Neta purchased a wrecked Canuck, a Canadian version of the U.S. JN-4 Jenny, and had it shipped to her parents home in Ames. She returned to enroll again at Iowa State College and rebuilt the plane in her spare time. On the reverse of this photo is the inscription, The piano box where our old hens roost and our little new house where the others stay. Dankel's barn and their chicken house with the door open. This photo was taken behind the Wm. F. Snook home at 828 Wilson in Ames, Iowa, just a few blocks from downtown. People came to see it and asked, "How will you get it out of this small yard? Can you fly straight up? Which is the front end?"
By the spring of 1920 the plane was ready to fly. I removed the wings, loaded them on a truck, hooked the fuselage behind, and took the plane to a pasture which adjoined the Iowa State College campus. After assembling it, I made my first solo flight. That summer I carried passengers and barnstormed through the middle states. I charged $15 for a passenger flight, and tried to give each one fifteen minutes in the air. If there were many waiting, I could cut the time in half without complaints. All were happy to return to the ground safely and be able to say they had been up in an aeroplane. In the photo above, Neta is pictured with Vivian, her younger sister, and her mother, Adella May Snook. This photo is taken in Ames at the location where Neta often kept her plane, just west of Squaw Creek south of the Lincoln Highway where Iowa State Center is located today.
|This is a news article from the Ames Weekly
A mother yesterday soared over Ames. and circled over country surrounding, with her daughter at the pilot's wheel in the big bi-plane in which she flew. It was the first time on record so far as the Tribune can learn that a girl flier ever took her mother for a spin.
The mother was Mrs. W.F. Snook, 828 Wilson avenue. The girl pilot was Miss Neta Snook, her young daughter, who has been doing air stunts over Ames for many a day.
"I felt as safe as ever on the ground," said Mrs. Snook this morning. "We were up 12 or 13 minutes, circled around south of town, up over North Woods, where we looked down upon picnickers, and then around west of the college. I cannot tell you how delightful it was. Flying is a rare experience."
Neta's first pilot license
Neta wanted an official license as a qualified pilot in the International Federation. I contacted the Aero Club of America and they in turn contacted the Federation Aeronautique Internationale....They appointed three prominent business men of Ames, Iowa to observe my test and fill out the necessary papers. The tests were simple -- figure eights around mythical pylons in both directions and a dead stick landing within a specified circle. Finally it came -- that little blue book with my photo and license number. It was three years late, but "better late than never."
Neta's first publicity portrait was taken in a studio in Ames. My first contract was in Mount Carroll, Illinois, where I was born. I was paid $1,000 for two flights daily for three days, a big fee for barnstorming in 1920.
This photo taken near Mt. Carroll, Illinois,
shows engine maintenance being performed.
Note that the Canuck is staked to the ground and the rear compartment is covered with a tarp.