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Baldwin No.8 / Signal Corps No. 1 / SC-1
 
Baldwin-8-01
 
On April 18, 1906, a massive earthquake struck San Fransisco. This was the great quake of 1906. Baldwin had one airship remaining, which he had relocated to Hammondsport, New York, before the earthquake. Baldwin then moved to Hammondsport and, in collaboration with Glenn Curtiss was able to use Curtiss's facilities for his continued airship work.
 
Baldwin's demonstration of the abilities of the "California Arrow near the end of 1904, very much impressed the US Army, and in 1907 announced a request for bids for an airship, the result of urgings by Chief Signal Officer Brigadier General James Allen. Baldwin was awarded a contract to provide the Army with an airship.
 
The "square" frames of the skeleton are 1 meter apart and the SC-1 has 30. The SC-1 has some tubes near the pilot used for pressure control of the inflated balloon.
 
In 1908 he delivered a 95-foot long airship which could be crewed by two, and the Army accepted it, and it entered inventory as "Signal Corps No. 1". Signal Corps Dirigible No. 1 was the first powered aircraft ordered for the Signal Corps by the Aeronautical Division of the United States Army. The craft fell short of a 2-hour, 20 mph objective to meet a $8,000 per unit award. The Army formally accepted the craft as Signal Corps Dirigible No. 1 paying $5,737.50 on 5 August 1908. The Army tested SC-1 at Fort Myer, Virginia and on 12 August, 1908 the first test flights were made with Thomas Baldwin as pilot, and another aviation pioneer as flight engineer - Glenn Curtiss. On 28 Aug. 1908 Lieutenants Frank Lahm, Thomas Selfridge and Benjamin Foulois were taught to fly the craft. Selfridge, known as being the first fatality from a heavier-than-air craft aboard a Wright Brothers aircraft (the Wright Flyer) flown by Wilbur Wright on September 17, 1908, less than one month after his first training on the SC-1.
 
 Baldwin-8-02
 
U. S. Army (Baldwin) airship "Signal Corps No. 1" (SC-1) outside old balloon shed at Fort Myer, Virginia, nose pitched upwards, probably on August 3, 1908, prior to the fully inflated and rigged airship being moved to the parade ground. Note not-yet-attached tail rudder section being carried by two men at right background, and "nurse" balloon tethered at left with extra hydrogen for airship.
 
Baldwin-8-04
 
Lieutenants Lahm and Foulois became the first "US Army Airship Pilots" on May 26th, 1909 when they became the first "airmen" to ascend in the SC-1 without Baldwin. After Second Lieutenant John G Winter Jr of the 6th Cavalry was assigned to duty in the Aeronautical Division, the balloon detachment was transferred to Fort Omaha, Nebraska.
 
On 26 May, pilot Lieutenant Lahm and Lieutenant Foulois made a flight in SC-1 at Fort Omaha, and manoeuvred the craft at will. SC-1 remained there until scrapped in 1912. The Army did not purchase another dirigible until after World War I.
 
Baldwin-8-03
 
After working with the Army to train Army Officers to fly the airship, Baldwin built at least another couple of airships in 1909. He then moved into heavier-than-air work, but joined the Army in WW I where he served the Signal Corps as Chief of Balloon Inspection and Production.
 
Baldwin-8-05
 
Powerplant: 1 × Curtiss, 20 hp (15 kW)
Volume: 800 cu.m
Length: 36 m
Diameter: 18 ft 6 in / 6 m
Weight: 1,360 lb
Useful lift: 1,360 lb (620 kg)
Maximum speed: 17 kn; 32 km/h (19.61 mph)
Cruise speed: 12 kn; 22 km/h (13.75 mph)
Crew: 2
 
 
 
 


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