Director William A. Wellman adds another to his long line of salutes-to-aviation films in this bio of an aviation pioneer, John Montgomery (Glenn Ford.) In 1883 he built a practical glider ...
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Director William A. Wellman adds another to his long line of salutes-to-aviation films in this bio of an aviation pioneer, John Montgomery (Glenn Ford.) In 1883 he built a practical glider despite the opposition of his friends, who thought he was crazy, and of his family, who were afraid that his dreams of flying would hurt his father's political ambitions. He pursues his education at Santa Clara University where the Jesuits lend a helping and understanding hand. An earthquake destroys what appears to be a working model for an airplane, but a gold-sorting machine Montgomery invented, and then neglected, promises to provide for his financial needs to keep working on his aircraft until he gets involved in costly lawsuits defending his invention. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Montgomery was killed on October 31, 1911, when his glider, the Evergreen, crashed. His head hit a bolt on the glider, just behind an ear, penetrating his brain. His death was instantaneous, despite the more sentimental ending shown in the film, which was not a critical success upon its release. See more »
Montgomery's pilot was actually named Daniel Maloney, not Mahoney as portrayed in the film. See more »
Montgomery claimed to have flown his gliders in the 1880's but there were no wittiness, and no parts were kept... therefore it was just flights of his imagination. I have read the only book on Montgomery, by Father Spearman of Santa Clara University, and many claims are made but no real proof is given. I have also read Montgomery's papers which are a jumble of nonsense...the papers came to me from Northern Californians who support Montgomery's claims. Montgomery did build several gliders that were flown from hot air balloons in early 1900's, as shown in the movie, but these lacked any controls and tumbled to the ground...the daredevil "pilots" were lucky to survive! In 1911 Montgomery did build and attempted to fly his glider in San Jose. It had no lateral control, was rather crude, and it crashed after a short hop. He was killed in the crash. No motor could have been installed on his design. The Wright brothers made fully documented powered flights with 3-axis control in 1903! The Wrights were aware of Montgomery's claims and considered him a crackpot. One of the claims was his "parabolic wing"configuration but that was not valid...many others were aware of lift developed by curved airfoil surfaces.
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