Tag Archives: Frank Monroe Hawks

4–5 February 1929

Frank Hawks with the red and silver Lockheed Air Express, NR7955. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)

4–5 February 1929: At 5:37:30 p.m., Pacific Time, Monday, Frank Monroe Hawks took off from Metropolitan Field, Los Angeles, California, (now known as Van Nuys Airport, VNY) in a new Lockheed Model 3 Air Express transport, NR7955, serial number EX-2. Also on board was Oscar Edwin Grubb, the final assembly superintendent for Lockheed. The pair flew non-stop to Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York, arriving there at 2:59:29 p.m., Eastern Time, on Tuesday. The duration of the flight was 18 hours, 21 minutes, 59 seconds.

Oscar Edwin Grubb and Frank Monroe Hawks, shortly before departing for New York, 4 February 1929. (Getty Images)

The only previous non-stop West-to-East flight had been flown during August 1928 by Arthur C. Goebel, Jr., and Harry Tucker with their Lockheed Vega, Yankee Doodle, NX4769. Hawks cut 36 minutes off of Goebel’s time.

Lockheed Model 3 Air Express NR7955, photographed 1 February 1929. The Air Express was the first production airplane to use the new NACA cowling design. (Crane/NACA)

Hawks was a technical adviser to The Texas Company (“Texaco”), a manufacturer and distributor of petroleum products which sponsored the flight. On his recommendation, the company purchased the Air Express from Lockheed for use as a company transport.

On 17 January 1930, “Pilot Frank Hawks attempted a takeoff from a soggy field in West Palm Beach, Florida, destroying the aircraft christened ‘Texaco Five’ in a spectacular crash that catapulted it into a row of three parked aircraft. All three occupants were unhurt while the aircraft was destroyed.” —Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives

NC7955’s Department of Commerce registration was cancelled 31 January 1930.

The Lockheed Model 3 Air Express was a single-engine parasol-wing monoplane transport, flown by a single pilot in an open aft cockpit, and capable of carrying 4 to 6 passengers in its enclosed cabin. The airplane was designed by Gerard Freebairn Vultee and John Knudsen Northrop. It used the Lockheed Vega’s molded plywood monocoque fuselage.

The Model 3 received Approved Type Certificate No. 102 from the Aeronautic Branch, U. S. Department of Commerce.

The Lockheed Air Express was the first production airplane to use the “NACA Cowl,” an engine cowling for radial engines which had been designed by a team led by Fred Ernest Weick of the the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. The new cowling design tightly enclosed the engine and used baffles to control air flow around the hottest parts of the engines. The exit slots were designed to allow the air to exit the cowling at a higher speed than it had entered the intake. The new cowling design provided better engine cooling and caused significantly less aerodynamic drag. The addition of the NACA cowling increased the Air Express’s maximum speed from 157 to 177 miles per hour (253 to 285 kilometers per hour).

The day following Hawks’ transcontinental flight, Vultee sent a telegram to NACA:

COOLING CAREFULLY CHECKED AND OK. RECORD IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT NEW COWLING. ALL CREDIT DUE TO NACA FOR PAINSTAKING AND ACCURATE RESEARCH. GERRY VULTEE, LOCKHEED AIRCRAFT CO.

The Lockheed Model 3 Air Express was 27 feet, 6 inches (8.382 meters) long with a wing span of 42 feet, 6 inches (12.954 meters) and height of 8 feet, 4½ inches (2.553 meters). The wing area was 288 square feet (26.756 square meters). The wing had no dihedral. The airplane had an empty weight of 2,533 pounds (1,149 kilograms) and gross weight of 4,375 pounds (1,984 kilograms).

The Model 3 was powered by an air-cooled, supercharged 1,343.804-cubic-inch-displacement (22.021 liter) Pratt & Whitney Wasp C nine cylinder, direct-drive radial engine. The Wasp C was rated at 420 horsepower at 2,000 r.p.m. at Sea Level. It was 3 feet, 6.63 inches (1.083 meters) long, 4 feet, 3.44 inches (1.307 meters) in diameter, and weighed 745 pounds (338 kilograms).

The Air Express had a cruising speed of 135 miles per hour (217 kilometers per hour), and maximum speed of 177 miles per hour (285 kilometers per hour). It’s service ceiling was 17,250 feet (5,258 meters).

