Napier mechanic Bertram Ogilvie saw the Wright plane
in 1907 and decided he could improve on their warp control
to bank aircraft by using automatically-controlled ailerons.

Arthur Pickard Hawkins
A model was constructed. Arthur Pickard Hawkins,
one of Mr.Ogilvie's employers at Hawkins & Rome, and late of the
11th Hussars, arranged a syndicate to finance the project,
(the Hussars later formed the Royal Flying School).
Patent rights costing 800 were obtained in the principle countries of the world in 1909.
With several enthusiastic workers, construction of the first bi-plane began.
Work was carried out in a hangar along Riverbend Road, Napier....
....where a 30-metre long x 6-metre high ramp was later built
to aid the machine's lift-off.
Three machines were built in all, none of which flew as the engine was not powerful enough.
The first bi-plane was built of white pine, (kahiketea), with broomsticks for struts,
yacht rigging screws as turnbuckles and piano hinges for ailerons or flaps.
A 10-horsepower, two cylinder V-twin engine
with a 2.45-metre diameter hickory propellar
was built. However, the engine was not
powerful enough to turn it, so the propellar
was whittled down until it could.
An adjustable pitch prop of steel tube and
aluminium blades was constructed
and functioned fairly well.
In March 1910, Mr. Ogilvie's experiments attracted the attention of Field Marshal Lord Kitchener,
who was visiting New Zealand. He encouraged Mr. Ogilvie and Hawkins to conduct further trials in England.
En-route, Mr.Ogilvie designed a tri-plane and had it
built by aircraft constructors Handley Page.
The Hawkins-Ogilvie machine with ailerons connected
by an automatic balancing device, had a 7.6-metre
span and a four cylinder 50hp water-cooled
Alvaston engine. After initial problems with the
engine, (eventually replaced by the makers),
the plane proved to be a speedy flier and the
patented automatic balancing apparatus a success.
The aircraft reached heights of 61 metres during trials in the Winchester area.

Shortly after making a crash-landing through running out of petrol,
(breaking only a few struts and a skid), the plane was moved to Brooklands.

Colonel Capper of Farnborough, (Commandant of the Balloon School U.K. from 1903 to his retirement
in 1910),became interested in the machine, offering to build a hangar at Shorncliffe.
The machine was entered in a race to cross the English channel,

(Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines ???),
which had a 4000 prize but the syndicate ran out of finance and was
forced to sell the machine and return to Napier.

THE ROMANCE OF AVIATION IN NAPIER
The text on the right has been retyped from a very rough original
(but still word for word). It seems to have been written up many years ago
by someone who wished the information to be recorded for posterity,
and was among Arnold Wright’s photo collection on aviation.

(click to read)
It provides an explanation to photos in a little album covering Bertram Ogilvie’s
(early 1907 on) aircraft experiments at the Riverbend Road site.

It appears Arnold may have loaned or given the album to another party
as it was presented to the Hawke’s Bay museum some years ago.
The photos appear to be from one of Arnold’s early cameras (possibly his fathers?) as there
are other photos in Arnold’s collection of the same size and the same era, in similar albums.

Without the text to the photos in the album it left the Ogilvie “story” incomplete
Now they are both together again we have fascinating historical record of a very talented man,
one could say. It would be great to “come across” some of his designs one day.


Bertram Ogilvie in one of the
3 "machines" built

Bert, (as his friends called him),
doing an engine test 'run up'.
 
Titled "A Mishap". Bert in the waistcoat.
The lady? Possibly a
Miss Chadwick.
Mr. Ogilvie remained interested in aviation, keeping in close contact with the
Napier Aero Club. He built a model of a direct-lift machine around 1936.
He died in 1944.

"The Morning After" the mishap...
...and they must have had many
hearbreaking disappointments.
   
Some of the team enjoying what they call
"refreshments"
The Riverbend Road hangar

We assume this photo of a group on board one of The Napier Ports ‘Lighters’
could be possibly Ogilvie and Hawkins on their departure to England,
as it was among the photos covering the Aircraft experiments at Riverbend Road.
We had thought it may have been Lord Kitchener arriving or departing.
Bert’s Grandaughter has been doing some research and discovered Kitchener arrived and departed Napier by car.
We can not ID’ any of the group, as they could be well wishers to see them on there way or other passengers
being shuttled out to the larger o’seas ships that used to lay out in the harbour,
due to the lack of depth at the Napier port to accommodate them at that time.

This could be the UK hangar at 'Pitt Down' near Winchester
or 'Pitton' near Salisbury. Perhaps someone from the UK may be|
able to
contact us with some info?? Our records state Pitt as the
test-flight area for the Handley-Page triplane.
The negative for this photo is over 94 years old
and, it seems, a different type from all the others.

The 2nd flying-machine built by Bertram Ogilvie...
perched on top of the 100-foot launching pad which he built
to test it. Photo taken in 1909 at his Riverbend Road property.

A little postscript to the Ogilvie story...

Ogilvie, Hawkins and the support team faced continual setbacks in Napier.
It must have been very, very frustrating for them. Without an engine with sufficient power to test-fly their incorporated aileron design, and having to build three aircraft, we have to admire their dedicated persistance.

Again, later, with the disasterous financial losses through having to sell the Handley Page triplane, (UK 1911/12), Bertram and Arthur's return to Napier must have been a very sad occasion. The triplane did incorporate the aileron design and did fly satisfactorily on test flights. It must have been devastating, too, for all those involved back in Napier, including the syndicate who had backed the patents and the trip to the UK.

All they needed were funds to modify an aircraft which did perform reasonably well.
Having to abandon this project simply because of this...painful.

It is interesting to note that Colonel Capper became so enthusiastic about the triplane, he offered to build a hangar for it, and to provide help in the aircraft's development.

When the funds finally ran out for the Ogilvie-Hawkins project, the aircarft was purchased by...someone...and trailered off to Brooklands airfield - where we lose track of it.

What happened to it at Brooklands? Were the required modifications carried out? Did it fly again?
It was booked to fly the English Channel. Did it? It's all a bit of a mystery which is worth a follow-up.
We do hope someone in th UK can take up this task.

Colonel Capper - to quote from a UK gliding magazine - was a "proper, British army officer" of the East India Coy, in charge of developing balloons for artillery observation prior to WW1. Back then, he harboured a secret vision of manned-flight and hired American aviator, Samual J. Cody, to help him.
Ogilvie and Hawkins were among some pretty 'with it' people for the times.