W. Starling Burgess : Massachusetts Aviation Pioneer
Object ID:
2015.11.49
VE Exhibit Label 1:
Herring–Burgess Model A1 Flying Fish

In 1909 Marblehead, Massachusetts, Starling Burgess teamed with Augustus Herring to develop their first airplane called the Flying Fish.

The aircraft's forward elevator was controlled by one foot pedal, the throttle with another. The rudder was controlled by thumb devices: one for left, the other for right. The airplane had a row of six triangular fins (thus the name) mounted on the upper wing for lateral stability. Fins were used instead of ailerons to avoid the Wright Brother's patent.

The aircraft's lifting surfaces and supporting structure were designed by William Starling Burgess. Augustus Herring provided the Curtis 25 hp engine, the pitch and rudder control systems and the design for the six stabilizing fins placed on the top wing surface.

On February 28, 1910, Burgess and Herring flight tested their Model A1 Flying Fish on frozen Chebacco Lake, Hamilton, northeast of Boston, where the relatively successful flight occurred.

The Herring–Burgess Model A #1 Flying Fish was a pusher biplane with a central skin and skids under each wingtip, built in Factory #1 Marblehead. There were five built between December 1901 and May 1910. It was a single place for one person. One contained a Curtiss 25 hp 4 cyl water cooled engine with a Herring direct drive. Model A1 had a four bladed propeller, a Bosch ignition and was equipped with an El Arco radiator.

Model A1's wingspan was 26'9" with a wing area of 292 sq. ft. Its height was 9'8", length 33', chord 5'6", gap 4'4" and weight 360–400 lbs. Its surfaces were covered with Nalad silk.

The Flying Fish was displayed at the Boston Aerial Exposition February 20–26, 1910. At the Exposition, carousel and amusement park manufacturer Charles W. Parker of Abilene and Leavenworth, Kansas, agreed to pay $5,000 for the Flying Fish after its first flight. Modifications were made to the control systems after its flight experience at Chebacco Lake and the Burgess Company shipped the A1 to Kansas on March 15, 1910.

Model A#1 was the first Burgess aeroplane, it made the first flight in New England and was the first commercial aeroplane built and sold in New England.
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First Herring Burgess 1910First Herring Burgess 1910
Burgess At Chebacco Lake 1910Burgess At Chebacco Lake 1910
First Herring Burgess At Chebacco Lake 1910First Herring Burgess At Chebacco Lake 1910
First Herring Burgess Chebacco Lake 1910First Herring Burgess Chebacco Lake 1910