Author writing book about the Douglas GliderBy Bruce Whetten
An author, writing a book about a plane called the Douglas Glider, was in town recently looking for additional information on the plane.
Arizona Author/Historian Arvin “Arv” Schultz is currently writing a book on the history of aviation in Arizona, the first 100-years.
“Douglas has played a very prominent role in that history,” he said. “In 1908 there was a group of eight to nine different people in town known as the Douglas flying club … and these people built what was known as the Douglas Glider.”
According to the Arizona Aviation History website the members of the Douglas flying club were A.M. Williams, John C. Wright, Judge Forte, Ben Goodsell, Felipe Mazon, Ted Bowden, Charles M. Ford and Sparks Y. Faucet.
As part of the project Schultz’ friend Richard Ivansek is looking for any kind of information or pictures on the Douglas Glider as he and several other men in the Phoenix area are currently building a replica of the glider.
Both Schultz and Ivansek do not have any actual pictures of the Douglas Glider and they are hoping to find someone who might have actual pictures of the Glider before the motor or wheels were attached.
Schultz said the glider was built in downtown Douglas and flown off of 15th Street between A and Washington Ave.
“We believe that was the parade grounds for Camp Harry J. Jones,” he said. “That evolved into an airplane when they hung a motor on it and put a propeller on the motor and then put wheels on the glider making it an airplane.”
Initially, Schultz said, to get the glider off the ground, horses would be attached a hitch on the front of the glider that was then attached to harnesses. The horses would then start running and as the glider began to lift off the ground the hitch would come free from the harnesses.
“It didn’t fly very far but it did get off the ground,” Schultz said. “They had people there watching them do this and after they were done they would pass the hat and people would contribute a little money to it and if they had enough money they would make another run.”
Following 1908 modifications were made to the Douglas Glider, Schultz said. It would later change its name to the Douglas Flyer then The Douglas Bomber and be used in the Border War from 1910-20.
Ivansek estimates once the project begins it could take an estimated 6-8 months to complete the replica.
The length of the plane is an estimated 20 feet long with a wing span of 30 feet.
“It’s made most of rattan and bamboo,” Ivansek said. “And of course metal fittings and fabric that covers over the wings.”
Once built the two men hope to make it a traveling project and have it move throughout the state to different museums. One of those stops would be Douglas.
“Eventually we’d be looking for a permanent location,” Shultz said.
Schultz is hopeful someone may have pictures of the glider which would be helpful not only in the book but also the building of the replica.
“I don’t know if any of those original members of the Douglas flying club have relatives left in the community here,” Schultz said. “I’ve talked to numerous people here but no one really knows anything about the glider.”
Anyone who has pictures or information that would be helpful to this project can contact Schultz at 602-275-1016 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Any information we can get we’d sure appreciate,” Ivansek said.