Propeller, Martin Dragonfly, fixed-pitch, two-blade, wood

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

The importance of this artifact is historical rather than technological. The propeller is all that remains of an aircraft involved in a very early attempt to apply air power during the Mexican Revolution of the 1913-1914 time period. Rebel recruiters, operating in Los Angeles, procured an aircraft from the Glenn L. Martin Co., which was founded in 1912. This was a Curtiss-type pusher, with a secondary vertical stabilizer in front of the pilot. They also engaged the services of Martin instructor pilot Didier Masson, and two mechanics, Thomas and James Dean.

After smuggling the disassembled aircraft through Nogales, Arizona, they based themselves in Moreno, Mexico. These mercenaries then operated against three Mexican federal gunboats in the Gulf of California by attempting to bomb them with homemade 14 kg (30 lb.) bombs. While these missions were generally ineffective, they did pre-sage things to come with the rapid advancement in all the relative technologies involved.