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DAVE DASHAWAY AND HIS HYDROPLANE

Or Daring Adventures Over The Great Lakes

By Roy Rockwood




CHAPTER I

THE YOUNG AVIATOR


"Telegram, sir."

"Who for?"

"Dave Dashaway."

"I'll take it."

The messenger boy who had just entered the hangar of the great prize
monoplane of the aero meet at Columbus, stared wonderingly about him
while the man in charge of the place receipted for the telegram.

The lad had never been in so queer a place before. He was a lively,
active city boy, but the closest he had ever seen an airship was a
distance away and five hundred feet up in the air. Now, with big
wonder eyes he stared at the strange appearing machine. His fingers
moved restlessly, like a street-urchin surveying an automobile and
longing to blow its horn.

The man in charge of the place attracted his attention, too. He had
only one arm and limped when he walked. His face was scarred and he
looked like a war veteran. The only battles this old warrior had
been in, however, were fights with the elements. He was a famous
"wind wagon" man who had sustained a terrible fall in an endurance
race. It had crippled him for life. Now he followed the various
professional meets for a living, and also ran an aviation school for
amateurs. His name was John Grimshaw.

The messenger boy took a last look about the place and left. The
old man put on a cap, went to the door and rather gruesomely faced
the elements.

"A cold drizzling rain and gusty weather generally," he said to
himself in a grumbling tone. "I'll face it any time for Dashaway,
though. The telegram may be important."

The big aero field looked lonely and gloomy as the man crossed it.
Lights showed here and there in the various buildings scattered
about the enclosure. The ground was wet and soft. The rain came in
chilling dashes. Old Grimshaw breasted the storm, and after half a
mile's walk came to a hangar a good deal like the one he had left.
There was a light inside.

"Hello, there!" he sang out in his big foghorn voice, thrusting the
door open with his foot and getting under the shelter, and shaking
the rain from his head and shoulders.

Two boys were the occupants of the place. They had a lamp on the
table, upon which was outspread pictures and plans of airships. The
older of the two got up from his chair with a pleasant smiling face.

"Why, it's Mr. Grimshaw!" he exclaimed.

"That's who it is," joined in the other boy cheerily. "Say, you're
welcome, too. We were looking over some sketches of new machines,
and you can tell us lots about them, you know."

"Got to get back to my own quarters," declared Grimshaw. "Some
other time about those pictures. Boy brought a telegram to Mr.
King's hangar. It's for you, Dashaway."

"For me?" inquired the lad who had first addressed the visitor.

"Yes. Here it is. Mr. King's away, but if you need me for anything
let me know."

"I'm always needing you," replied Dave Dashaway. "I don't know what
we'd do without you."

The young aviator - for such he was in fact and reality - took the
proffered envelope. He tore open its end and read the enclosure
rapidly.

"Why," he said, "this is strange."

"Any answer? Need me?" asked Grimshaw, moving towards the door.

"No, thank you," replied Dave in a vague, bothered way that made his
companion and chum, Hiram Dobbs, study his face with some
perplexity.

"I'd better get back home, then," said the old man. "Fine weather
for hydroplanes this, eh?"

Both Dave and Hiram proceeded to the door with the grim old fellow
who had so kindly taught them all they knew about aeronautics. When
their visitor had departed, Dave went back to the table. He sat
down and perused the telegram once more. Then he sat looking
fixedly at it, as if he was studying some hard problem. Hiram stood
it as long as he could. Then he burst out impetuously:

"What is it, Dave?"

"I'm trying to find out," was the abstracted reply.

"Who is it from?"

"The Interstate Aeroplane Co."

That name meant a good deal to Hiram Dobbs, and a great deal more to
Dave Dashaway. It marked the starting point in the aviation career
of the latter, and that in its turn had meant a first step up the
ladder for his faithful comrade, Hiram.

In the first volume of this series, entitled:

"Dave Dashaway, the Young Aviator; Or, In the Clouds for Fame and
Fortune," the career of Dave Dashaway has been told. The father of
the young airman had been a noted balloonist, and when he died a
mean old skinflint named Silas Warner had been appointed Dave's
guardian. Warner had acted the tyrant and hard taskmaster for the
youth. A natural love for aeronautics had been born in Dave. He
had made an airship model which his guardian had maliciously
destroyed. Warner had also appropriated a package dropped
accidentally by a famous aviator, named Robert King, from a
monoplane.

