Air Show Cancelled

The article in attachment IMScancel100109 was originally published in the October 1, 1909, Indianapolis Star. With its announced event dates of October 14-16 fast approaching the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had to cancel out on its planned aviation show. With dreams of rivaling the August air show extravaganza in Rheims, France the Speedway leadership had to swallow hard and admit they were coming up short.
Interestingly, the article (and I assume the Speedway) points fingers at aviation's new American super star, Glenn Curtiss who won the James Gordon Bennett Cup for airplanes in Rheims. According to the article, Curtiss violated a contract between him and the Speedway by participating in an exhibition in St. Louis prior to the planned Speedway event. Speedway officials were concerned about how an injury to pilot or plane could damage the quality of their show. Curtiss was also asking for appearance money of $12,000 - guaranteed whether he performed as planned or not.
Speedway Director of Contests Ernie Moross is quoted:
"We arranged for competition between a Bleriot machine and a Curtiss craft, Curtiss having cabled me from Rheims that this was satisfactory. I then took up the matter of engaging (Hubert) Latham and (Henri) Farman and got a promise of the latter's machine, but it was impossible to get it here in time, I discovered later. To postpone the meet until a later date would run us into impossible weather conditions, and, in fact, it is doubtful in my mind whether the wind velocity as late as Oct. 16 would make possible any flights with either aeroplanes or dirigibles."
Insinuating that Curtiss had been even the least disingenuous in his negotiations with the Speedway was an interesting public position to take given that they were still actively courting him to move his operations from Hammondsport, New York to the Indianapolis race track. Moross also cited complications with the ongoing work to pave the track with bricks. About 1,000 laborers were laying the bricks and would have been distracted and unproductive with an airshow going on. Moross still expressed confidence that the track would be ready for auto racing November 1. That proposed event also would not take place.
Moross asserted that the demise of the air show did not alter the Speedway team's ambitions to establish their facility as the country's aviation capital. Moross is again quoted:
"...we will throw the Speedway open for the free use of aviators. We are now receiving applications for the use of our aerodromes by many builders of heavier-than-air crafts and as they are sure to locate here during the course of their experiments it is bound to develop the industry and the sport also giving Indianapolis its own machines for races."
Such was the strategy and at the time it sounded reasonable. History shows it did not bear fruit.
The Indianapolis News also reported on the cancellation of the Fall air show and the article can be found in attachment IMSaeroNews100209. Not surprisingly, this article corroborates the other already described in asserting that Curtiss had exorbitant demands. The accusation was that Curtiss changed his terms from a previous agreement and wanted $12,000 for himself and the pilot of a second machine. This was double the original amount. He also wanted to be assured there would be $5,000 in prizes offered and $2,000 be available as a form of insurance in the event of an accident.
Another item is included that reaffirms plans for a November 1 auto race meet. This was optimistic in light of the massive brick paving project that was underway.

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