Frank Hawks, 1930. (San Diego air and Space Museum Archives)

Francis Monroe Hawks was born at Marshalltown, Iowa, 28 March 1897. He was the son of Charles Monroe Hawks, a barber, and Ida Mae Woodruff Hawks. He attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Long Beach, California, graduating in 1916. He then studied at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.

Frank Hawks was an Air Service, United States Army, pilot who served during World War I. He rose to the rank of Captain, and at the time of his record-breaking transcontinental flight, he held a commission as a reserve officer in the Army Air Corps. Hawks transferred to the U.S. Naval Reserve with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. His date of rank 27 May 1932.

His flying had made him a popular public figure and he starred in a series of Hollywood movies as “The Mysterious Pilot.”

Poster advertising Episode 5 of the movie serial, “The Mysterious Pilot.” (Columbia Pictures)
Amelia Earhart and Frank Hawks. (World History Project)

On 28 December 1920, Miss Amelia Earhart took her first ride in an airplane at Long Beach Airport in California. The ten-minute flight began her life-long involvement in aviation. The airplane’s pilot was Frank Monroe Hawks.

Francis M. Hawks married Miss Newell Lane at Lewiston, Montana, 7 August 1918. They had a daughter, Dolly. They later divorced. He next married Mrs. Edith Bowie Fouts at St. John’s Church, Houston, Texas, 26 October 1926.

Frank Hawks was killed in an aircraft accident at East Aurora, New York, 23 August 1938. He was buried at Redding Ridge Cemetery, Redding, Connecticut.

Frank Monroe Hawks, 1932 (Edward Steichen)

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

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23 August 1938

Gwinn Aircar NX1271. (Wright State University)

23 August 1938: Frank Monroe Hawks had given up air racing and speed record attempts. As vice president of the Gwinn Aircar Co., Inc., he was demonstrating the company’s Model I prototypes to potential investors and customers.

At about 5:00 p.m., Tuesday afternoon, Hawks landed the airplane on the polo field at the E.F. Rogers estate, near East Aurora, New York. He offered to take J. Hazard Campbell for a flight.

Mr. Rogers later said, “Commander Hawks landed on our field about 5 p.m., and offered to take myself or any of our guests for a ride. Campbell climbed in first.

“The plane lifted in the air and Hawks tilted it 50 feet above the ground to enable it to pass between two tall trees. As he passed out of sight it looked as though he had not been able to gain sufficient altitude and was trying to bring the plane down.

“Just as he disappeared we heard a loud crash and a flash of flame from behind the trees and we knew he had struck the electric wires and telephone poles.

“Myself and members of the family ran to the plane and found Hawks inside the burning machine on the seat. His clothes were on fire so we stripped him and pulled him away.

“Campbell was thrown from the plane and pinned under a crumpled and burning wing.”

George Scheneckenburger of E. Aurora was also quoted, “The wheels of the ship appeared to have stripped electric wires from poles, plunging the craft into the field. We examined the wreckage, what little there was, and found one of the fire extinguishers had blown up and another one had not been used. The flames ate everything but the bare skeleton of the plane.”

Pottstown Mercury, Vol. 7, No. 284, Wednesday 24 August 1938, at Page 1, Columns 2 and 3; and Page 3, Column 6

Los Angeles Times, Vol. LVII, Wednesday 24 August 1938, at Page 3, Columns 3–6

Hawks and Campbell were taken to a hospital in Buffalo, New York. They were extensively injured and had suffered third-degree burns. Both men died within hours.

The first prototype Gwinn Model I Aircar, serial number 501, NX1271. (Niagara Aerospace Museum)
3-view drawing of Gwinn Aircar. (L’Aérophile, October 1937, Page 223)

Frank Hawks’ airplane was the second of two Gwinn Model I Aircars, NX16921, serial number 502. The airplane’s Civil Aviation Authority certificate had been issued only the previous week, 16 August 1938.

The Gwinn Aircar had been designed by Joseph Marr Gwinn, Jr., a graduate of Tulane University. Gwinn was World War I pilot and former engineer for Reuben Fleet’s Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, New York.

