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Curtiss Airplane Offers Initiation Rides in Grants Pass, Ore.

The first of many excited but apprehensive residents to take a 10-minute ride over Grants Pass, Ore., H. W. Webber, climbed out of the little Curtiss airplane after landing in a field just outside town.  “Nothing like it!” he exclaimed.  It was 1919.

The Rogue River Courier newspaper recognized the two-seater, arriving from Medford after a 23-minute flight, as the earliest commercial aircraft in Grants Pass.

The Curtiss, owned by the Medford Aircraft Company, flew into Grants Pass through light clouds, releasing leaflets announcing its schedule to people below.  But as the pilot circled to land, he had to fight through the mess of papers whipping around his open cockpit. 

On the ground, eight excited men, one-by-one signed a release, donned goggles and helmet and took rides of a lifetime.

 Miss Helen Layton was also promised a ride, but afternoon winds interrupted flights.  Dr. Loughridge, who owned the improvised landing field, refused a ride, saying he would stick to his Ford.

The Courier reported the historic flight on July 30, 1919, under the headline, “Local People Sailing Among Fleecy Clouds.”


Source: "Local People Sailing Among Fleecy Clouds." Rogue River Courier 30 July 1919 [Grants Pass Oregon] : 1+. Web. 9 Apr. 2016. .

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.