TWT logo

Together We Teach
Reading Room

Take time to read.
Reading is the
fountain of wisdom.

| Home | Reading Room Tom Swift And His Sky Racer

Tom Swift And His Sky Racer
or The Quickest Flight on Record
by Victor Appleton

< BACK    NEXT >



Chapter Twenty Four

Won by a Length

Rising upward, on a steep slant, for he wanted to get into

the upper currents as soon as possible, Tom looked down and

off to his left and saw one machine going over the ground in

curious leaps and bounds. It was the tiny Demoiselle--the

smallest craft in the race, and its peculiar style of

starting was always thus manifested.

"I don't believe he's going to make it," thought Tom.

He was right. In another moment the tiny craft, after

rising a short distance, dove downward, and was wrecked. The

young inventor saw the two men crawling out from the tangled

planes and wings, apparently uninjured.

"One contestant less," thought Tom, grimly, though with

pity in his heart for the unfortunates.

However, he must think of himself and his own craft now.

He glanced at Mr. Damon sitting beside him. That odd

gentleman, with never a thought of blessing anything now,

unless he did it silently, was watching the lubricating

system. This was a vital part of the craft, for if anything

went wrong with it, and the bearings overheated, the race

would have to be abandoned. So Tom was not trusting to any

automatic arrangement, but had instituted, almost at the

last moment, a duplicate hand-worked system, so that if

one failed him he would have the other.

"A good start!" shouted Mr. Damon in his car.

Tom nodded, and glanced behind him. On a line with the

Humming-Bird, and at about the same elevation, were the

Bleriot monoplane and a Wright biplane. Below were the

Santos-Dumont and the Antoinette.

"Where's the Slugger?" called Tom to his friend.

Mr. Damon motioned upward. There, in the air above Tom's

machine, and slightly in advance, was Andy Foger's craft. He

had gotten away in better shape than had the Humming-Bird.

For a moment Tom's heart misgave him. Then he turned on

more power, and had the satisfaction of mounting upward and

shooting onward until he was on even terms with Andy.

The bully gave one glance over toward his rival, and

pulled a lever. The Slugger increased her speed, but Tom was

not a second behind him.

There was a roaring noise in the rear, and up shot De

Tromp in the Farman, and Loi Tong, the little Japanese, in

the Santos-Dumont. Truly the race was going to he a hotly

contested one. But the end was far off yet.

After the first jockeying for a start and position, the

race settled down into what might be termed a "grind." The

course was a large one, but so favorable was the atmosphere

that day, and such was the location of Eagle Park in a great

valley, that even on the far side of the great ellipse the

contestants could be seen, dimly with the naked eye, but

very plainly with glasses, with which many of the spectators

were provided.

Around and around they went, at no very great height, for

it was necessary to make out the signals set up by the race

officials, so that the contestants would know when they were

near the finish, that they might use the last atom of speed.

So at varying heights the wonderful machines circled about

the course.

The Humming-Bird was working well, and Tom felt a sense of

pride as he saw the ground slipping away below him. He felt

sure that he would win, even when Alameda, the Spaniard, in

the Antoinette, came creeping up on him, and even when Andy

Foger, with a burst of speed, placed himself and his

passenger in the lead.

"I'll catch him!" muttered Tom, and he opened the throttle

a trifle wider, and went after Andy, passing him with ease.

They had covered about thirty miles of the course, when

the humming and crackling of the wireless apparatus told Tom

that a message was coming. He snapped the receiver to his

ear, adjusting the outer covering to shut out the racket of

the motor, and listened.

"Well?" asked Mr. Damon, as Tom took off the receiver.

"Dad isn't quite so well," answered the lad. "Mr. Jackson

says they have sent for Dr. Hendrix again. But dad is game.

He sends me word to go on and win, and I'll do it, too,


Tom paused, and choked back a sob. Then he prepared to get

more speed out of his motor.

"Of course you will!" cried Mr. Damon. "Bless my--!"

But they encountered an adverse current of wind at that

moment, and it required the attention of both of the

aviators to manage the machine. It was soon on an even keel

again, and once more was shooting forward around the course.

At times Tom would be in advance, and again he would have

to give place to the Curtis, the Farman, or the Santos-

Dumont, as these speedy machines, favored by a spurt from

their motors, or by some current of air, shot ahead. But, in

general, Tom maintained the lead, and among the spectators

there began a series of guesses as to how much he would win


Tom glanced at the barograph. It registered a little over

twelve hundred feet. He looked at the speed gage. He was

doing a trifle better than a hundred miles an hour. He

looked down at the signals. There was twenty miles yet to

go. It was almost time for the spurt for which he had been

holding back. Yet he would wait until five miles from the

end, and then he felt that he could gain and maintain a


"Andy seems to be doing well," said Mr, Damon.

"Yes, he has a good machine," conceded Tom.

Five miles more were reeled off. Then an other five.

Another round of that distance and Tom would key his motor

up to the highest pitch, and then the Humming-Bird would

show what she could do. Eagerly Tom waited for the right


Suddenly the wireless began buzzing again. Quickly the

young inventor clamped the receiver to his ear. Mr. Damon

saw him turn pale.

