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Lucky Bob and Sweetheart

On this date in 1911, the Ward County Independent reported that Lucky Bob St. Henry had presented a spectacular exhibition at Minot. Several thousand people gathered at the Minot fairgrounds to watch Lucky Bob take to the air in his Curtis biplane named “Sweetheart.” Described as “the brave bird man,” Lucky Bob brought the first flight to the Minot area.

Bob made three flights and was cheered each time he landed. It was the first time that most of the people in the audience witnessed an “air ship” in motion. The first flight was a short one of only a few minutes. The plane rose about 300 feet in the air and traveled about six miles. The aviator, said the newspaper, demonstrated that he had perfect control of his plane.

The next flight was even more impressive. Lucky Bob bumped along the ground, and then Sweetheart gently lifted into the air. Bob flew south for about ten miles, attaining an altitude of 1,500 feet. The crowd watched anxiously as the plane became a mere speck in the sky. After what seemed like an eternity, the plane seemed to be getting larger. Finally, it came clearly into view. Bob descended gently and landed, according to the newspaper, “as gracefully as any bird might.” The crowd cheered wildly as he climbed down from his plane. The flight lasted sixteen minutes and covered twenty miles.

Bob spoke to a reporter after the flight. He said he flew over a farmer driving a wagon. On hearing the plane, the horses spooked and started to run. They broke away from the wagon and left the farmer sitting there. Bob said he hoped he hadn’t caused too much damage.

Lucky Bob’s third flight was shorter, but he demonstrated daring maneuvers in the air. He dove toward the ground, then suddenly darted upwards. He headed towards the city and circled over St. Joseph Hospital several times. He gave the patients a good opportunity to view his “marvelous machine.” One patient who was eighty years old was brought to the veranda so she could see something she never thought she would witness as she watched the flight.

It was noted that flying over the city was quite risky. But with his usual flair Lucky Bob brought Sweetheart in for a perfect landing.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

Source:

Ward County Independent. “Lucky Bob St. Henry Makes Wonderful Flights.” Minot ND. 8

            August 1911. Page 1.

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