Rochester, N.Y., ca 1910. "Cooley Airship. The aviator sits in the front to manage the wheel and the engineer sits six feet behind to control the engines." John Cooley's giant kitelike aircraft, of a design dating to the 1890s, was something of an aeronautical dead end.
This "airship" was under construction in Rochester by New York City inventor John F. Cooley, reputedly with the financial backing of wealthy Rochester men. The gigantic aircraft measured 81 feet overall and 42 feet in width and was equipped with two six-cylinder, ninety-horsepower engines. Canvas stretched over wooden ribs covered the "hull" or cabin area. Four "planes" of "naiad aeronautical Irish linen" ran horizontally, two on each side, along the hull to give lifting power. Construction continued through the winter of 1910/11. In April of 1911, Mr. Cooley disappeared from Rochester and was reported to be selling stock in a New York City airship enterprise; workmen, left to finish the project, abandoned the aircraft. Finally, Mrs. Anna S. Burns, a grocer to whom Cooley owed $92, obtained a writ of attachment on the machine. The final fate of the Cooley airship is unknown.