"Dr. Gladby says dad has a turn for the worse. There is

little hope," translated Tom.

"Will you--are you going to quit?" asked Mr. Damon.

Tom shook his head.

"No!" he cried. "My father has become unconscious, so Mr.

Jackson says, but his last words were to me: 'Tell Tom to

win the race!' And I'm going to do it!"

Tom suddenly changed his plans. There was to be no waiting

for the signal now. He would begin his final spurt, and if

possible finish the hundred miles at his utmost speed, win

the race and then hasten to his father's side.

With a menacing roar the motor of the Humming-Bird took up

the additional power that Tom sent into her. She shot ahead

like an eagle darting after his prey. Tom opened up a big

gap between his machine and the one nearest him, which, at

that moment, was the Antoinette, with the Spaniard driving


"Now to win!" cried Tom, grimly.

Surely no race was ever flown as was that one! Tom flashed

through the air so quickly that his speed was almost

incredible. The gage registered one hundred and thirty miles

an hour!

Down below in the grand stands, and on the aviation field,

there were yells of approval--of wonder--of fear. But Tom

and Mr. Damon could not hear them. They only heard the

powerful song of the motor.

Faster and faster flew the Humming-Bird Tom looked down,

and saw the signal put up which meant that there were but

three miles more to go. He felt that he could do it. He was

half a lap ahead of them all now. But he saw Andy Foger's

machine pulling away from the bunch.

"He's going to try to catch me!" exulted Tom.

Then something happened. The motor of the Humming-Bird

suddenly slackened its speed, it missed explosions, and the

trim little craft began to drop behind.

"What's the matter?" cried Mr. Damon.

"Three of the cylinders are out of business!" yelled Tom.

"We're done for, I guess."

On came the other machines, Andy in the lead, then the

Santos-Dumont, then the Farman, and lastly the Wright. They

saw the plight of the Humming-Bird and determined to beat

her. Tom cast a despairing look up at the motor. There was

nothing to be done. He could not reach it In mid-air. He

could only keep on, crippled as he was, and trust to luck.

Andy passed by his rival with an evil smile on his ugly

face. Then the Antoinette flashed by. In turn all the others

left Tom in the rear Toms heart was like lead. Mr. Damon

gazed blankly forward. They were beaten. It did not seem


There was but a single chance. If Tom shut off all power,

coasted for a moment, and then, ere the propeller had ceased

revolving, if he could start the motor on the spark, the

silent cylinders might pick up, with the others, and begin

again. He would try it. They could be no worse off than they


"A mile behind!" gasped Tom. "It's a long chance, but I'll

take it."

He shut off the power. The motor was silent. the Humming-

Bird began to fall. But ere she had gone down ten feet Tom

suddenly switched on the batteries. There was a moment of

silence, and then came the welcome roar that told of the

rekindled motor. And such a roar as it was! Every cylinder

was exploding as though none of them had ever stopped!

"We did it!" yelled Tom. Opening up at full speed, he sent

the sky racer on the course to overtake and pass his rivals.

Slowly he crept on them. They looked back and saw him

coming. They tried to put on more speed, but it was

impossible. Andy Foger was in the lead. He was being slowly

overhauled by the Santos-Dumont, with the queer tail-


"I'll get him!" muttered Tom. "I'll pass 'em all!"

And he did. With a wonderful burst of speed the little

Humming-Bird overtook one after another of her larger

rivals, and passed them. Then she crept up on Andy's


In an instant more it was done, and, a good length in

advance of the Foger craft, Tom shot over the finish line a

winner, richer by ten thousand dollars, and, not only that,

but he had picked up a mile that had been lost, and had

snatched victory from almost certain defeat.

There was a succession of thundering cheers as he shut off

the motor, and volplaned to earth, but he paid little

attention to them. He brought his craft to a stop just as

the wireless on it buzzed again.

He listened with a look of pain on his face.

"My father is dying," he said simply. "I must go to him.

Mr. Damon, will you fill the tanks with oil and gasoline,

while I send off a message?"

"Oil and gasoline," murmured the odd man, while hundreds

pressed up to congratulate Tom Swift "What are you going to


"I'm going to my father in the Humming-Bird, said Tom.

"It's the only way I can see him alive," and he began to

click off a message to Mr. Jackson, stating that he had won

the race and was going to fly to Shopton, while Mr. Damon

and several others replenished the fuel and oil of the


Tom Swift had won one race. Could he win the other?



Top of Page

< BACK    NEXT >

| Home | Reading Room Tom Swift And His Sky Racer





Why not spread the word about Together We Teach?
Simply copy & paste our home page link below into your emails... 

Want the Together We Teach link to place on your website?
Copy & paste either home page link on your webpage...
Together We Teach 






Use these free website tools below for a more powerful experience at Together We Teach!

****Google™ search****

For a more specific search, try using quotation marks around phrases (ex. "You are what you read")


*** Google Translate™ translation service ***

 Translate text:


  Translate a web page:

****What's the Definition?****
(Simply insert the word you want to lookup)

 Search:   for   

S D Glass Enterprises

Privacy Policy

Warner Robins, GA, USA