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Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Little Help From My Friends

It's been a busy week at work... having to complete four feature articles of 2200+ words apiece for our December issue... working my butt off creating some Pioneer of Aviation blogs (I'm doing one per week now) that take me to the middle of January.

Speaking of the latter blog... I was looking for information on a 1910 helicopter inventor, who used a tandem bicycle powered by pedals and human riders to turn an umbrella looking propeller... it didn't work - no kidding.

I knew the inventor's last name... and that's it. Japan--It's A Wonderful Rife reader Vinnie suggested the AHS, a Facebook organization that specializes in helicopter history as a resource... so I contacted them.

They didn't know much about Rickman, but contacted the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. They searched their archives and records and found, two weeks later, a single newspaper clipping that was about two inches deep.

It was from 1930, and talked about Rickman's next great helicopter attempt some 22 years after his last. It gave his work address, home address and full name.

Giddy with glee, I told Vinnie... who then did some digging himself... and found out when he was born, who he was married too and when.

I continued to dig and found out that he had about 30 patents. I then contacted his old place of business... the City of New York to see if they could find out anything for me on when his pension stopped owing to a death notification.

To be honest, I don't expect help from there, but the City of New York did respond saying my request has been forwarded to the right department, and that they would get back to me. I have a reference number for my request at the very least.

Vinnie then found a newspaper database I could access for the years 1797-1922... I looked up that helicopter inventor... and found one more piece of newspaper evidence... giddy with glee (again), I read about XXXX Rickman's helicopter... and then noticed it had a different first name from the one the Smithsonian had given me.

I figure the newspaper clipping I found simply had a clerical error... as there wasn't much of a mention of the inventor in that article, with me figuring that it was simply a newspaper writer asking someone who else was there at a 1909 aviation event to fill out his article. 

I'll be publishing my aviation findings in full in less than 20 days time.

My point... I just wanted to say thanks to Vinnie... a loyal reader of Japan-It's A Wonderful Rife, and a very, very good friend.

Also... this evening... two letter's of comment by my friend FFF - always a pleasure.

And Pat G yesterday! You guys... it's always a thrill to hear from you!

And... best of all... a phone call from Matthew on Friday evening to chat... and to tell me he;s going to Japan for another visit this upcoming week, with yet another stop back in our hometown of Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan.

He even remembered my wife's b-day... something I recall as of his call, that I probably forgot his wife's birthday.... so... Happy birthday, Takako!

Vinnie, FFF, Pat and Matthew, AHS and The Smithsonian - all Americans... and all taking time from their Thanksgiving holidays to share a moment with me.

It means a lot.

Oh yeah... a Smithsonian director wrote to me later and said he was impressed by the historical delving I have done on Pioneers of Aviation... it's a glimpse into aviation history written for people who like the real facts, and written for people who don't like dry historical tomes.

 https://av8rblog.wordpress.com/

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph



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