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From Time magazine, April 11, 1938 issue:
One midnight last week attendants at Miami Municipal Airport smelled smoke, then saw it streaming from the field's big hangar. Before Miami's fire department could get into action the hangar was a furnace, airplane gas tanks began to pop. Soon the red-hot roof fell. When dawn broke, a cloud of smoke a mile in diameter covered a heap of debris, the charred skeletons of 22 private planes valued at $508,000. Among them were an Autogiro, taxiplane and big machines belonging to Gar Wood, James Mattern, Alexander P. de Seversky.
Monday, Jan. 18, 1932
The fourth All-American Air Races were run off at Miami Municipal Airport last week. Long after the races are forgotten, airmen will continue to talk of events incidental to the main program.
Most memorable was the case of Pilot Arthur Rigney and his passenger, I. J. Escalante, who elected to take a short cut across the pathless swamps south of Lake Okeechobee on their way to the races, instead of following the established airway from Tampa. The throttle rod of their Bird biplane broke; down the ship slanted, gently but permanently, into the 6-ft. swamp grass and ooze. Next noonday another pilot who was imprudent enough to fly the short-cut spotted the stranded plane, hurried on to Miami whence an autogiro and two Goodyear blimps were sent to the rescue. Gently the blimp Puritan eased itself down until the men could grasp the railing around the bottom of the gondola, pull themselves aboard. No one could think of a way to recover the airplane, which was undamaged.
Numerous milder adventures were experienced by pilots of a hundred or more Miami-bound planes who encountered various brands of dirty weather. Of 24 members of the Amateur Air Pilots' Association who left Long Island Aviation Country Club in cavalcade three days before the meet began, only two—George Mallory Pynchon Jr. and Paula Lind— arrived on the opening day. The others were scattered, fogbound, between Sarasota, Fla. and Richmond, Va. Twenty attack planes from Fort Crockett, Tex., were still at Tallahassee on the second day of the races. A Boiling Field contingent was turned back by fog over South Carolina, When better weather seemed likely the races were extended an extra day to permit weather-bound emigrants to arrive in time for some of the sport.
The races proper proceeded without mishap, save for the injury of one of 13 'chute jumpers who took leave of a Ford trimotor together. The unlucky 13th landed in the grandstand, broke a leg, hurt his skull. Betty Lund, whose husband "Freddy" Lund was a flying partner of Dale ("Red") Jackson (see col. 3), stunted a taper wing Waco as if she had never heard that both men were killed doing that very thing.
Most impressive race results:
The Col. E. H. R. Green Trophy for planes of 125 h. p. or less, and the Glenn H. Curtiss Trophy, unlimited, both won by S. J. Wittman, Oshkosh barnstormer, in a homemade racing plane with a 90 h. p. Cirrus engine. Pilot Wittman's speed in the Curtiss race was 166.9 m-p-h., fastest of the meet.
The Cincinnati Trophy Race for planes of 125-225 h. p., won by Arthur Davis at 165.5 m-p-h-in a Waco.
The "deadstick landing" contest won by Pilot Davis who stopped his plane 5 in. from a mark.
The Freddie Lund Memorial Trophy for stunting, won by Reginald Langhorne ("Pete") Brooks, nephew of Lady Astor.
How It Happened
"Flying Fool." A loop, another loop, a snap roll, a series of slow rolls, an Immelman. . . . Crowds at the Miami All-American Air Races had seen such stunts done before, but never by a plane like this one—a tiny Curtiss Teal amphibian. Dale ("Red") Jackson, co-holder with Forest O'Brine of the world's refueling duration record, was again qualifying for a nickname he earned two years ago— "Flying Fool.". . . Again he pulled the little ship over in a loop, began to straighten out after the dive—when a wing tore off, then another . . . Pilot Jackson died in the wreckage, one hand hooked in the ripcord of his 'chute. Builder Walter Beech was later quoted as saying he had warned Jackson not to stunt the ship which was not designed to withstand violent maneuvers.
Women in a Fog— Mrs. Ruth Stewart, 26, of St. Louis and Mrs. Debbie Stanford, 28, of Indianapolis were going to fly their big white Lockheed from New York to Buenos Aires. Proceeding from Pittsburgh toward New York last week, escorted by another plane carrying Mrs. Stewart's parents, the women lost their way in a fog over the desolate mountains of southern Pennsylvania. Two days later they were found dead.— Then Mrs. Stewart's mother revealed that her daughter had wanted to wait in Pittsburgh until the weather cleared, but was dissuaded "by the others."
Deadly Windhood. After close inspection of films taken by a Universal Newsreel photographer it was suggested that Lowell R. Bayles crashed to death in his attempt to break the world speed record because of the collapse of a windhood of his own design. The pictures show the hood being driven into Pilot Bayles' face by the wind pressure during his power dive at the beginning of the straightaway. Presumably stunned by the blow, Pilot Bayles levelled off too quickly.
Muffled E. A. T.
Much experimentation but little actual practice has been made with mufflers for airplanes. One reason: engine mufflers are ordinarily of only partial value because as much as half the noise of an airplane is made by the whirling propeller (TIME, Oct. 27, 1930). But geared en- gines turn big, high-pitched propellers at low speeds. In such engines propeller noise is comparatively slight. Last week Eastern Air Transport, whose Condor biplanes are powered by geared Conqueror engines, adopted a muffler which was said to reduce engine noise by 70% without loss of power. The muffler, developed by the company's Chief Engineer Ralph G. Lockwood, consists of an exhaust manifold more than twice the size of the regular type, inside which is a stationary screw which causes the gases to spin about and travel 48 ft. before being released.
* Because of indications that Mrs. Stanford lived several hours after the crash, Aviatrix Ruth Nichols, Quaker, pacifist, obtained a pistol permit in Westchester County, N. Y. so that she might signal for help in case of a forced landing in a wilderness.
Monday, Dec. 13, 1937
From South America, Cuba and most sections of the U. S. airplanes big and little last week converged on Miami, Fla., until nearly 500 were grouped around the tourist city's newly enlarged Municipal Airport for the 10th annual All-American Air Maneuvers: four days of races, aerobatics and conferences. Mostly privately owned and flown, more than 200 of the planes present were Taylor "Cubs," Aeronca and Taylorcraft; 40 others were righting and bombing machines from the U. S. Marine Base at Quantico, Va. In a speech before the meet, Contest Chairman Carl Fromhagen enthusiastically declared: "We're playing directly to the grandstands this year. We have more stunts in this show than we know how to get into the program."
No stunt and decidedly not on the program was the shattering accident that obliterated two planes, killed two racing pilots in the first day's events. Zipping around a pylon in specially designed speedsters at nearly 200 m. p. h. Thompson Trophy-Winner Rudy Kling, Lemont, Ill. garage proprietor, and Detroit Barnstormer Frank Haines sideslipped and somersaulted from about 200 ft, struck the ground with an impact that sickened the 7,000 spectators. Both were apparently caught in the same down-draught, both crashed within a few seconds and 200 yards of each other. As her young husband was sawed from the wreckage, young Widow Kling said sadly: "Today was Rudy's 29th birthday. ... I guess he died the way he would have wanted to. He worked hard running our garage and about the only real fun he had was when he got away from the business with his planes."