Colorado's DIY Spirit Made Aviation History

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In those days inventors were allowed to soar free. Invent,build,test. All without licenses,regulations or fees.It was a golden era of tinkering. I like Harry Rhoades photos. Check out his book. Its great.


Frank also owned and ran Denver's first airport Denver Union. Also Colorado's early airline Rocky Mt Airways. Air mail routes were also ran
in between air shows to get the public interested in aviation.
Most was lost in the great depression.
I'm his grandson Dana.Jules was one of the brothers. I was taught many skills and lessons from those two great guys Frank and John.
Frank loved everything about aviation from bi-planes to rockets.
I wish he could see the rockets I work with now-but he lives on in my heart.
Frank never returned to aviation after WWII instead he enjoyed the machine shop and helping his son Ed start his business.
We were very close and spent a lot of time together.

Frank first flew in Colorado in a Glider at 12 or so surviving a crash.
Jules was the first of the two to fly the Bleriot.
All three of the brothers were amazing.

Javier has done a superb job on the Bleriot and the book he has done with Philip Makanna is also spectacular.


Hi Dana - Thanks so much for sharing your memories of your grandfather. I was mightily impressed by Jules and Frank's can-do spirit and the fact that their creation is still airworthy. Colorado is lucky to have had them as residents. 


The photo at the top of this article is not that of the Vandersarl Blériot, and has previously been debunked as an image of that plane. The Vandersarl Blériot is identifiable by a unique adaptation the brothers created to accomodate the inline engine they installed, a curved piece of wood at the top of the box formed around the engine. This is not that airplane.

Also, the Wrights did not make their first powered flight in 1906. It was December 23, 1903. Earlier that year, they had filed for a patent based on the glider they flew in 1902, and that patent was awarded in 1906, but their iconic first powered, controlled, heavier-than-air, human-carrying flight was the one in 1903.

The correct date of the Wright Brothers first flight was Thursday, December 17, 1903. I believe the 23rd was the date that they returned home to Dayton from Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.


I have authentic pics in flight -original prints with negatives.
So Jim Wright Jr how would you "debunk" those....

Frank was a Great Aviator (not simply a pilot) that did many things to promote aviation to the public and not just use to make money.
For decades in early Colorado he did many aviation firsts and helped get aviation where it is today.
He does not get the historical notoriety he deserves. Guys like the Jepsons of DIA fame would come by the house and talk with him and you could tell Frank was one of their early hero's.

Hi Dana - There's no question in our minds that the Vandersarl brothers were pretty amazing aviators. Also, we'd love to see any additional pictures of their flight - and maybe even add a copy to our collection -shoot us an e-mail at sometime - and thanks for sharing your comments with us. 


The plane flew again in 2012 again proving the mods the VanDersarl boys did to the Bleriot plans.


Don't know if Dana will remember me. I met Frank and Dana at the Denver shop at 7th and I-25 around 1978 or 79. It was an amazing surprise to see the Bleriot at the Smithsonian in the Spring of 2023. Finally got it out of the shop and in a decent hangar. I have recently written down what I can remember about the encounter and other interactions with Dana after his grandfathers passing. Would like to share them as well as talk to Dana.

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