Dave had found this package, containing money, a watch and a medal
greatly prized by Mr. King. Dave resolved that this property should
be restored to the airman. He got hold of the lost articles, which
his guardian had secreted, and ran away from home.

After various adventures, during which he was robbed of the airman's
property, Dave managed to reach the aero meet at Fairfield. He
found Robert King and described to him the boy thief. The airman
took a fancy to Dave from the nerve and ability he showed in
experimenting with a parachute garment, and hired him.

About the same time Hiram Dobbs came along, ambitious to change his
farm life for an aviation career, and secured work helping about the
grounds. Mr. King sent Dave to Grimshaw for training. The
Interstate Aeroplane Co. wanted to exhibit its Baby Racer, a novel
biplane. Dave made a successful demonstration, and won the
admiration and good will of the company.

In a few weeks time Dave scored a big success and won several
trophies. His final exploit was taking the place of an aviator who
had fainted away in his monoplane, and winning the race for Mr.
King's machine. Dave was now the proud possessor of a pilot's
license, and had fairly entered the professional field.

The thief who had stolen Mr. King's property from Dave, a graceless
youth named Gregg, was found, and the property recovered. He had
also got hold of some papers that belonged to Dave's father. Gregg
through these had obtained a trace of a Mr. Dale, a great friend of
the dead balloonist. He had made Mr. Dale believe he was the real
Dave Dashaway, until he was unmasked.

Another bad boy Dave had run across was named Jerry Dawson. From
the start in his career as an airman this youth had been an enemy.
Dave had succeeded him in the employ of Mr. King, Jerry having been
discharged in disgrace. Jerry tried to "get even," as he called it,
by trying to wreck Mr. King's monoplane, the Aegis. He also
betrayed Dave's whereabouts to his guardian. Because Dave was right
and Jerry wrong, there plots rebounded on the schemer and did Dave
no harm.

Jerry and his father were exposed. They still followed the various
meets, however, just as Mr. King and Dave and Hiram did, but they
were shunned by all reputable airmen.

After leaving the aero meet at Dayton the proud possessor of a
trophy as winner of a one hundred mile dash, Dave now found himself
and his friends on the aero, grounds at Columbus. This was a summer
resort located on Lake Michigan. A two weeks' programme had been
arranged, in which Dave was to give exhibitions for his employers of
their new model hydroplane.

Hiram was practicing for a flight in the Baby Racer. The two
friends that rainy summer evening were interested in plans for the
coming meet and aviation business generally. The arrival of the
telegram once more introduces the reader to Dave Dashaway, now
popularly known as the young aviator.

The telegram which Grimshaw had brought to Dave was dated at the
headquarters of the Interstate Aeroplane Co., some three hundred
miles distant. It was addressed to Dave in care of Mr. King, and it
was signed by the manager of the company. It read as follows:

"Our sales agent, Timmins, reported from your quarters at Columbus
three days ago. Was due at Kewaukee this morning on big contract
with County Fair Amusement Co. Wired Northern Hotel there, where we
had forwarded all the contracts and papers, and he is not there.
Find him at any expense, and get him to Kewaukee before to-morrow
morning, or the Star Aero Co. will get the order. Fear some trick.
This means ten thousand dollars to us."

Dave read and reread this message, weighing every word in his mind
as he did so. Hiram sat watching him in a fever of suspense and
anxiety. Finally he exclaimed:

"See here, Dave Dashaway, is that Greek you can't make out, or have
you gone to sleep?"

"I was only trying to figure out this telegram," replied Dave
thoughtfully. "Here, read it for yourself, and see what you make of
it."

The young aviator passed the yellow sheet over to his curious
friend. The latter scanned it rapidly. Then, with startling
suddenness, his face twitching with excitement, he jumped to his
feet.

"What do I make of it?" shouted Hiram. "Just what the telegram
says - a trick! It's come all over me in a flash. Why, Dick, I know
all about it."




CHAPTER II

The "BABY RACER"


"You know all about it?" repeated Dave Dashaway, looking up in great
surprise.

"That's what I do," declared Hiram positively.

"What do you mean?"

"I'll explain."

"I wish you would."

"I'm a blockhead, that's just what I am!" cried Hiram. "I don't
know what possessed me that I didn't tell you all about it before."

"See here, Hiram," broke in Dave, "What are you talking about?"

"Why, about Mr. Timmins. You know he here night before last and
left us then?"

"Yes, Hiram, to go to Kewaukee."

"Well, he just didn't go to Kewaukee at all."

