acid W' WW' .Nga fxitm' :QFSYF3 was 'Mill 75u il iff . or - jleffiii 5551531 ww, Amw- l l .rm img .zum 'ff -i ' Si :Hn if lf fv- .Ai-lw :R YQ ., WI eg 'k'?Mm ,?n,. x is. a..,j

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