When Thomas D. Cabot '19--namesake of Cabot House and the Cabot Science complex--was an undergraduate he could be found flying 1000 feet over Corpus Christi, Texas, with no navigational equipment, no altimeter, and hot oil in his face, he said-yesterday in a talk sponsored by the Harvard Flying Club.
Cabot, honorary chairman of the Cabot Corporation, returned to Harvard this week to regale an intimate group of 10 at Boylston Hall with this story and a host of other high-flying experiences including World War I and 1910 Harvard Air Show stories.
"During my sophomore year the war came to America and I went to the Curtis Flying School," Cabot said. After completing flight school, he became an instructor at Kelly Field where there were originally "Just a few shacks and no hangars for the planes."
"Those were some exciting times," Cabot said. "We did a lot of cross country flying following rivers or railroads."
But in 1918 Cabot ended his flying career to return home to his future wife. "She said she wouldn't marry one of those flyboys, and I said I wouldn't take to the stick again. And I never have," Cabot said.
Cabot's flying career started in 1910 when, at the age of 13, he served as a judge at the Harvard Air Show. "I had a job on the salt flats making sure the planes rounded the outside not the inside pylon. If they cut the corner I had to raise my red flag," Cabot recalled.