"That's no news, for this telegram shows that couldn't have done
so."

"You see, when Mr. Timmins got telling us about the big sale he was
going to make at Kewaukee," continued Hiram, "and how the Star Aero
people were bidders for the same contract, you warned him against
the Dawsons, and the people they are working for!"

"I know I did. That was because the Dawsons are stunting for the
Star people."

"Exactly. Then when I caught Jerry Dawson and Brooks, that precious
chum of his, sneaking around the Aegis hangar, I made up my mind
that they were up to no good. I know what they were snooping around
for, now."

"What was it?"

"To pick up what information they could about Mr. Timmins' plans,
so, when Mr. Timmins went away, I was awful glad. I felt pleased,
for Mr. King told as you know that he was a free and easy fellow,
friendly to everybody, and sometimes drank more than he ought to."

"Yes, I know that, Hiram."

"Well, last night I went to town to get some supplies for Mr.
Grimshaw. There's a tavern at the cross roads, and some men were in
there. I saw them through an open window. There were six of them.
Brooks was there, and Jerry and his father, and three more of the
crowd. They were playing cards and making a great deal of noise.
Just as I looked in some one pulled down the shade. I caught a
sight of the other man, though. Right off, even at the distance I
was, it struck me he looked like Mr. Timmins. Then I remembered
that Mr. Timmins had certainly gone to Kewaukee the night before, so
I put it off my mind. Now, I see the whole trick."

"What is that?"

"The crowd kept Mr. Timmins here, delaying and entertaining him.
Maybe later some of them led him still further away from Columbus.
Their man is probably on the spot at Kewaukee now, ready to get that
big contract for show biplanes."

Dave had been anxiously walking up and down the floor while Hiram
was talking. Now he took his cap off a peg and picked up an
umbrella.

"You wait here till I come back, Hiram," he said.

"Where are you going, Dave?"

"Down to the Aegis hangar. This telegram disturbs me very much. I
have no idea where Mr. Timmins can be, and something must certainly
be done about this contract."

"That's so, Dave," agreed Hiram. "It isn't exactly our business,
but it would be a big feather in your cap to help out the people who
are hiring you."

"That's what I want to do, if I can," replied Dave, as he left the
place.

The youth went straight to the Aegis hangar, where he found Grimshaw
tinkering over a broken airplane wing. Mr. King had a desk in one
corner of what he called his office room.

Dave was free to use this at all times. He opened it now, and for
ten minutes was busy with some railroad time tables he found there.
Then he consulted an aero guide map.

Grimshaw watched him from under his shaggy eyebrows, but said
nothing until Dave got up from the desk, buttoned his coat and
prepared to face the storm again.

"What's the trouble, Dashaway?" he asked.

"Why, Mr. Grimshaw?" inquired Dave, wishing to evade direct
questioning.

"You seem bothered about something, I see."

"Well, as a matter of fact, I am," confessed Dave.

"What is it?"

"I'm trying to find a way to get to Kewaukee," explained Dave.
"Something has come up that makes me think I ought to be there in
the interests of my employers early to-morrow morning. I am figuring
out how I can make it."

"See here, Dashaway," spoke the old airman in a grim, impressive
way, "don't you do anything reckless."

"I won't," answered Dave. "You know you once said I was all
business. Well, I'll always try to do my duty without any
unnecessary risks."

Dave laughed carelessly and got away from the hangar. A daring idea
had come into his mind. Perhaps Grimshaw suspected it, and Dave was
afraid he might. The lad knew that the eccentric old fellow liked
him, and would try to dissuade him from any exploit of unusual
peril.

"I'll do it, I'll have to do it or let the company lose out,"
breathed Dave, as once outside he broke into a run across the
aviation field.

Dave found Hiram winding the alarm clock as he re-entered the half
shed, half canvas house where the Baby Racer was stored. Although
they got their meals at Mr. King's headquarters, the boys had two
light cots and slept near to the machine which Dave had been
exhibiting.

Dave glanced at the clock, and Hiram noticing the look, said:

"Eleven thirty, Dave. I've set the alarm clock for five thirty.
You know that new hydroplane will probably come in on an early
freight. What's the programme?"

"Well, Hiram," responded Dave, throwing off his coat and hat, "I'm
going to dress up for a ride."

"Eh?" ejaculated Hiram, staring hard at the set resolute face of his
comrade.

"Yes, I've got to get to Kewaukee."

"Oh, you mean going by train?"

