Friday, May 3, 2013

Martin To A 'T'

Glenn L. Martin and crew with an Army officer and the Model TT. Givin Martin's
presence wearing a flight coat and helmet, it's likely that this photo was taken
very early in the Model T program.
In the early 1910s, with aircraft accident and casualty rates quite high, the Army decided that one of the causes was the nature of the pusher aircraft of the time: in an otherwise survivable hard landing, the engine, mounted right behind the pilot, would break loose and kill the man. In 1914, the Army decided it needed to find a safer tractor-configuration trainer, and meanwhile grounded all the Curtiss- and Wright-built pushers.

Both Martin and Curtiss proposed replacement aircraft that would be safer. Martin offered their Model T (also known as the TT), while Curtiss developed two different aircraft, the Model J and Model N (the best of both would later be combined in the JN, or Jenny).

First flight of the Model T took place in 1913, and first deliveries to the Army were aircraft without engines, as the Army had a surplus handy. The Martin design was unique in that it was equipped with nose landing gear, in an era when virtially all the other aircraft were taildraggers. Subsequent aircraft were delivered to the Army with engines, and these were known as the TT. Seventeen, in all were built. In 1915, Oscar Brindley won the Curtiss Marine Trophy competition for distance flown over a span of ten hours with a Model TT, covering 444 miles.

Martin was a Ford automobile dealer who, like so many others, became enamoured with aviation. In 1909 he set up shop in an old church and, assisted by his mother, built his first powered aircraft. He used the aircraft in publicity-garnering stunts, including delivering newspapers, shooting some of the first aerial motion picture footage, and supposedly claiming to be the first aviator to take his mother flying. He sold his company to Wright in 1916, and then started a second company with the same Martin name.

No comments:

Post a Comment