Thursday, March 15, 2012

The First Air-to-Ground Radio Transmission and SUTTON

Our research has turned into a version of the "Six Degrees of Separation" game, finding connections between Sutton and various events and people except most connections are much closer that "Six."

Elsewhere, we've documented the story of Walter Wellman, the one-time 14-year old Sutton newspaper publisher who became an advocate of non-rigid, hot air balloons as the future of air travel. He made attempts to balloon to the North Pole in 1907 and 1909 and in 1910 attempted a flight across the Atlantic in his airship the America.

The 1910 crew of the America on the attempt to cross that Atlantic included owner/commander Wellman, five crew members and their mascot "Kiddo" a gray tabby cat. Kiddo inaugurated air travel over the Atlantic for felines, not the only "first" for this flight.
Kiddo with the first engineer of the America, Melvin Vaniman

Apparently Kiddo did not take to air travel at first and went "bat pooh" crazy mewing, howling, running around "like a squirrel in a cage" and generally getting on the nerves of the first engineer, Melvin Vaniman. The crew did not agree on what to do about their mascot.

Wellman had included a radio in his equipment for the flight, another first, and it was at this point in the flight that the first ever air-to-ground radio transmission in the history of the planet occurred in a call to the support crew trailing the America's take-off and initial flight.

Fortunately for us the content of that first transmission has been preserved for posterity joining Samuel Morse's first telegraph transmission 66 years earlier, "What hath God Wrought?" and the first words spoken over a telephone wire by Alexander Graham Bell 34 years prior, "Mr. Watson - come here - I want to see you!"

so what were the first words uttered into an airborne radio set?

"Roy, come and get this goddamn cat!"

Kiddo has his own web site at where the details of this story can be found.
"Kiddo" was renamed "Trent" in honor of the British ship that
 rescued  the crew of the America, its crew and mascot.

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