Charles Holman Visit in 1928

Air Official Will Be Here. Col. Brittin To Inspect Various Proposed Port Sites In City. Colonel L. H. Brittin, president of the Northwest Airways company, and executive vice president of the St. Paul association, will spend March 26 in Grand Forks, according to tentative arrangements made today with W. W. Blain, secretary of the Grand Forks Commercial club. Plans for the day include a membership dinner of the Commercial club in the evening, which will be addressed by Colonel Brittin, and the early part of the day spent with the airport committee of the club. During his visits here, Colonel Brittin will make inspections of the various sites that have been suggested, and passed upon them. An airport engineer is expected to accompany the colonel to this city, and after the various proposed sites have been examined, the committee plans to start active work toward securing an air field for Grand Forks. In the past airplanes landing in Grand Forks have had to resort to private fields for landing purposes. During the time that the giant plane of the Standard Oil company was in Grand Forks last summer, the alfalfa field of the Lilac Hedge farm was utilized for a landing field. (Grand Forks Herald, Thursday, March 8, 1928, Volume XLVII, Number 107, Page 9)

Page 1. “Speed” Holman Urges Flying Field For Grand Forks. Airport Is Needed Here Says Aviator. Grand Forks Logical Direction for Air Line Expansion, He Asserts. Says City Should Secure Suitable Airport As Soon as Possible. That the logical direction for the expansion of the Twin City air lines is to the north through Grand Forks, and that this city should secure land for a suitable airport as soon as possible and have the port listed in Washington with the department of commerce, was the statement Monday night of Charles “Speed” Holman of St. Paul, chief pilot and general manager of the Northwest Airways company, speaking in the interest of an airport for Grand Forks, at a membership meeting of the Commercial club at the Hotel Dacotah. Speaking of the need of a commercial airport, Mr. Holman stated that there would be more air travel during the coming season than most people realized, as during the entire period since the war up to a year ago there had been only about a thousand planes built for commercial purposes while at the present time there were some 3,500 commercial planes in use. “Many planes have been sold this spring and if Grand Forks is to get this business we must have an airport,” he asserted.

Mr. Holman stated that a field one hundred acres square would make an ideal landing field for Grand Forks and would be plenty large because of the level nature of the country and the fewness of obstacles in the territory surrounding this city. Therefore, he said, most any good-sized farm near here would have a space suitable for an airport. Blue grass, clover or timothy makes an ideal base on which to land a plane, the pilot said. Following the dinner which was attended by more than sixty persons interested in the development of the business of aviation, A. I. Hunter, president of the Commercial club, opened the evening’s program with a short talk in which he told of the rapid development of aviation as a business. “The World war demonstrated the destructive ability of the airplane, but the courage and resourcefulness of American youth developed the tremendous commercial possibilities of the air machines,” Mr. Hunter said. “An airport,” he said, “is essential, if commercial airplane business

Page 2. is to be attracted to this vicinity. The air landing field is to the aviator, what the harbor is to the mariner, and what the tourist camp is to the tourist.” Explaining that Mr. Holman was secured to address the local club in place of Colonel L. H. Britton, president of the Northwest Airways company, after the latter had become ill, Mr. Hunter introduced Mr. Holman as the winner of the New York-to-Spokane air derby of last year and present holder of the world’s loop record with a mark, recently made, of 1,433 consecutive aerial somersaults. Mr. Holman, giving a brief history of the growth of aviation, stated that all means of transportation from the earliest days have looked toward the development of speed as their principal objective. In the days of the pony express, said the aviator, one hundred days was required to cross the country with mail. This time was later cut to five days by the best railroad service and finally evolved into thirty-hour continuous flight from New York to San Francisco, following the successful development of night flying in the air mail service.

Commercial aviators came into the air mail field in large numbers in 1926 and 1927, following the first government contract to commercial air men on May 1, 1926, on the Dallas-to-Chicago route, the St. Paul pilot asserted. After his speech, Mr. Holman answered many questions concerning the essentials of an airport and modern aviation methods. W. W. Blain, secretary of the Commercial club, followed Mr. Holman’s address with a short talk in which he said that it behooves Grand Forks to do its best to get an airport and that once facilities are provided for aviators at this point the air taxi, passenger service and other incidental business will quickly follow. Mr. Holman, who arrived in the city Monday morning, spent the morning with Commercial members and others interested in aviation, looking over various proposed sites for an airport for this city.

Charles “Speed” Holman, flying a Laird biplane, won the transcontinental air derby from New York to Spokane last September and on March 17, of this year established a new world’s record for continuous air loops when he turned over in the air 1,433 times. At the Wold Chamberlain field in Minneapolis last Sunday, the pilot said there were over a thousand visitors, and six or seven planes were kept busy all day taking people on trips over the cities. Immediately after his arrival in the city, Mr. Holman met with the airport committee of the Commercial club of which Dr. H. W. F. Law is chairman, and was taken to several tracts of land which the members of the committee have in view for an air field.

Long Run Necessary. Describing the requirements of an air field, Mr. Holman declared that the ideal field should be a quarter section, as some of the larger planes now require a run of close to 2,500 feet to rise into the air. He stated that these would probably be the most common users of the field. The field to be ideal should be a square, and arranged so that planes could land or take off in any direction. Lacking that much land, he said a field of fifty or sixty acres could be arranged in an “L” or “T” shape, to provide a north and south runway and an east and west runway. These runways should be 2,000 feet long, and should not be intercepted by wires, trees or other obstructions at either end. A very acceptable square field could be made with 100 acres of land, he stated.

Asked by members of the committee what equipment was necessary on a field, Mr. Holman stated that naturally the more equipment available at a field, the more important it became in the eyes of commercial flyers, but that the upkeep of the field could be arranged by allowing some flying organization to use it for maintaining the grounds. Speaking of the importance of obtaining land for an airport and registering it with the Department of Commerce, he said that all flying organizations were furnished with reports of the cities that had air ports available, and until a city was listed by the department, the commercial flyers naturally were not anxious to come into it. (Grand Forks Herald, Tuesday, March 27, 1928, Volume XLVII, Number 122)


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