Friday, September 7, 2018

Arthur J. Hartman, Flying Saucer Pilot

A.J. Hartman flying a dirigible style” powered balloon 
during a 1907 Cedar Rapid, Iowa carnival.  

From Eastern Iowa's Aviation Heritage by Scott M. Fisher

"Hartman's Flying Saucer" was an experimental aircraft built and test flown in 1955 - 56 by an aviation daredevil and pioneer. Before we get to the machine, some background on the man from his entry at the Iowa Aviation Museum:


Arthur J. Hartman
Art was born July 14, 1888 in Burlington, Iowa. At the age of 15 he ran away from home to be a balloonist and parachute jumper. Under the pseudonym Professor Art J. Hart, he made his first balloon jump on September 6, 1903 and while still in his teens became an expert balloonist. After his marriage in 1909 he was employed by the railroad in Burlington. Most of his spare time was spent building a monoplane. On a spring morning in 1910 he took the monoplane to the Burlington Golf Club and became the first Iowan to make a recorded and witnessed flight with a heavier-than-air craft. After World War I, Art became interested in the Curtiss JN-4 airplane. He built, restored, flew, bought and sold Jennies throughout the rest of his life. In 1928 he built and sold his own designed plane, the Hartman Air Plane and later started a flying school which continued until 1948. He founded and managed the Burlington Municipal Airport and trained World War II pilots. He died at the age of 82, after being involved in aviation for nearly 70 years.
Art Hartman continued inventing and flying throughout his life, and in 1955, while in his mid-60s, he created a skycycle with a disc-shaped canopy for lift. He called it "Hartman's Flying Saucer."

The Hammond Times, Aug. 10, 1955

In October 1955, Hartman's Flying Saucer was ready for launch. The Burlington Hawk Eye Gazette, Sept. 9, 1955 reported on how it'd be part of his anniversary of 52 years of as an aviator.



Unfortunately, the weather die not cooperate. The flight was cancelled due to strong winds.

 Daily Independent Journal Oct. 4, 1955
Burlington Hawk-Eye Gazette, Oct. 15, 1955

One year later, Oct. 1956, Hartman's Flying Saucer took to the skies.

Burlington Hawk-Eye Gazette October 4, 1956

Experimental Flight For Hartman Air-Bike

     The October 4, 1956 issue of the Burlington, Iowa Hawk-Eye Gazette indicates that Art Hartman is up to his old tricks. Art, who conducted many an exhibition balloon flight in the days from 1903 to 1910 and who built and flew planes in the next decade, conducted his first experimental flight with an "air-Bike" he had rigged up. Art's bike was attached to about 50 hydrogen balloons of small size, while attached to the frame of the bike was a three-bladed propeller which turned by pedaling. A rudder aided in the control of this odd one-man flying machine. In his recent test, as brought out in the newspaper story, he was able to gain an altitude of 150 feet, while a long rope attached to the ground kept him from drifting away. In order to return to the ground, he merely cuts loose some of the balloons. Art plans a few improvements and he expects to be able to literally pedal through the air. 
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP, March, 1957, Number 56

Art Hartman proved his skycycle would fly, but it took the heart of a daredevil to do it. In his many years in the air in balloons and planes, some of Hartman's flights may have been reported to Project Blue Book as UFOs.  If so, the cases remain unidentified. 
Harrisburg Daily Register, Aug 31, 1955
In the Daily Independent-Journal September 29, 1955, Art Hartman explained how the Flying Saucer would be filmed, added to the biographical documentary on his career. His remarks on aerospace exploration serve as a fitting, inspirational epitaph:
Hartman said a film is being made of his exploits. Most of it is completed. Another section will be added Saturday. The title: "My 52 Years in the Air, From Balloon to Jet.” The sprightly Hartman took his first jet plane ride several months ago. He scorns the idea of retirement. "I’m out to get the title of ‘Mr. Aviation of the World,” he said Tuesday upon arrival at Hamilton Field. "Some of the early birds in the aviation age have to stick around to see the thing through. I’m doing my part.” 
"Sure,” he told the Independent- Journal, “I’m a nut. But it’s the nuts, us crazy guys, who have kept aviation moving. There’s no limit to what can be done in this field. Hartman related a conversation he had with the pilot on his first jet ride several months ago. “I’ve got an engagement with you,” he told the fellow. "One of these days we’re going all the way to Mars.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Frank Edwards: Making UFOs Newsworthy

Dr. J. Allen Hynek on UFO literature (in  The Edge of Reality , 1975): “If I were to recommend anything in the popular category, I would cho...