Gwinn had designed his airplane to be simple to fly. Its flight controls were intentionally similar to the controls of an automobile, with a steering wheel that controlled the ailerons and elevators, a foot pedal throttle, operated by the pilot/driver’s right foot. A pedal to the right of the “steering column” operated the brakes, while one to the left (in the position of a car’s clutch pedal) operated the wing flaps. Control movement was limited. The airplane was reportedly “impossible” to stall.

Jersey cow.

The Aircar has been described as “stubby”, or “squat,” and other words perhaps less complementary. A noteworthy contemporary aeronautical publication said that the Gwinn Aircar, “resembled a Jersey cow in appearance.”

The Aircar was a two-place, single-engine, single-bay strut-braced biplane, with fixed tricycle landing gear. A French aeronautical publication, L’Aérophile, gave the Aircar’s length as 4.95 meters (16.24 feet), and its wingspan as 7.315 meters (23.999 feet). The total wing area was 15.70 square meters (168.99 square feet). The airplane’s empty weight was 225 kilograms (496.0 pounds), and its maximum gross weight was 725 kilograms (1,598.35 pounds).

Both wings had significant dihedral, with that of the lower being greater. The lower wing was staggered significantly behind the upper. Both wings used the NACA 4418 airfoil.

The first prototype Gwinn Model I Aircar, serial number 501, NX1271. (Unattributed)

The Aircar’s engine was produced by Pobjoy Airmotors and Aircraft, Ltd., Rochester, Kent, United Kingdom. It was an air-cooled, normally-aspirated 2.836 liter (173.056 cubic inch displacement) Pobjoy Niagara Mark II seven-cylinder radial engine with a compression ration of 6:1. The Mark II was rated at 84 horsepower at 3,200 r.p.m. at Sea Level, and a maximum 90 horsepower at 3,500 r.p.m. The engine required a minimum 73-octane gasoline. It turned a two- or four-bladed fixed pitch propeller through a 0.39:1 gear reduction. The Neptune Mark II weighed 145 pounds (65.8 kilograms).

Some sources state that both Gwinn Aircars were re-engined with the redesigned Pobjoy Niagara Mark V. The Mark V had the cylinder bore diameter increased, giving a displacement of 3.138 liters (191.503 cubic inches), and the compression ratio raised to 8:1. This required a change to 80-octane gasoline. The new engine was rated at 125 horsepower at 4,000 r.p.m. at Sea Level. The cruising power was 100 horsepower at 3,700 r.p.m., and it produced a maximum of 130 horsepower at 4,400 r.p.m. The propeller gear reduction ratio was increased to 0.468:1. The Niagara Mark V weighed 175 pounds (79.4 kilograms).

Gwinn Aircar NC1271, 1937 National Air Races. (Unattributed)

When equipped with the Niagara Mark II engine, the Aircar had a cruising speed of 175 kilometers per hour (109 miles per hour), and maximum speed of 193 kilometers per hour (120 miles per hour). Its range was 800 kilometers (497 miles). With the Niagara Mark V, the cruising speed increased to 198 kilometers per hour (123 miles per hour), and the maximum to 220 kilometers per hour (137 miles per hour). The airplane’s range decreased to 655 kilometers (407 miles).

After NX16921 was destroyed, Gwinn gave up on the idea. He took the first prototype to San Diego, California, when he rejoined Conslidated. As of 16 April 1945, NX1271 was registered to him at an address in Dearborn, Michigan. The registration was cancelled 12 July 1948.

Frank Monroe Hawks, 1932 (Edward Steichen)

Francis Monroe Hawks was born at Marshalltown, Iowa, 28 March 1897. He was the son of Charles Monroe Hawks, a barber, and Ida Mae Woodruff Hawks. He attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Long Beach, California, graduating in 1916. The school’s principal described him as the finest Shakespeare reader the school ever had. Hawks studied briefly at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.

Frank Hawks enlisted as a flying cadet, Air Service, United States Army, at Love Field, Dallas, Texas, 6 April 1917. After being commissioned as a second lieutenant, he was assigned as a flight instructor until March 1919. He rose to the rank of Captain. Released from active duty, Kawks retained his commission as a reserve office. Hawks transferred to the U.S. Naval Reserve with the rank of Lieutenant Commander, with date of rank 27 May 1932.

Hawks’ flying had made him a popular public figure. He starred in a series of Hollywood movies as “The Mysterious Pilot.”

