Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Armstrongs Seadromes



Edward R. Armstrong, of Holly Oak, Delaware, a circus strongman, before he became an able engineer in 1933 or so, with an idea to solve a problem with Trans-Atlantic air flights, being the short distance a airplane could safely fly with a load of people.

He called them Airdromes, sort of an aircraft carrier, or floating platform, big enough to have a 1200 runway or landing strip, service stations, weather and directional station, hotel and restaurant., to be located to serve as stepping stones to overseas point as necessary.

In the 1920's and 1930's fleets of passenger ships carried thousands of vacationers, immigrants and other travelers between America and Europe and made this idea practical. Models were built and tested, approved and read to build and locate, but, the Great Depression came, and funds dried up.

In 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt became President and began to bring the country our of the depression and his Secretary of Commerce, Daniel Roper took notice of Armstrong's idea and announced the PWA would begin a 1.5 million dollar project, in the shelter of the Delaware Breakwater. This meant $6,000,000 and 10,000 construction jobs for the south of Delaware.

Harold Ickes, Secretary of Interior, under Roosevelt, denied the 1.5 million allocation.

Meanwhile, Charles Lindbergh, Igor Sikorsky, Eddie Rickenbacker, and other aviators foresaw the ability to develop long range airplanes and did so.

The construction of Airdromes at Lewes Breakwater was abandoned before the first worker was hired.

Source: Delaware Coast Press, November 9 2016, Michael Morgan, Delaware Diary
Time, November 27 1933 ; “Airports Across The Ocean” Stewart Nelson.

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