441 North Park Drive, Morton, MN 56270 [email protected] 507.697.6147

Thrilling Account of Aeroplane Trip, Renville Star Farmer, 9-26-1918: Renville Boy Now Located in Southern Camp Describes The Sensation of Sailing Above the Clouds

Voiced by Amazon Polly

Montgomery, Ala., Sept. 9, ‘18

Dear Mother:

Well, were you able to read my last letter? Am afraid it was put together kind of punk.

Sunday my chum (Pri. White) and I went to Union Springs.

We went to the M. E. Church and were asked to sing in the choir, (which we did) after services we were asked to dinner by an old lawyer’s wife, she was a nice old lady, and said she enjoyed do much to talk to soldiers as she has a son in France herself. We stayed there for dinner and after wards we went to their son’s house. They seem to be very rich people. Have a swell mansion to live in and a six cylinder (White) car.

We had a real nice visit and they asked us to be sure to come back again some Saturday nite and stay over until Sunday.

Ole said I must tell you about the ride I had today, and can say I have never enjoyed anything so much.

Not satisfied with the ordinary jassing around and straight flying, I made up my mind I would not give up until I got a ride with some one who would do some real acting stunts. So today I asked Lieutenant Dole to take me up with him. He is one of the best dare devils in this field. He said he was going up among the clouds to tumble around for a little and asked me if my stomach could stand it and I told him that was the kind of ride I was looking for, he took ship 46 out which is very powerful and a good climber. We started out and when we got up a little over 1,000 feet we hit a dense fog and could not see anything for quite a while. The air current was quite rough to-day and the ship bobbed up quite a bit until we were up about 2,000 feet, then all of a sudden  we shot out above the fog. We were a little wet when we got out of it and the sun seemed real nice and warm. This was the prettiest scenery I have or ever expect to see. As we looked down upon the fog we could see no sign of earth and it looked like an ocean of white foam. We flew around for a while up there and dove into several black clouds. It seem-just like when the train suddenly goes into a tunnel. Then we went below the fog for a while and suddenly the fog lifted and the Lieutenant said now we will go up higher and try some stunt. He started by waving the ship for some distance and done the wing over and spiral dip several times then he asked me if I felt sick and I told him “No I think I am able to stay with her as long as you are”. Then he went up to about 4,500 feet and asked me if my belt and straps all fastened goo. I told him “yes go ahead with your dirty work.” He laughed and told me to keep my heart beating as we were going to spiral. We signaled for several hundred feet then he turned the ship upside down and we were floating through the air hanging with our heads down. Of course we were strapped in good, but I could not help but think what would happen if the straps should break. Well, we flew around quite awhile and then suddenly he put the ship into a nose dive and we came straight down about 2000 feet. This was the worst part of all and it felt just like my stomach would come out through my mouth. Well, we came down, having gone through fog, warm sunshine, clouds and frost and I felt none the worst for my experience. I can at least say I have had a real ride for once. Lieutenant Dole said I stood it so well he would take me up again soon, and you can just bet I am anxious to go too.

Well I think I had better close as I presume this flying stuff does not interest you as much as it does me.

So hoping these lines find you all in the best of health, I remain as ever lovingly, Your son, Sherman Kottom