Poster advertising Episode 5 of the movie serial, “The Mysterious Pilot.” (Columbia Pictures)
The Los Angeles Times reported, “This fire-scorched photograph of Commander Frank Hawks was recovered yesterday from his burned airplane.”

On 28 December 1920, Miss Amelia Earhart took her first ride in an airplane at Long Beach Airport in California. The ten-minute flight began her life-long involvement in aviation. The airplane’s pilot was Frank Monroe Hawks.

Francis M. Hawks married Miss Newell Lane at Lewiston, Montana, 7 August 1918. They had a daughter, Dolly (Polly?) but later divorced. He next married Mrs. Edith Bowie Fouts at St. John’s Church, Houston, Texas, 26 October 1926.

Frank Hawks set over 200 speed records. He flew a series of airplanes sponsored by Texaco, including the Travel Air Type R “Mystery Ship.”

Frank Hawks’ remains were cremated and interred at Redding Ridge Cemetery, Redding, Connecticut.

Frank Monroe Hawks with the Texaco 13 Travel-Air Mystery Ship at East Boston Airport, 1930. (Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection)

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Joseph Hazard Campbell (commonly known as J. Hazard Campbell) was born at Providence, Rhode Island, 23 September 1900. He was a stock broker and “socialite.” He was the second child of Frederic T. Campbell, a bill collector, and Mary Hoxsie Liscomb. Campbell married Miss Marjorie Millard Knox in Paris, France, 7 June 1927. They had a daughter, Gracia. Mrs. Campbell was an heiress to F.W. Woolworth stores.

***************

Joseph Marr Gwinn, Jr., was born at Joplin, Missouri, 16 October 1897. He was the son of Joseph Mar Gwinn, a school teacher, and Ellis Gwinn.

J.M. Gwinn Jr., 1917

Gwinn attended Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, as a member of the Class of 1917. he studied mechanical and electrical engineering.  During his senior year, he was an Officer of Instruction in Mathematics. Gwinn was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity (ΔΣΦ), the Mandolin and Guitar Club, the Tulane Quartette. He was Secretary of the Engineering Society, Class Treasurer, and competed with the Technology Track Team.

Joseph Marr Gwinn, Jr., married Miss Mildred Curran in New York, 5 October 1920. They would have two children.

Gwinn was employed as an aeronautical engineer for the Consolidated Aircraft Company of Buffalo, New York. When, the company relocated to San Diego, California, he remained in Buffalo to work on his Aircar design, but rejoined the company, now the Consolidated-Vultee Aircraft Corporation.

Following World War II, Gwinn became chief engineer of Garwood Industries in Dearborn, Michigan.

Joseph Marr Gwinn, Jr., died in Dearborn, in July 1965.

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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12 August 1930

Frank Monroe Hawks, 1932 (Edward Steichen)
Frank Monroe Hawks, 1932 (Edward Steichen)

12 August 1930: Frank Monroe Hawks flew from Los Angeles Municipal Airport in California to Curtiss Airport, Valley Stream, Long Island, New York, in a record-breaking 12 hours, 25 minutes, 3 seconds. His airplane was a Travel Air Type R “Mystery Ship” named Texaco No. 13. It carried civil registration NR1313.

One week earlier, 6 August 1930, Hawks had flown across the continent from east to west, in 14 hours, 50 minutes 3 seconds. More favorable winds allowed the Type R to make a faster west-to-east flight.

Hawks’ Texaco No. 13 was the fourth of five specially designed and constructed racing aircraft produced by Travel Air Manufacturing Company of Wichita, Kansas. The company was founded by Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna, and Lloyd Stearman. The “Type R” refers to one of its designers, Herb Rawdon.

The Type R was a low-wing monoplane with a monocoque fuselage built welded tubular steel. The very thin wing was braced by wires. It used spruce spars and ribs. Both fuselage and wings were covered with 1/16-inch mahogany plywood. Attempts to streamline the airplane included a raised profile behind the pilot’s head, “wheel pants,” as well as a NACA-designed engine cowling that provided better engine cooling and caused less aerodynamic drag.

