An Aviation Legend Makes His Most Pivotal Contribution to Flight Technology — Transportation History

September 24, 1929 U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) Lieutenant James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, who would achieve lasting fame as commander of the Doolittle Raid during World War II, made his most significant contribution to aeronautical technology when he guided a Consolidated N-Y-2 Husky training biplane over Mitchel Field in New York in what was the […]

An Aviation Legend Makes His Most Pivotal Contribution to Flight Technology — Transportation History

Jimmy Doolittle figures in Chet’s aviation story too as a competitor in the first Washington Air Derby (later Langley Day) held in 1932. Chet was the first president of the Washington Air Derby Association.

The Ambassador Airplanes: How the Assemblies of God Became Involved in Missionary Aviation — Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

This Week in AG History — May 13, 1950 By Glenn W. Gohr Originally published on AG News, 14 May 2020 Did you know that the Assemblies of God owned two passenger planes just after World War II that carried Assemblies of God missionaries overseas? Following World War II, commercial flights were not readily available, […]

via The Ambassador Airplanes: How the Assemblies of God Became Involved in Missionary Aviation — Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

Another Historian for the Crashes at Mitchel Field

One of the hardest things I have had to do for this site is put together the story of my uncle, Don Gaston Shofner, and how he was killed flying his P-47 Thunderbolt over Long Island Sound.  It’s a tragedy that altered the course of my family history and my own life.

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If the plane had been recovered it might look something like this one, fished out of the Pacific. In Gaston’s case, however, the engine separated from the cockpit. This is also at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation.

Gaston’s death wasn’t unique: the USAAF was having all kinds of “growing pains” with its equipment and there were numerous accidents.  These and more are documented in this page from the excellent website of amateur historian Paul Martin on Mitchel Field, where this and much more information on this important place for American aviation are documented.

When I first posted this, I was pretty much on my own.  In the years since then I have been gratified by people such as Bob Contreras, Robin Adair and now Paul Martin on their efforts to keep the memory of this time in American History alive, in an era when the sacrifices of those who went before us are so easily disparaged or forgotten.

I’m Kristen Karman-Shoemake and This Is How I Mesh — Another Fine Mesh

I was born in Arlington, TX and spent most of my childhood in and around the Fort Worth area. When I was in high school, my family moved to Chattanooga, TN. I then went on to UTK for my undergraduate degree. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life and ended […]

via I’m Kristen Karman-Shoemake and This Is How I Mesh — Another Fine Mesh

Kristen and I went to graduate school together along with her husband Lawton.

College Park Aviation Museum

The central place for Chet’s aviation career was the College Park airport, where events such as Langley Day (which Chet moved from Washington Hoover in 1933) and other events took place.  Although College Park Airport remains an active airport–the oldest continuing airport in the United States–it is also the home of the College Park Aviation Museum, and on a recent visit we took a look at what it had to offer.  This is just a sampling of what’s there.

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The entrance to the College Park Aviation Museum.

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An historical sign which outlines the history of the College Park Airport.

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A Monocoupe 110. In some ways the Monocoupe was the single most successful plane for Chet’s Langley Day competitions, as a perusal of the winners will show.

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The Washington Air Derby trophy, which was actually first prepared for the first competition at Washington Hoover in 1932.  Note that George Brinkerhoff, whose flying service at College Park was famous, moved his operation from Washington Hoover, as Chet would do with the Washington Air Derby in 1933.

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A plan for College Park’s hangars. These were built during World War I and were pretty much all of the buildings the airport had during Chet’s day. They were useful for the Langley Day competitions and, er, the Quiet Birdmen parties.

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The west end of College Park airport. At one time there was a runway which more or less paralleled the B&O railroad, but it is gone. That railroad is still active but now also includes Washington’s Metro.

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Although the airport made a very nice wide angle poster of this, they did not know that it comes from the 1939 Langley Day competition: we have other photos of the Goodyear blimp there.

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The eastern part of the airport, now the main part and the location of both the Museum and the terminal. The rise behind the runway appears often in Chet’s photos and films of College Park, the scene of so many of his triumphs.