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Dana C. DeHART
Pioneer West Coast Aviator - Air Mail Pilot
Dana C. De Hart was born at Los Angeles, California, June 17, 1886, and attended local schools. The family later moved to San Jose where he graduated from high school in 1907. Mechanically inclined, he loved automobiles and motorcycles and became quite expert with engines, which led to an enthusiastic interest in aviation.
During the early spring of 1911, while working as a steam pumping station operator at an oil field near Los Angeles, he decided to take a day off, go out to Inglewood and have a talk with Frank and Warren Eaton who were building an airplane and planning to start an aviation business. As a result of his visit, the Eatons agreed to take him on as a mechanic and later, when they got the plane flying, as a student.
Warren Eaton had designed the plane, which had a combination of Curtiss and Farman features, using a 60 h.p. Hall-Scott engine. For grass cutting practice they used a revamped Ford automobile engine in this plane, which at full throttle, would give just enough power to bounce them into the air for a brief hop then settle back to the ground. DeHart worked for the Eaton Brothers that summer, helped build some planes and slowly taught himself to fly. They also flew some local exhibitions that year.
By August, DeHart was flying very well and on September 16th and 17th he flew for the Eatons at Stockton, California. He also raced a morotcycle there at the Fairgrounds. On the last day he attempted to fly cross-country to Modesto but had to make a forced landing and hit a tree getting down, damaging the plane somewhat and was slightly injured himself. On November 4th he made a notable flight when he left the Eaton Brothers field and flew to and crossed over Dominguez Flying Field, continuing on to San Pedro and out over the harbor where the Pacific fleet lay at anchor. As he passed the Naval
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