Start: St.Louis, "Forest Park", October 17th , 4.30 p.m.
From the Book: Die Gordon Bennett Ballon Rennen
(The Gordon Bennett Races) by Ulrich Hohmann Sr
For the second time in America, for the second time at the same place, but what a difference from the race three years before! Dear reader, go back once again and read, what Erbslöh stated about the preparations then. Also a comparison of the organization is recommended. When the pilots and their material arrived at St.Louis in 1910, one had really forgotten, that the race should take place there. Nowhere could they obtain any information, nobody could be found, who knew anything about the race. It seemed as if they had gone to a wrong St. Louis.
Finally on Sunday, October 16th, the pilots discovered a notice in the office of the organisators, telling that on Monday morning, 4 a.m. inflation should begin, launch was scheduled for the afternoon, 4:30 p.m., also the order of the launch and that every balloon will get seven negroes for help.
The wind came from the south southwest, a huge wide open space lay ahead of the balloons, but also the Great lakes and the Canadian wilderness with deserted areas and gigantic jungles. Seven of ten balloons risked to jump across the Great Lakes and flew to Canada. It needed a lot of energy and love for competition to extend the flight up to these inhospitably areas. The German balloon HARBURG III (Lieutenant Vogt and W. F. Assmann) fell into Lake Nipising, when the crew reached the shore by swimming, where they were welcomed by Indians. Messner and Givaudan landed their AZUREA in the middle of the jungle and it took them three days to find an inhabitant area. Hugo von Abercron and August Blankertz were lost in the jungle for not less than 10 days. They had to leave their balloon back at the landing spot, were it was found three month later by Inuits.
Still before the race, big hopes had been set in America on Allan R. Hawley and Augustus Post. They had a superior win in the preselection flight from Indianapolis in September. Now exhaustion was even bigger, when after a message, dropped 24 hours after launch, no news came in the following days. The American aero club as well as the local club of St. Louis sent representatives to Ottawa and Toronto, to organize saving expeditions from there. Finally, after 10 days, a telegram came in. Sent from St. Ambroise it contained the following message: "Landed one week ago in the wilderness on the Peribonka River 50 miles north of Chicoutimi. Are both well and on the way back. Hawley and Post."
The landing-place was on a hillslope in 500m altitude. Augustus Post had hunted moose in this area some time before and so had a little knowledge about the Canadian forests. Their four-days-walk to the tent of a woodcutter was extremely arduous, for they had to carry with them all their food and blankets and Hawley suffered from a pulled tendon, he got from a fall.
Both pilots already had been together in the basket at the Gordon Bennett Race 1907. Augustus Post also was the co-pilot at the race in Berlin, who climbed through the skylight in Berlin-Friedenau after the 5-minute flight. With the 1910 flight they crowned their ballooning career and flew just for fun from then on. Instead, we meet Harry E. Honeywell from St.Louis for the first time this year, who will take part in totally seven races until 1924, but could never win.
Also other famous names can be discovered in the competitors list for the first time. Hugo von Abercron was present every year since the beginning. Oberst Schaeck and now Hauptmann Messner, winner of 1908 tried once again to gain victory for Switzerland in two balloons. Theodor Schaeck dies soon later. For this race, he had selected a co-pilot, who became one of the great Gordon Bennett pilots some years later: Paul Armbruster. For the first time Hans Gericke appears, he manages at once to reach the second place. We will hear from him in the following year.
Original report from Hawley about his flight to victory