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Baddeck No. 1

The Baddeck I was a replica of the Silver Dart. This type of aerodrome (aerodrome was a term used by Dr. Bell when referring to what today we call an airplane ) is referred to as a biplane which means an airplane having two wings, one above the other. One modification was made on the frame, they used hollowed metal tubes with modular connectors. These tubes offered several advantages; greater strength due to the depth of the ribs, being made of metal they were very durable, two layers of cloth could completely enclose the ribs, and the space inside the hollow metal was a good hiding space for the horizontal diagonal wires. Another unique feature of Baddeck I was the usage of light sail cloth to cover the wings instead of the special silk usually used for aerodromes. This new material was very light and strong as well as being impervious to wind and more durable. It was supplied with a 40 hp Kirkham automobile engine. The Baddeck I was the first plane of Canadian design and construction.

This plane was to be the prototype for the Canadian Aerodrome Company. Alexander Graham Bell felt that the Baddeck I was the finest aerodrome ever constructed and would receive fitting recognition if it would make some progressive flights. The plane was completed in July of 1909. It was a product of J.A.D. McCurdy, Casey Baldwin and workers from the Baddeck area. After its completion the people of Baddeck were allowed to view the aerodrome. The aerodrome was then disassembled and shipped to Petawawa, Ontario. The CAC had hopes of selling this craft and landing a contract for the construction of a second aerodrome. Baddeck I was assembled in Petawawa by the sixth day of August.

In a telegram from Bell, McCurdy and Baldwin were warned to take it slow the first day and avoid taking any risks. He said the main purpose was just to be able to show that the drome could actually fly. Then on the second day of testing they could show off some their aeronautical prowess.

The first flight of the Baddeck I took place at Petawawa on August 11, 1909. This was a successful attempt, with the craft flying a distance of 100 metres. Some engine failure was experienced and no further tests were made that day. The second flight took place the following day and was short in duration. It ended with a rough landing that damaged a wing and the running gear. This was a great disappointment because after this incident, the military didn't wish to view any more tests of the CAC aerodromes and remained sceptical of flying machines. The Baddeck I was unable to show its full potential, which it would later prove at the flying fields of Bentic Farm in Baddeck. At the testing site in Petawawa, the military officials did not take into account the conditions of the landing field. The field was freshly ploughed and had grassy knolls. Definitely not the most ideal conditions for landing any aircraft.

Baddeck No. 2

Built along the same lines as the CAC's prototype, the Baddeck II was the sister ship to the Baddeck I. The Baddeck II was successfully completed on September 11, 1909. She was built by workers from the Baddeck area employed by the CAC at the original CAC factory in Beinn Bhreagh. Two days later, the Baddeck II was barged to the new testing grounds along the Baddeck River at Bentic Farm.

During the first couple of tests, the aerodrome support wires slackened and required adjusting. She also required a greater angle of attack in order to produce more lift. These minor problems were dealt with from the seventeenth to the twenty fourth day of September.

On September 24, 1909, an attempt was made to fly the Baddeck II but was not successful due to the short distance the craft had for her run. Another trial flight was made five days later but it was to dark to note the result. The thirtieth day of September produced much more significant results. The first attempt produced an insignificant hop and rough landing. They were able to repair the damage immediately and resume testing. The second attempt with McCurdy as the aviator produced several short jumps of only a few yards. The engine was shut off and she landed gently on the grass. They switched aviators for the third attempt. Baldwin took the controls and was able to get the craft 3 metres above the ground for a half mile.

However the Baddeck II again landed badly, the wing and the tail section struck the ground producing significant damage to the landing gear and breaking some struts and wires. The craft was then held up for repairs resulting in a delay that would last until the ice formed on Baddeck Bay. Testing resumed on March 4, 1910. The Baddeck II promised to surpass anything accomplished by the Silver Dart the previous winter. Both the Baddeck dromes were the first aerodromes to use automobile engines successfully.


On March 2, 1910 the name was chosen for a tetrahedral triplane designed by Dr. Bell with the help of McCurdy and Baldwin as consulting engineers. The name of this flying machine was "Oionos." In the Greek language Oionos means "Omen." Bell assumed that this was the perfect name for his new creation, because in Greek history the feelings of the person at the time determines whether or not the "Omen" shall be good or bad. Bell was sure of a positive outcome towards this plane and he knew it would be a great success. Because of this the name Oionos made great sense.

This frail looking plane needed some changes, some of these included a new form of lateral control - a single vertical rudder. They also placed a flag upon a pole above the center of the machine to form the axis which was at the front edge of the wing piece.

By March 3, 1910 the Oionos was ready to be tested. Four days later Baldwin tested the Oionos with a small air- cooled engine. The plane moved along the ground at a speed of 19-24 km/h and seemed to steer easily. There were some mishaps such as the starboard wheel coming off during one of the runs which caused the plane to skid but no damage was sustained. Between March 10 and March 25 several tests were carried out but none were successful. During this period a thrilling incident took place on March 12 between the Oionos and the Baddeck II. Baldwin was conducting some tests going full speed just as McCurdy was making a landing in the Baddeck II. To the spectators behind it looked as if a collision took place. Everyone was relieved when they realized no one was hurt and there was no collision.

Bell's attempts at making a successful lightweight aerodrome from tetrahedrals had failed and the meaning of the word Oionos had changed from good to bad. A photo of the Oionos was taken on the ice of Baddeck Bay March 25, 1910.


The Mike Monoplane was a plane designed by Alexander Graham Bell. It was a modified design of the machine which Bleriot flew across the English Channel. Although the plane was built by Baldwin and McCurdy in the facilities of the Canadian Aerodrome Company, it was quite different from the previous dromes. The propeller was placed in the front of the plane instead of the back, and the front control was placed in the rear. The wings were like those of a bird when its wings are spread out, one single wing.

The monoplane made two flights on March 3, 1910, Alexander Graham Bell's sixty third birthday. On April 5, 1910, the Canadian Aerodrome Company, which was located in Baddeck, closed its doors due to unfavourable weather and financial hardship. The ice on Baddeck Bay was quickly disappearing leaving very little time for further trial flights for the monoplane. That same day the "Mike" made nine successful flights over the ice reaching an elevation of about 10- 15 feet. The plane was first flown by McCurdy and later by Gardiner Hubbard, the person who had commissioned the plane. These were the first witnessed flights of a monoplane in Canada.

According to the "Search for Yesterday," produced by the Baddeck Public Library, the Mike Monoplane was the third plane built by the Canadian Aerodrome Company. It was also the first plane built for export in Canada. Gardiner Green Hubbard was from Boston and took the plane with him when he returned.

The picture on the following page shows the Hubbard Monoplane on the ice of Baddeck Bay, March 11, 1910.

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