Flying Aces magazine
featured a monthly "Aviation News" column that covered both model and full-size
aviation happenings across the country and on foreign soil. This 1934 issue
reported on the land-based "lighthouses" which were established throughout the
land in order to guide airplanes from airport to airport. Not much in the way of
radio direction finding was available at the time, and this method was more
consistent and reliable than having farmers build bonfires in their fields for
pilots to look for. "Dead reckoning" was still the order of the day back then.
Compared to today where only in the most remote areas are lacking any manmade
visual object to positive identification while navigating, real "seat of the
pants" skill was required to fly cross-country routes without getting lost.
Nowadays, GPS-linked and/or inertial navigation systems can flying an airplane
from point A to point B without any assistance from a human. Also told was
that "little Dorothy Hall" set a record flying a 5,000 mile trip with her
mother, but never mentioned how old she was.
Aviation News - Here and There in the Air
In this department, Flying Aces presents some of the odds and ends of aviation
- interesting facts about flyers and their foibles, news picked out of the sky here
and there. We hope you like it.
Did you ever know that there were landlubber lighthouse-keepers? There are, and
they're stretched from Mexico to Canada, from coast to coast.
These unsung heroes keep vigil throughout the long night so that pilots of the
commercial air lines may "go straight" to their destinations,
Many of these lighthouse-keepers are snowed in during the winter months and cannot
reach the outside until well after the end of May when the snow melts.
Each of these lighthouses marks an emergency landing field which has been established
through the untiring efforts of our air chiefs in the Department of Commerce in
Washington, D. C.
It is also to these men that pilots tip their hats in thanks, for they are the
men who prepare, each and every day, valuable flying information, and tap out on
their teletype machines news of the various planes as they fly over their lonely
Birthday Greetings To
Roy W. Ammel, born Canby, Minn., April 17, 1897. Mr. Ammel began his flying career
in the Illinois National Guard in 1916. He served as a lieutenant in the U. S. Army
Air Service during the World War, being assigned to flying boat control, Panama
Canal Zone. In 1919 he established an altitude record of 19,800 feet, and on November
9 and 10, 1931, he made the first non-stop flight from New York City to Panama,
flying the distance of 3,189 miles in 24 hours and 31 minutes.
John E. Pratt; born Renasca, Ohio, April 24,1901. Mr. Pratt was co-pilot of Ross
Hadley on a five months' tour of the world in November, 1930. On the 16,000-mile
trip, no advance arrangements were made at any stop for gas, oil or accommodations.
Russell Ralph Benton, born Norman, Ill., April 10, 1896. Mr. Benton's association
with aeronautics dates back to 1914, when he became interested in balloons and parachute
jumping. He served in the U. S. Navy during the World War, after which he migrated
to California and entered motion pictures as a stunt pilot. In 1925 he left motion
pictures to establish the first commercial airport in the San Fernando Valley.
George O. Neville, born Cleveland, Ohio, April 24, 1891. Mr. Neville gained fame
as an Arctic expedition flyer with Admiral Byrd. Commander Neville served as executive
officer of the first Byrd Arctic Expedition to the North Pole and was relief pilot
and second in command for Admiral Byrd on the New York to France flight of the airplane
Randall Thomas Henderson, born Clarinda, Iowa, April 12, 1888. Randall Henderson,
owner of the Calexico (Calif.) Chronicle, received his early aviation training at
the adjutant's school of the aviation section of the Signal Reserve Corps at the
Ohio State University. In 1919 he was discharged from the Army air service with
R.M.A. rating. Mr. Henderson is active in aeronautical affairs and was largely instrumental
in establishing the Calexico airport.
Tod Oviatt, born Akron, Ohio, April 11, 1902. Mr. Oviatt has been closely identified
with the construction of airplanes for years. He has had charge of tests of many
record-breaking airplanes, first of which was the famous monoplane, "Yankee Doodle."
A Record Trip
Think of it! Little Dorothy Hall flew, with her mother, from Maracaibo, Venezuela,
to Seattle, Wash., a trip of 5000 miles, in 22 hours, over the United Air Line route.
We think this some sort of a record, and a check-up with the company proves this
fact. They said that it was the longest air journey ever made by a child as young
as Dorothy. She's starting young to break records.
The first man to recognize hydrogen as a distinct substance, thus establishing
the "lighter than air" principle, was Henry Cavendish, English chemist and physicist
The world's first military balloon observer was Captain J. M. J. Coutelle, He
was a member of Napoleon's army and spotted for the French artillery at the battle
of Fleurus in Belgium (1794).
The first woman to make a parachute drop from a balloon was Madame Garnerin,
a French woman (1799).
The first attempt to cross the Atlantic was made by Donaldson, Ford and Lunt
in the balloon "Graphic" from Brooklyn, N. Y. They landed at New Canaan, Conn. (1873).
The first men to make a complete circle in the air, in an electrically propelled
airship, were Captains Renard and Krebs, of the French army (1884).
The first aeronautical trophy winner was Glenn Curtiss. His flight for the trophy
was in the "June Bug" when he flew not only the prescribed distance of one kilometer,
but a mile (1908).
The first airship purchased by the U. S. Government was named "Signal Corps 1"
and cost $10,000 (1908).
The first aeronautical stowaway was William Ballantyne, a member of the original
crew of the R-34. He and two other men were laid off as it was necessary to lighten
the load in the trans-atlantic crossing. He stowed away on the flight to America
Radio stars with broadcasts scheduled in different cities are going in for flying
in a big way. Among confirmed air travelers who are radio headliners are Amos 'n'
Andy, Guy Lombardo, Graham McNamee, the Four Marx Brothers and George Burns and
Gracie Allen .... So that he may more quickly reach his patients residing throughout
Oklahoma, Teas, Arkansas and Louisiana, Dr. Fowler Border, Mangum, Oklahoma, utilizes
a four-place aerial ambulance. Upon landing in a locality where there are no established
airport facilities, Dr. Border's pilot turns loose the siren with which the plane
is equipped, and soon people come from all directions in automobiles, on horseback
and afoot, headed for the plane. The result is that a ride to town from the landing
site is readily obtained. · ... Ten women in the United States hold licenses certifying
they are qualified to repack and repair parachutes. There are 312 persons who hold
licenses for this phase of aeronautical work, including the 10 feminine riggers
... Dr. R. E. Whitehead, of Indianapolis, Ind., is the newly appointed Medical Director
of the Aeronautics Branch, Department of Commerce. Dr. Whitehead holds a transport
pilot's license, and has about 600 hours of flying to his credit. He also is a pilot
in the Army Air Corps Reserve, and holds the rank of Captain.
Each gallon of gasoline used by Colonel Lindbergh on his 30,000-mile exploration
flight was put through a secret and complicated process at Miami, before being distributed
to various points for re-fueling. ... Retractable landing apparatus cuts down wind
resistance and increases flying speed in some instances as much as 10 per cent.
... Jimmie Wedell, speed record breaker, is now building a plane that he claims
will travel 450 miles an hour. Jimmie has his eye on the England-Australia race
next fall, when the world's fastest planes will compete in an 11,000-mile air derby
for a prize of $55,000. .... Some of the planes used during the World War had extremely
high landing speeds. The British S.E.5 landed in excess of 70 miles an hour. ...
The wings of a transport plane are built and tested to withstand more than six times
the strain that could possibly be put upon them in flight. Five elephants could
stand on a transport airplane wing at one time without damage to it.
Posted June 25, 2022