Saturday, October 16, 2010

For What?

History:
One hundred years ago to the day, a crew of six men and a cat left New Jersey in the first-ever attempt to cross the Atlantic in a powered flying machine.

[...]

The America flew out of Atlantic City on 15 October, 1910, after weeks of build-up and speculation over whether she would ever leave the ground.

[...]

The crew's first crisis was a howling protest from their good luck mascot, a cat named Kiddo.

Chief Engineer Mervin Vaniman stuffed Kiddo into a bag and attempted to lower it onto the motor launch following the airship. But the boat was too far behind and the cat was pulled back up again.

Murray Simon wrote: "You must never cross the Atlantic in an airship without a cat - more useful to us than any barometer."

16 comments:

M. Bouffant said...

Pressure-sensitive feline?

By 1915, it had paved the way for the world's first strategic bomber, the German Zeppelin.

"Walter Wellman was an incredible visionary who understood how aviation could connect Europe and America," Dr Crouch says.


Long range bombing, uniting the continents!

Smut Clyde said...

"For what?" Keeping birds away. Otherwise they might have attacked the airship en masse.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Rodent infestations are one of the major obstacles airships face once they're in flight.

Hence, you need a cat.
~

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

1910 was a long time ago and while the crew may have had wireless, teh Internetz hadn't been developed yet. Hence, you need a cat in case of attack by flying cheezburgers.

ckc (not kc) said...

...witches

nedbeaumontjr said...

Rodent infestations are one of the major obstacles airships face once they're in flight.

This can be addressed using flamethrowers, a la Alien.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Obviously, a mid-flight snack.

mikey said...

Know what would be cool? Put the catbox up on the roof of the gondola. Watching tabby climb up there to do her business would provide entertainment and a chance to make some hilarious sidebets.

Plus the advantage of keeping the stink outside. Matt would call this pricing the negative externalities of cats on airships...

Another Kiwi said...

The cat will always land on its feet so keep it handy for the episodes of uncontrolled negative ascent externality

Smut Clyde said...

more useful to us than any barometer.

There's the clue. The cat is used to tell the altitude of the airship.

Substance McGravitas said...

Well sure, but they're so difficult to rivet to the wall.

Smut Clyde said...

For instance, if you lowered the cat at the end of a long rope until it was just above the ground, and timed the period taken for the cat to swing back and forth, it is an easy matter to calculate the length of the rope.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

One cannot eat a barometer, should the airship crash.

fish said...

You must never cross the Atlantic in an airship without a cat - more useful to us than any barometer

The trick is to find a cat more useful than a barometer.

NutellaonToast said...

"1910 was a long time ago and while the crew may have had wireless, teh Internetz hadn't been developed yet. Hence, you need a cat in case of attack by flying cheezburgers."

Almost right, but they really just hand wrote captions and glued them to the cat for entertainment.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

OK, B^4, do I HAVE to "a-hem" you? Over here?