For the last several years of this website's existence I have been marking or chronicling the birth of Joseph Fairchild Knapp 1892-1952 aka Dodi, Doty, Doade? Knapp. Although he is one of this stories central characters, I still probably know less about him than any other member of his family, even though I have had contact with some individuals that were around when he was and heard or knew of him. If his father Joseph Palmer Knapp was the master of the Low Profile, then Dodi was certainly the A Honor student and could probably teach his old man a trick or two about flying under the radar. But then again he was a pilot holding license #150 issued in 1917 by the Aero Club of America. The forerunner of today's FAA.
Phil Van Tassel a new old friend and recent "Knappster" told me he felt that this was going to be the year it all comes together for me. Phil may be right, as there have been some major breakthroughs starting in late December and continuing all through January..... Then on Feb 1, I had another big one ..... with the finding of two photos of the the rarest aero - squadron in U. S. Naval Reserve history... The Third Aerial Coast Patrol which is just a footnote in US Naval Records...
Last month I found this 1902 print from American Lithographic Company the huge printing conglomerate Dodi's father started in 1892 the same week Dodi was born. I love the expression on this kids face and hope it is an omen for whatever else comes my way this year. Again it's one of those Art Imitating Knapp Life prints, I have found many times before through the last 5 years. In 1902 young " Master Fairchild" as he was sometimes referred to in print, would of been 10 years old. I thought when I first found it, I'd unveil it on J F's birthday and start off February which is a big Knapp Month with a REAL BANG!
This photo too has a certain Knapp connection with the young fella inquiring how to make a wireless . It was through just such a device in 1952 or 53 that I first would make contact with Dodi Knapp. The radio equipment being demonstrated is not unlike the stuff I found in his barn in Mastic Beach.
PATCHOGUE ADVANCE SEPT 24, 1909 Joseph F. Knapp Jr. has a sure enough wireless .....Edward Boyston is building an airship at the Wyandotte Garage...
AND HERE ARE SOME OF THE CHARTER MEMBERS OF THE THIRD AERO SQUAD! STANDING AROUND ON THE KNAPP ESTATE CIRCA MAY - JUNE 1917. THEY ARE PROBABLY AT THE FOOT OF WHAT TODAY IS LOCUST OR JEFFERSON DRIVE. WITH THE BACKGROUND REMOVED THERE'S NO WAY TO TELL, BUT I HAVE ALREADY DISCOVERED WHERE THE ORIGINAL PHOTO MIGHT STILL BE.
AGAIN OUR HERO HAS DECIDED TO FLY UNDER THE RADAR AND DUCK THE PHOTO OP. HIS BOYHOOD FRIEND AND FUTURE BROTHER IN LAW, TOM DIXON IS THE GUY IN THE MIDDLE. HAROLD HOWE WAS THE GUY WHO FLEW HIS PLANE INTO THE OLD WOODEN SMITH POINT BRIDGE. THAT STORY AND MORE ARE IN THE KNAPP AERO FILES PAGES. THE "SHAM BATTLE" DESCRIBED IS IN THE NEXT PHOTO....
HEADING WEST DIRECTLY OVER SMITH POINT
The wing of the Curtiss Flying Boat is blocking out the bridge. That's the Hedges Hotel directly below and the Hanger just west of it. Up at the top of the photo is another flying boat heading east.