Bumbaugh's Dirigible 1909

The article in attachment Bumbaugh103009 about Captain George L. Bumbaugh's giant dirigible was originally published in the October 30, 1909, Indianapolis Star. Bumbaugh had exhibited his dirigible at the Indiana State Fair in September.
There had been plans for an aviation show at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he was to christen the craft but the air show never materialized. There was, however, an aviation meet at the Speedway in June 1910. Keep in mind that it was during this time that the Speedway's huge brick-paving project was underway. It is also worth noting that a year to the day prior Speedway Founder Carl Fisher and Bumbaugh pulled off their car sales publicity stunt flying a balloon over Indianapolis
This article focuses on the Hoosier "aeronaut's" plans to set new records and bring glory to his home state. In an interesting promotional strategy, Bumbaugh and the Indianapolis Star organized a naming contest for the vessel represented as "America's largest dirigible." People were asked to file their suggestions with the Balloon Editor of the Indianapolis Star by mail not later than the following Tuesday, November 2.
Bumbaugh claimed his ship was the largest in America and second in size worldwide only to a similar vessel owned by Germany's Count Zepplin. The plan at the time of publication of this article was for the airship to embark on its first flight the following week. The Wright Brothers had recently encircled the Statue of Liberty so Bumbaugh embraced the idea of doing the same around the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in downtown Indianapolis.
All this promotion was to kick off a record setting attempt by Bumbaugh. Count Zeppelin had sustained flight for 30 hours and Bumbaugh's goal was to extend that record to 48 hours.
For a little perspective, Bumbaugh's yet-to-be-named craft had a capacity of 100,000 cubic feet of gas. With coal gas, it reportedly could lift 4,000 pounds and with hydrogen, it could muster 7,000 pounds. This was an important point of distinction with the state-of-the-art airplanes of the day. Those fragile cloth-winged wonders could carry little more weight than the pilot and, typically for exhibition purposes, a passenger.
The frame of the dirigible was 130 feet long and the cigar-shaped gas bag was 166 feet long. A cabin was suspended in the center of the framework. Two large propellors were affixed opposite the cabin at the front. A large rudder referred to as a tail was at the rear. The big vessel required two men to operate and was valued at a reported $15,000.
A follow-up article appeared in the Star on November 2, 1909, and can be found here in attachment Bumbaugh110209. The article discusses Bumbaugh's plan that day to fly his dirigible around the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, weather permitting. Suggested names were reportedly "pouring in" from newspaper readers.
Judges for the naming contest were Indianapolis Mayor Charles Bookwalter, Secretary of State Fred Sims and Dr. Goethe Link, secretary of the Aero Club of Indiana. Link also won the Handicap Race of the National Balloon Championships held at the Speedway in June 1909.
There are two sidebar articles in the second attachment. One shares that George Osmont, described as a French Aeronaut, heaped praise on Bumbaugh for his vessel. He called it one of the finest dirigibles in the world. The second sidebar concerned the successful pilot training of a student of American aviation star Glenn Curtiss. The student's name was Charles K. Hamilton. Hamilton became known for his risky stunts and daring attitude.
Another November 2 article, this one from the Indianapolis News, can be found by opening attachment BumbaughNews110109. This article also reports that Bumbaugh planned, weather permitting, to encircle the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. His dirigible was impressive in size at the time. The framework of the ship measured 105 feet and the gas bag was 166 by 32 feet. It was propelled by a 35 hp engine. The vessel was reported to be the first mechanically propelled aircraft to cross the state. This claim seems premature as it had not as yet taken its first flight. Bumbaugh's plan was to ascend from the aerodrome at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield.

Bumbaugh103009.pdf909.46 KB
Bumbaugh110209.pdf433.54 KB
BumbaughNews110109.pdf790.41 KB