Three-view drawing of Travel Air Type R “Mystery Ship” with dimensions. (From The Scientific American Magazine, republished in Flight, No. 1165, Vol. XXIII. No. 17, 24 April 1931, at Page 360)

The Travel Air Type R was 20 feet, 2 inches (6.147 meters) long, with a wingspan of 30 feet, 0 inches (9.144 meters) and overall height of 7 feet, 9 inches (2.362 meters). The wing had a chord of 5 feet, 0 inches (1.524 meters), and total area of 125 square feet (11.6 square meters). It had an empty weight of 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms) and gross weight of 3,300 pounds (1,497 kilograms).

The Mystery Ship was powered by an air-cooled, supercharged, 971.930-cubic-inch-displacement (15.927 liter) Wright Aeronautical Division Whirlwind Nine (also known as the J-6-9 or R-975) nine-cylinder radial engine, normally rated at 300 horsepower at 2,000 r.p.m. Various sources state that Hawks’ R-975 had been modified by increasing its compression ratio and supercharger speed, and that it produced 450 horsepower at 2,400 r.p.m. The R-975 was built in both direct drive and geared versions. The two-bladed Standard Steel propeller had a diameter of 8 feet, 0 inches (2.438 meters).

The Mystery Ship’s cruising speed was 200 miles per hour (322 kilometers per hour) at 1,950 r.p.m., and it had a maximum speed of 250 miles per hour (402 kilometers per hour) at Sea Level. It had an initial rate of climb of 3,200 feet per minute (16.26 meters per second). The service ceiling was 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) and the absolute ceiling was 31,000 feet (9,449 meters). The range at cruise speed was 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers).

One of the fastest airplanes of its time, the Type R set over 200 speed records.

Frank Monroe Hawks with the Texaco 13 Travel-Air Mystery Ship at East Boston Airport, 1930. (Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection)
Frank Monroe Hawks with the Travel Air Type R Mystery Ship, Texaco No. 13, NR1313, at East Boston Airport, 1930. (Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection)
Frank Hawks, 1930 (SDA&SM)

Newspapers called the Type R airplanes “mystery ships” because Beech was very secretive about them. When two of them were flown to the 1929 National Air Races at Cleveland, Ohio, they taxied directly to a hangar and shut off their engines. They were immediately pushed inside. The hangar was kept locked and under guard.

Frank Hawks was an Air Service, United States Army, pilot who served during World War I. He rose to the rank of Captain, and at the time of his record-breaking transcontinental flight, he held a commission as a reserve officer in the Army Air Corps. His flying had made him a popular public figure and he starred in a series of Hollywood movies as “The Mystery Pilot.”

Frank Hawks’ Type R is in the collection of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois.

Travel Air Type R, NR1313, Mystery Ship, Texaco No. 13, at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois. (MSI)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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Amelia Mary Earhart (24 July 1897– )

Amelia Mary Earhart, 1926 (Associated Press)

24 July 1897: Amelia Mary Earhart was born at Atchison, Kansas. She was the older of two daughters of Edwin Stanton Earhart, an attorney, and Amelia Otis Earhart.

Amelia attended Hyde Park School in Chicago, Illinois, graduating in 1916. In 1917, she trained as a nurse’s aide with the Red Cross. While helping victims of the Spanish Flu epidemic, she herself contracted the disease and was hospitalized for approximately two months. In 1919 Earhart entered Columbia University studying medicine, but left after about one year.

Red Cross Nurse’s Aide Amelia Mary Earhart, circa 1917–1918. (Amelia Earhart Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University)

Amelia first rode in an airplane at Long Beach, California with pilot Frank Monroe Hawks, 28 December 1920. The ten-minute flight began her life long pursuit of aviation. She trained under Mary Anita Snook at Kinner Field near Long Beach, California.

Earhart was the sixteenth woman to become a licensed pilot when she received her certificate from the National Aeronautic Association on behalf of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) on 16 May 1923.

Amelia Earhart’s first pilot’s license. (National Portrait Gallery)

Amelia Earhart became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air when she accompanied pilot Wilmer Lower Stultz and mechanic Louis Edward Gordon as a passenger aboard the Fokker F.VIIb/3m, NX4204, Friendship, 17–18 June 1928. The orange and gold, float-equipped, three-engine monoplane had departed from Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and arrived at Burry Port on the southwest coast of Wales, 20 hours, 40 minutes later. (Although Earhart was a pilot with approximately 500 hours of flight experience at this time, she did not serve as one of the pilots on this flight.)

