Randell Bob Neely

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The Poca Post is pleased to announce an issue honoring Randell Bob Neely of Eleanor-on-the-Poca.

Randell Bob Neely was an aviator who came very close to making a historical powered flight. As history buffs will recall, Mr. Stanley Beemer of Buffalo-on-the-Poca had produced a steam driven automobile in 1889.  In 1902 Mr. Randell Bob Neely devised a flying machine that would be powered by Mr. Beemer's engine.  Since the automobile had been banned from the Poca River, Mr. Beemer was enthusiastic with his help.  In the early fall of 1902 Messers Beemer and Neely had constructed a flying machine with Beemer's steam engine.

The first test flight was scheduled for late October.  The engine was working very well, and Randell Bob took controls of the flying machine.  He taxied to the end of Emory Kunkell's hay field just outside of Eleanor-on-the-Poca, and revved up the steam engine.  Some may recall that Beemer's engine was powered by methane from pig manure, and the resulting fumes were very powerful.  In fact, this is why his machine had been banned from the Poca River.

Apparently, the fumes from the fuel reservoir and exhaust had a profound effect on Randell Bob.  He began his take-off with some wild turns, and as the flying machine reached take-off speed, Randell Bob was seen to slump forward. The plane lurched strongly to the right and crashed, destroying the machine and killing  Randell Bob Neely.

However, it was widely believed that if Randell Bob had not succumbed to the emissions of Beemer's engine, he would have made the first powered flight in history.

The stamp was issued on 27 June, 2002 in a pane of 20 stamps with the domination of 42 Poca Units.


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