"No. Last one left an hour ago. Next one nine o clock to-morrow
morning."

"Automobile, then?"

"On the country mud roads we've been having for the last week?"

"That's so. Then - "

"It's the airship route or nothing, Hiram," said Dave. "I'm going
in the biplane."

"The Baby Racer?"

"Yes."

"On such a night as this! Why, Dave," began Hiram, almost in alarm.

"Don't say a word," interrupted Dave with a preemptory wave of his
hand. "I've made up my mind, and that ends it."

"It usually does," said Hiram. "If you're bound to do it, though,
Dave - "

"I certainly am."

"Ask Mr. Grimshaw's advice, first."

"Not for worlds."

"Why not?"

"I think he would try to stop me. See here, Hiram, I've thought it
all over. I know it's a hard, rough night, but I also know what the
Baby Racer can do."

"It's a pretty bad night to do any fooling in the air," remarked
Hiram.

"There won't be much fooling about it, Hiram. I know the chances
and, I shan't look for any fun. It is a bad night, I know, but the
wind is right, and I can head straight into it in reaching
Kewaukee."

"How far away is Kewaukee, Dave?"

"Ninety-five miles."

Dave, while he talked, had been putting on his regular aviator's
suit. As he finished up with a helmet, he noticed Hiram changing
his coat for a sweater.

"What are you up to, Hiram," he inquired quickly.

"Getting ready, of course."

"Getting ready for what?"

"The trip to Kewaukee."

"Oh, you think you're going?"

"If you are," retorted Hiram, "I know I am. Now, see here, Dave,"
continued Hiram, waving a silencing finger as Dave was about to
speak, "I know I'm not an aviator like you, and never will be. All
the same, I am some good in an airship, if it's only to act as
ballast. The other day when I was up with you in the Racer, you.
said I shifted the elevator just in time to save a smash up. In a
storm like the one to-night, you my need me worse than ever.
Anyhow, Dave Dashaway, I won't let you go alone."

The young airman looked at his loyal, earnest friend with pleasure
and pride. Hiram was only a crude country boy. He had, however,
shown diamond in the rough, and Dave appreciated the fact.

Hiram had made several ground runs in an aeroplane. He had gone up
in the Baby Racer twice with Dave, and had proven himself a model
passenger. As he had just hinted, too, he had been familiar enough
with the mechanism of the biplane to operate some of its auxiliary
machinery so as to avert an accident.

"You are the best company in the world, Hiram," said Dave, "but I
wouldn't feel right in letting you take the risk of a hazardous
run."

"Dave, I won't let you go alone," persisted Hiram.

Dave said nothing in reply. He went outside, and Hiram followed
him. They unlocked the door of the shed adjoining where the Baby
Racer was housed, and lit two lanterns.

"Get a couple of the nearest field men, Hiram," directed Dave, "and
I will have everything in order by the time you get back."

There was not much for Dave to do. Only the noon of that day they
had got the little biplane ready for a cross country spurt. Then
the rain came on, and they decided to defer the dash till the
weather was more propitious. Dave was looking over the machinery,
when a gruff hail startled him.

"Hello!" challenged old Grimshaw, appearing at the open doorway of
the hangar. "What you up to, Dashaway?"

Dave flushed guiltily. He was dreadfully embarrassed to be "caught
in the act" as it were, by his great friend, the old airman.

"Why - you see, Mr. Grimshaw - " stammered Dave.

"Yes, of course I see," retorted the old man firmly. "You're going
to start out a night like this."

"I've got to, Mr. Grimshaw," declared Dave desperately.

"Business, eh?"

"Of the most important kind."

"What is it?"

It was in order for Dave to explain details, and did so briefly.

"H'm," commented Grimshaw, when his pupil concluded his explanation.
"And so you thought you'd steal away without letting me know it?"

"Oh, now, Mr. Grimshaw!" Dave hastened to say - "that was not the
spirit of the thing at all."

"Go ahead, Dashaway."

"Well, then, I think so very much of you I didn't want it to worry
you."

"Roll her out," was all that Grimshaw would say, placing his one
hand on the tail of the biplane. "Hold on for a minute. Gasoline
supply?"

"Twenty-five gallons."

"That will do. Lubricating oil-all right. Now then, lad, hit that
head wind every time, and you'll make it, sure."





CHAPTER III

A WILD NIGHT RIDE


"Go!"

It was less than half an hour after the appearance of Grimshaw on
the scene that the Baby Racer was all ready for its stormy night's
flight.

