More on Forbes

The Indianapolis Star published the attached article on June 3, 1909 as the intensity of preparations for the June 5, 1909 balloon championship heated up. I especially like this article because it focuses on A. Holland Forbes of the wealthy publishing family. Forbes' passion for aviation must have been exceptional as he survived some incredible close calls. In this article his narrow escape with Augustus Post in the 1908 Bennett Cup is recounted but also another big scare is retold when Forbes was flying with two men obviously unaccustomed with the ways of ballooning. One man the article reports was about 180 pounds jumped from the balloon unexpectedly when they neared the ground for a landing. The sudden reduction in weight resulted in the balloons shooting upwards so much so that Forbes' other companion was tossed out of the basket which only accelerated the unplanned ascension. Fearing that an abrupt air pressure fluctuation would burst the bag Forbes turned a valve to release gas. The balloon again plummeted and nearly landed in a thicket of trees. The descent was so fast Forbes quickly scaled the ropes above the basket so the container would absorb most of the energy of the crash landing. Once that happened he jumped back into the basket. His quick thinking helped him avoid serious injury but the danger of his avocation was abundantly obvious. No one could have blamed him for calling it quits but still he pushed on.
The article also reported on an attempted night flight by Carl Fisher and Captain George Bumbaugh who had plans for a flight up to Chicago. A sudden storm forced them to reconsider. The arriving "aeronauts" praised the Speedway as a facility for flight. The permanently installed pipe system connected to the Indianapolis gas company and the wide open, flat farmland with no major body of water nearby made the environment appealing.

MillionaireBalloonists060309.pdf838.59 KB