Fokker F.VIIb/3m Friendship at Southampton. (Historic Wings)

On 1 May 1930, the Aeronautics Branch, Department of Commerce, issued Transport Pilot’s License No. 5716 to Amelia Mary Earhart. On 25 June 1930, the newly-licensed commercial pilot set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Record for Speed Over a a Closed Circuit of 100 Kilometers With a 500 Kilogram Payload, averaging 275.90 kilometers per hour (171.44 miles per hour) with her Lockheed Vega.¹ That same day, she set another World Record for Speed Over 100 Kilometers of 281.47 kilometers per hour (174.90 miles per hour).² About two weeks later, Earhart increased her Vega’s speed across a shorter, 3 kilometer course, with an average 291.55 kilometers per hour (181.16 miles per hour).³

Amelia Earhart was a charter member of The Ninety-Nines, Inc., an international organization of licensed women pilots. She served as their first president, 1931–1933.

On 7 February 1931, Miss Earhart married George Palmer Putnam in a civil ceremony at Noank, Connecticut. Judge Arthur P. Anderson presided. In a written prenuptial agreement, Miss Earhart expressed serious misgivings about marrying Mr. Putnam, and wrote, “. . . I shall not hold you to any medieval code of faithfulness to me nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly.

Amelia Earhart models a women’s flying suit of her own design. (Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Earhart had her own line of women’s fashions, made from wrinkle-free fabrics. She modeled for her own advertisements. In November 1931, Earhart was the subject of a series of photographs by Edward Steichen for Vogue, an American fashion magazine.

Amelia Earhart photographed for Vogue Magazine by Edward Steichen, November 1931.

At Warrington, Pennsylvania, 8 April 1931, Amelia Earhart (now, Mrs. George P. Putnam) flew a Pitcairn PCA-2 autogyro to an altitude of 5,613 meters (18,415 feet). Although a sealed barograph was sent to the National Aeronautic Association for certification of a record, NAA does not presently have any documentation that the record was actually homologated.

On the night of 20–21 May 1932, Amelia Earhart flew her Vega 5B from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, solo and non-stop, across the Atlantic Ocean to Culmore, Northern Ireland. The distance flown was 2,026 miles (3,260.5 kilometers). Her elapsed time was 14 hours, 56 minutes. On 18 July 1932, Earhart was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by President Herbert Hoover, for “extraordinary achievement in aviation.”

Amelia Earhart with her red and gold Lockheed Vega 5B, NR7952, at Culmore, North Ireland, after her solo transatlantic flight, 21 May 1932. (National Library of Ireland)

Earhart next flew her Vega non-stop from Los Angeles, California, to New York City, New York, 24–25 August 1932, setting an FAI record for distance without landing of 3,939.25 kilometers (2,447.74 miles).⁴ Her Lockheed Vega 5B, which she called her “little red bus,” is displayed in the Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.

At 4:40 p.m., local time, 11 January 1935, Amelia Earhart departed Wheeler Field on the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, for Oakland Municipal Airport at Oakland, California, in her Lockheed Vega 5C Special, NR965Y. She arrived 18 hours, 15 minutes later. Earhart was the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the Mainland.

Amelia Earhart with her Lockheed Vega 5C, NR965Y, at Wheeler Field, 11 January 1935.(Getty Images/Underwood Archives)

Amelia Earhart is best known for her attempt to fly around the world with navigator Frederick J. Noonan in her Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020, in 1937. She disappeared while enroute from Lae, Territory of New Guinea, to Howland Island in the Central Pacific, 2 July 1937. The massive search effort for her and her navigator failed, and what happened to her and Noonan remains a mystery.

Amelia Earhart and her Lockheed Electra Model 10E Special, NR16020.

Although the exact date of her death is not known, Amelia Mary Earhart (Mrs. George Palmer Putnam) was declared dead in absentia by the Superior Court, County of Los Angeles, 5 January 1939. (Probate file 181709)

George Palmer Putnam leaves the Los Angeles Superior Court after missing aviatrix Amelia Earhart was declared dead in absentia, 5 January 1939. (Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive , UCLA Library.)

¹ FAI Record File Number 14993

² FAI Record File Number 14956

³ FAI Record File Number 12326

⁴ FAI Record File Number 12342

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

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