The old aviator had fussed and poked about the dainty little
biplane, as if it was some valued friend he was sending out into the
world to try its fortune. Every once in a while he had growled out
some brief advice to Dave in his characteristic way.

Then he directed and helped, while two field men started the machine
on its forward run.

"Look out for telegraph poles, and watch your fuel tank," was
Grimshaw's final injunction.

Dave knew the Baby Racer just as an engineer understands his
locomotive. Daylight or dirk, once aloft the young aviator did not
doubt his own powers. The moment the Racer left the ground,
however, with a switch of her flapping tail, Dave knew that he was
to have no easy fair-weather cruise.

"Slow it is," the watchful, excited Hiram heard him say, working the
wheel as cautiously as an automobilist rounding a sharp curve.

Dave saw that everything depended on getting a start and reaching a
higher level. He kept the angle of ascent small, for the maximum
power of the engine could not be reached in a moment. The starting
speed naturally let down with the machine ascending an inclined
plane.

"It's slow enough, that's sure," remarked Hiram. "It's the wind,
isn't it, Dave?"

"We don't want to slide back in the air or be blown over backwards,"
replied Dave, eye, ear, and nerve on the keenest alert.

The wind resistance caused a growing speed reduction. The
sensitiveness of the elevating rudder warned Dave that he must
maintain a perfect balance until they could strike a steady path of
flight. Hiram's rapt gaze followed every skillful maneuver of the
master hand at that wheel.

"Good for you!" he chirped, as Dave worked the ailerons to
counteract the leaning of the machine. A swing of the rudder had
caused the biplane to bank, but quick as a flash Dave righted it by
getting the warping control on the opposite tack, avoiding a bad
spill.

The machine was tail heavy as Dave directed a forward plunge,
coasting slightly. He had, however, pretty good control of the
center of gravity.

It was now only a question of fighting the stiff breeze that
prevailed, and keeping an even balance.

Hiram's eyes sparkled as the Racer volplaned, caught the head wind
at just the right angle, and struck a course due northwest like a
sail boat under perfect control.

The engine was near the operator's seat, and on the post just under
the wheel were the spark and throttle levers on the fuselage beam.
The steering wheel was a solid piece of wood about eight inches in
diameter with two holes cut into it to fit the hands.

The passenger's seat now occupied by Hiram was in the center line of
the machine, so that, filled or vacant, the lateral balance was not
affected.

Hiram knew all about the monoplane dummy or the aerocycle with
treadle power for practice work which he had operated under old
Grimshaw's direction. As to the practical running of a biplane
aloft, however, that was something for him to learn. He was keenly
alive to every maneuver that Dave executed, and he stored in his
mind every new point he noticed as the Racer seemed fairly started
on its way.

"Keep me posted, Dave," spoke the willing Hiram. "If anything
happens I want to know what you expect me to do."

"I don't intend to have anything happen if I can help it, Hiram,"
replied Dave. "This is a famous start."

"It's not half as bad as I thought it would be," said Hiram.

The rain had changed into a fine mist, but the breeze continued
choppy and strong at times. Dave had gone over the course with Mr.
King in The Aegis twice in the daytime, and had an accurate idea of
the route. However, he had landmarks to follow. What guided Dave
were the lights of the various towns on the route to Kewaukee and
railway signals. These were dimly outlined by a glow only at times,
but Dave as he progressed felt that he was keeping fairly close to
his outlined programme.

Hiram chuckled and warbled, as he knew from Dave's manner and the
way the Baby Racer acted that his friend had it under full control.
Our hero attempted no fancy flying nor spurts of swiftness. Up to
the end of the first hour the flight had proven far less difficult
than he had anticipated.

"There's Medbury," said Dave at length, inclining his head towards
a cluster of electric lights below and somewhat beyond them. "That
means one-third of our journey covered."

"It's great what you and the Baby Racer can do, Dave," cried the
admiring and enthusiastic country boy. "We're going to make it,
aren't we?"

"If the wind doesn't change and we meet with no mishaps," answered
Dave.

A stretch of steady sailing was an excuse for Hiram to share a brief
lunch of ham sandwiches with Dave. The thoughtful Grimshaw had
provided these at the last moment of the departure of the biplane.

By the watch Mr. King had given him on the occasion of winning a
race for the Aegis, Dave found that it was a little after two
o'clock when the Racer passed a town named Creston.

"It's only twenty miles farther, Hiram," announced the young aviator
with satisfaction.



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