Last Build Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:22:25 +0000
Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:22:25 +0000By a slightly strange coincidence, there is an old airfield called Pangbourne 30 miles from where I live. (UK). It was used by Cobham's flying circus during the late 1920's and early 30's, around the time that your Pangborn was crossing the Pacific ocean. During WWII it was used as a rest and recovery centre by the USAAF 8th Airforce for British -based B17 and B24 aircrews who had, what we now call, "Combat stress". It was designated 'Squandron F'., All US aircrew, operating in the 'European Theatre', were offered one week's leave in a luxurious country house after completing 25 missions (one tour). Uniforms only to be worn for evening dinner. It was staffed by women from the Red Cross. Many of those women became GI brides.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 23:01:17 +0000Agreed on all counts!
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 22:39:00 +0000Japan to the west coast of the U.S. is a LONG way, it's a remarkable feat for the 1930's era technology involved. I'm glad that they named the new airfield after the real pilot in the story, instead of the sandbag with the money. :)
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 22:36:00 +0000A legitimate record, though. The Pacific wasn't crossed again in an airplane for more than 20 years. I guess once it was done no one else saw a reason to do it until they could make money doing it. The field where they landed -- Fancher Field -- is now home to a subdivision with great views of Wenatchee and the Enchantments. The old hangar is still there, but the land immediately around it is a RV storage place. Wenatchee Pangborn Airport is a few miles away in East Wenatchee, on a shelf directly across the river from my home. The airline passenger terminal has a mural of Miss Veedol with information about the flight.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 20:16:55 +0000Isn't it funny how much of what constitutes fame, especially "locally famous", ends up being mostly due to random chance? They couldn't beat the round-the-world record, so they went for the cross-pacific record instead. Then they missed Seattle and Vancouver, got weathered out of Boise, then Spokane, and Pasco, so they ended up in Wenatchee. And you guys ended up with the only original part left of the actual airplane, the broken propeller! As you noted, they certainly had a flexible attitude towards safety in those days. The Wikipedia account says that Pangborn had to climb out of the cabin to detach the landing gear struts when they failed to release as planned. And while he was doing this, his wealthy but apparently not particularly competent co-pilot let the plane run out of gas! Quite the adventure, for sure.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:23:58 +0000Thanks very much. It really was a pleasure to do this job. As for weight -- I read on the Spirit of Wenatchee Website that Pangborn left his boots behind in Japan because they were just added weight. And can you imagine flying 41 hours knowing that you're going to crash land at the end? Holy cow!
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:21:48 +0000Wonderful photos, truly beautiful. Thanks. What a great honour to be chosen to do that mission for your home city. Those early pilots were brave as lions. Over-weight with extra fuel, having to release their gear to make the distance. They were fined by the Japanese and interrogated on their way out.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:20:50 +0000I can only assume you are referring to the video. All three of them bring tears to my eyes. They really are an excellent look at this community. I wish I could take more credit for them, but I was just the tripod (so to speak) for a lot of the aerial shots, especially in Part I and Part II.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 16:07:50 +0000Wow, very well done! I don't live anywhere close to there, or the state of Washington for that matter, and it still brought a lump to my throat. Loved it.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:21:20 +0000Great! And thanks for letting me know!