October 5, 2013

Wings of Freedom is Coming to Town

     The Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Collings Foundation to bring the Wings of Freedom Tour to Union County on October 21-23. The authentically restored WWII aircraft that the Tour will bring to the Blairsville Airport are the B-17, B-24, and P-51.
     You can tour through these planes and even take a flight aboard for the ultimate immersion in history! Take a virtual tour right now by way of a video at this link: http://www.collingsfoundation.org/cf_flightexperiences.htm
     These planes fly on missions that are quite different than those of so long ago. Their mission for today is to educate the world about our courageous World War II veterans and to remember those who have left us. These aircraft stand as tributes to their crews and fly on as living history to enlighten future generations.
     Schedule your flight at this link: http://www.collingsfoundation.org/fe_scheduleflight.htm

July 25, 2013

Model of Dyer’s 1874 Airplane Displayed at Reunion

Model of Clark Dyer's Airplane                           Photo by Billy J. Turnage

        The rain didn’t come until after the 200-plus attendees at the Dyer-Souther Reunion had finished a sumptuous meal on Saturday, July 20, 2013. It had stopped by the time the featured guest, Jack Allen, concluded his remarks about the model he built of Micajah Clark Dyer’s 1874 flying machine and the model was presented to Mr. Ed Reed, Vice President and Past President of the Union County Historical Society, to be placed on display in the Old Courthouse Museum in Blairsville, Ga. The replica was on exhibit throughout the reunion, giving the public its first look at the remarkable work of Mr. Allen.
        This year, as well as in the past several years, the reunion was held at the Choestoe Baptist Church Family Life Center located on the Micajah Clark Dyer Parkway (State Hwy. 180), Blairsville, Ga. This is a fitting site for the reunion since the Dyer and Souther forebears first settled in this valley shortly after Union County was formed in 1832 from a portion of the Cherokee Nation. Some other family names that appear on the earliest records of the Choestoe Church are Nix, Hunter, Collins and others who were related by marriage or had other family ties.
        When the Scots-Irish settlers first moved into the area, there were five Indian trails that converged at this location: the Logan, Choestoe, Tesnatee, Trackrock and Enotah Trails. The intersection of these traffic lanes had already made the area into a thriving community. The new arrivals kept the same name the Indians had given the village, “Choestoe” which translates “the place where rabbits dance.”
        One of the youngsters who arrived with the first white settlers was 11-year-old Micajah Clark Dyer. Those who saw his many inventions throughout his life, the most remarkable of which was the flying machine, labeled him “a genius.” After his death in 1891, his patent and airplane were sold, and the family had only stories handed down orally about his invention for more than a century. There were no cameras or newspapers available in the mountain counties during Clark Dyer’s lifetime, and searches conducted by Ken Akins and Robert Davis in 1980 failed to produce any documentation about the airplane.
         Then, in 2004, Steven and Joey Dyer, great-great-great grandsons of Clark Dyer, located the patent for the airplane in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The patent office had loaded old patent files onto the Internet, which included Patent No. 154,654 issued on Sept. 1, 1874, to Micajah Dyer of Blairsville, Ga. for an “Apparatus for Navigating the Air.”  Later, more than a dozen 1875 newspapers published in towns outside the mountain area were discovered with articles about Clark Dyer’s invention.
         In recent years, the family has made efforts to gain recognition for the inventor. They make the case that this is not just for family heritage, but because it is an important historical event for the state, indeed for the nation, since no one preceded Clark Dyer in inventing a flying machine that was capable of controlled flight.
Jack Allen with his model
         Model builder, Jack Allen of Blairsville, is a retired Delta Airlines mechanic. He has been building models since before his retirement from Delta. One of the best known of his models is a replica of the Telstar 1 Communications Satellite that hangs in the lobby of the BellSouth Tower in Atlanta. His model of that satellite is displayed in the Georgia Rural Telephone Museum in Leslie, Ga.
        Jack crafted every piece of Clark Dyer’s airplane model to scale, working from the 1874 patent drawings and descriptions, which were silent as to dimensions, leaving Jack with the challenge of using coordinates to calculate the size of the many parts. 

Display with mirror showing bottom of plane
Family members agree that, truly, Jack has pro- duced a remarkable replica of the 19th century aircraft and proved himself to be worthy of the title “Master Builder.”

June 20, 2013

Model of Clark's Flying Machine at Dyer-Souther Reunion

Model To Be Displayed on July 20, 2013

Mr. Jack Allen will display his finished model of Clark Dyer's airplane at the Dyer-Souther Reunion and be available to provide explanations and answers to your questions.  The model will be donated to the Union County Historical Society for permanent display after the reunion.

