AN ITALIAN WRIGHT PILOT TO ANOTHER.
CALDERARA, MARIO. Autograph Letter Signed ("Mario Calderara"), in French, 8 pp recto and verso, conjoined leaves, 7 x 4 inches, Rome, May 11, 1909, to Paul Tissandier, with transmittal envelope. Together with 3 black and white photographs, each 4½ x 6½ inches.
Wilbur Wright came to Rome in April 1909 and, after having carried many VIPs as passengers on his machine at an airstrip at nearby Centocelle, gave lessons to Mario Calderara. He also gave a few lessons to Lieutenant Umberto Savoja, with the plan that Calderara would continue his instruction. Giovanni Pirelli, the tire manufacturer, had taken a flight with Wright and provided funding for an aviation club in Rome that would purchase a Flyer.
Calderara wrote to Tissander, one of Wright's very first pupils, less than a week after a serious air crash that left him concussed. The Italian explains: "after the departure of M. Wright I have made several flights without incident. My landings were not always the most elegant, but they sufficed. I believed myself a master of the aircraft." However, he begs the advice of Tissandier or the Comte de Lambert, since the other day he had an alarming crash. Providing a diagram of his flight, he explains that his last recollection is being at "point 2" on the diagram at a height of 4 or 5 meters from the earth. "They found me at point 3, but from point 2 to point 3 (200m), every memory is blank ... I remember no shock, no descent; I awoke in my bed." Upset and confused, he lists his injuries and regrets that the airplane suffered more damage. In desperation, he asks if Tissandier or Lambert have any idea how the crash might have occurred: "We are the three Wright pilots in Europe; that justifies [my writing to you]."
The photographs show: Wright in conversation outside the Italian factory where Flyers were being manufactured; a Flyer under construction, with Wright's second Italian pilot Savoja in attendance; Wright and a passenger in flight in Italy (postcard).