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22 U. S. AIR SERVICES August, 1931 [[3 columns]] [[column 1]] Piloted by Leonard Flo, was forced down coming into Bradford and was withdrawn. This is the first of seven annual tours in which a fatality or even a serious accident has occurred. It also endured the most discouraging weather conditions. For eight consecutive days it took off in rain, flew through rain, and landed in rain. sections of the south- west sure of it when the tour arrived. This all provided to be a most effective test of the efficiency of aircraft operation on a definite schedule, and the schedule was kept without hitch, despite weather, mechanical or business difficulties. It is estimated that during the tour about 150,000 were in attendance at the luncheons and dinners held in honor of the tour. The gospel of faith in aviation was therefore widely and effectively broadcast throughout a most important sector of the country, and the effects will be realized in airplane sales, increased air line passenger travel, and increased use of air mail. Another important result will be a re-awakened interest on the part of many municipalities in the development of their airports. The tour details were ably and effectively handled by the personnel, which, under the guidance of Ray Collins, included his assistant, Findley Carter, in charge of details at each stop,and jack Neville, in charge of publicity. Maj.James("Jimmie") Doolittle, head of the aviation research department of the Shell Petroleum Corporation, endured the job as referee with forbearence and unbiased good judgement, while E. (Ephraim) W. "Pop" Cleveland held down the post of chief started aided by his three-gallon hat, a cigar, and Raw Brown. Incidentally, Raw Brown added a much-needed air of Beau Brummellism. Ed Crocker, aided by Ralph Young, served as official scorer, while Walter Lees proved an efficient chief timer. The arrival of the tour and the announcing of the identity of the entire group was ably and accurately handled by Jack Story, who leaped from cockpit to a microphone and back again with an ease born of experience, although he was one of the young pilots in age, but not in flying experience. He [[/column 1]] [[column 2]] also handled the details of the many model plane contests held by the Buhl company at different tour control points. One of the outstanding features was the performance of the Aeronca Collegian, excellently handled by George E. Dickson, of Pittsburgh. This ship, nicknamed the "flying bathtub" by other contestants, two-cylindered its way around with a persistent efficiency which spoke well of plane, motor and pilot. What promised to be a close race with the Fords was brought to an abrupt halt when young Eddie Schneider was forced down in the Kentucky hills after a piece of his prop had broken off. His loss of leg points and penalty brought him far [[outlined]] HIGH AND LOW SPOTS of the 1931 NATIONAL AIR TOUR AS OBSERVED BY Don Mockler [[/outlined]] THOSE last few hectic days before the takeoff at Detroit--Ray Collins beset by a thousand problems from all sides--The calm, cool and collected Frank McKay, operations manager--and his efficient handling of his own and others' work--The indecision as to whether there would be a seat on the tour for your correspondent--His last-minute consignation to the Bird cabin job piloted by Leonard Flo--His feelings as he saw Flo, last to leave the field because of an earlier mishap, dash away leaving said correspondent parked at Dearborn Airport--The welcome news that George Haldeman was coming in with the palatial Bellanca Air Cruiser owned by Fred King, of Wheeling--George's arrival and the immediate invitation to fly in his ship--The luxurious feeling as we circled the rest of the crowd at Walkerville, Ontario, then headed for leRoy, N.Y.--Cruising over Niagara Falls--Meanwhile enjoying a most welcome luncheon, plus, served by our genial pilot-host, George--His enjoyment of our sincere appreciateion--Landing at LeRoy before the tour--Worrying about the way the local glider club was playing about the sky despite the expected arrival of the racing planes--The arrival of Ford No. 4 piloted by Jim Smart--And the manner in which the glider scurried out of the path of the huge trimotor--And thereafter was kept on the ground--the out-door clam bake given us by Don Woodward--The clams, the lobsters, chicken, and the accompanying beverage, which some mistook for beer but which Woodward assured us was, of course, lemon soda--The way the gang was scattered about the town of LeRoy, its accomoda- (Continued on page 54) [[/column 2]] [[column 3]] down the list when he rejoined the tour. However, the 19-year old pilot who last year won the Great Lakes trophy, battled his way back to third place, winning this position on the last day. While it was expected that he would again be awarded the Great Lakes trophy, this action was protested as he had not touched ground at the control points between his last stop before the forced landing, and his rejoining the tour. But for his prop trouble he would probably have nosed out the second Ford and finished close behind Russell. The Warner-powered Gee Bee sportster proved an attraction at each point, due to its clean lines, speed, and its handling by Lowell Bayles, who put on a show worthy of special note. The Buhl Airsedan's performance was a testimonial to its structural ruggedness. Three years old and with the world's record for sustained distance flight still to its credit, the "Sun God" roared around the tour and finished in fifth place. Much credit is due the piloting and navigation work of Jack Story and Walter Carr, as well as to the a latter's care of the engine. The two Birds and the Great Lakes Trainer went through the tour without mishap and put forth efficient performances. Lieut. Lee Gehlbach, piloting a Bird, is well known for his work as a member of the First Pursuit Group and as winner of the 1930 All-America Derby, when he flew the 5,700 race in 43 hours and one minute. Eddie Stinson, with natural pride, demonstrated the Stinson Junior at every opportunity and so effective was the impression and so effective was the impression created by this handsome streamlined pleasure plane that a number of sales were made through the tour. The handling of the two Fords was what was to be expected, although both Russell and Smart had to stand considerable ragging on some of their navigation work. Joe Meehan in the Great Lakes and Capt. William Lancaster in the other Bird entry carried on without mishap and finished in the places they had anticipated. Rough weather for the tour began on Monday, July 13, at New Orleans, and for eight days the sun was invisible, hidden behind low-hanging banks of storm clouds which poured (Continued on page 54) [[/column 2]]
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