Here are the details of the Dyer-Souther Reunion: It will take place on Saturday, July 20, 2013, at the  Choestoe Baptist Church Family Life Center on State Hwy. 180 (the Micajah Clark Dyer Parkway), Blairsville, GA 30512.
Mr. Jack Allen
Time: Registration begins at 11:00 AM; Covered dish meal at 12:00 noon; Reunion program at 1:00 PM.

Bring a covered dish or two. Plates, eating utensils and beverages will be furnished.

Plan to attend with all of your family and learn more about your heritage. Everyone is sure to enjoy it.

May 12, 2013

Story of Clark Dyer's Flying Machine included in Northeast Georgia Guidebook and CD

Cover painting by John Kollock
"Sautee Valley Spring" (1993)

    The secrets and history of eight northeast Georgia 
counties has been captured in a just released book and recording entitled Experience Northeast Georgia. The work was sponsored by the Habersham Electric Membership Corporation to celebrate its 75 years of service to this area. The stories were written and produced by Emory Jones, LLC, of White County and are narrated by the well-known artist and historian John Kollock of Habersham County.
      Of course, no history of this area would be complete without including the story of Clark Dyer's flying machine. It is recounted in the "Choestoe" portion (No. 31) of the book and recorded on the CD in a very delightful fashion.
     There are a total of 75 stories about people and places of historical significance across the eight counties. The book and CDs are available for purchase at the Byron Herbert Reese Farm and the Union County Historical Society in Union County and other retailers as listed at www.seenortheastgeorgia.com.

April 25, 2013

Work Is Continuing on the Airplane Model

The balloon frame for the flying machine is finished and ready for a covering to be prepared and installed. The pictures below show how the completed project will look.
It is very exciting to see the model of the 1874 airplane coming together!

March 23, 2013

The Foundation Is Participating in

Belk Charity Day Sale

20-70% Off!

The Micajah Clark Dyer Foundation is participating in Belk's spring charity sale on Saturday, April 27, from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. We have tickets for admission to the sale available for you to purchase right now!
        In return for purchasing a $5 ticket, customers can take advantage of specially discounted merchandise and other items throughout the store. Plus, they receive a $5 credit on Charity Sale purchases completely offsetting the cost of the ticket. Charities get to keep 100 percent of the proceeds from each $5 ticket sold.
        The first 100 customers in each store on the morning of the Charity Sale will receive free Belk gift cards ranging in value from $5 to $100, and a chance to win one of three $1,000 Belk gift cards awarded company-wide.
        This is a great fund-raising opportunity for the Foundation and a money-saving opportunity for you. All proceeds from sale of the tickets will be used to further the education of the public about Clark Dyer's 1874 invention of an "Apparatus for Navigating the Air" (the predecessor of the airplane) through making presentations to and producing and placing exhibits in museums, schools and libraries.
        You can get your tickets in person from Sylvia Turnage or order them by mail by sending your check payable to Micajah Clark Dyer Foundation in the amount of $5 multiplied by the number of tickets you want to Micajah Clark Dyer Foundation, 805 Low Gap Rd., Blairsville, GA 30512.
        Thank you for your participation!

February 20, 2013

Model Is Nearing Completion

   Here are pictures made yesterday of the work that Jack Allen has completed on the model of Micajah Clark Dyer's flying machine. Jack's model is based on descriptions in Clark's application for the 1874 patent. The pictures were taken from several angles to show how the moving parts fit together to control the direction of the airplane. It seems that the primary purpose of this invention was to prove that it is possible to control the direction of an aircraft by controlling the direction of air flow across the craft. While gliders and hot air balloons were in use at that time, a method had not been invented for controlling the direction of their flight. Pilots were at the mercy of the wind for their direction, sometimes resulting in death.
    You can see the hinged wings and three sets of paddles that Clark used for steering the airplane. The rudder was not attached yesterday when these pictures were made, but it was also used for steering. 
    Clark lived 17 more years after he invented this navigation method, but we have not found documentation for the improvements he made during those years. However, we know from testimony of eyewitnesses that he built an airplane that he flew over his fields some years before his death in 1891, securing his place as Georgia's first aviator.
     The model is nearing completion and we will continue to post updates to keep you informed.

January 22, 2013

Progress on the Model

Model builder Jack Allen has furnished new pictures of the model he is building of Micajah Clark Dyer’s 1874 airplane. These are shared below for your information and enjoyment. A completion date for the model has not been set yet. Many aspects of the machine require a lot of study and experimentation to produce a good replica.

Thanks for your dedication to the project, Jack.