On Feb. 24, 1908, Joel Troutt Rice and John Riggs formed the Hot Springs Airship Company. Rice, who had been working on aircrafts for over ten years, had two flying-machine patents in his name by 1901.
“The Arkansas Traveler,” Rice’s first aircraft, was tested in Hot Springs, where the machine rose about 10 feet off the ground before landing.
Riggs, the company’s treasurer, convinced Rice to move to New York. Here Rice created an improved model, the “American Eagle;” however the aircraft never flew. Legal battles between Rice and Riggs put all of the company’s work at a standstill.
– Alfred Warren, Ghidotti Communications