Pilot Eyes

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This information comes from the biographical file for pilot Dana, CD-028500-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.

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Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available here.

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New York Times July 19, 1936.

The thumbnail image on this page is used with permission from the archives of the San Diego Aerospace Museum

Each thumbnail has a database number, which you can use when you contact the Museum if you would like to have a full-sized, higher quality image sent directly to you. 

See the Museum’s ARCHIVES listings online to understand the scope of their holdings, and the procedures for acquiring prints.

 
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PETER DANA

PETER DANA

SWEET FLIGHTS OF YOUTH

Peter Dana was a professional pilot and native of Holderness, NH.  Interestingly, he was great-grandson of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  He learned to fly in 1932 at the Ryan School of Aeronautics located at Lindbergh Field, San Diego, CA.  He received his transport license there in 1934 at the age of 18 and was then the youngest transport pilot in the U.S.

Peter Dana, Date Unknown

Pilot Dana landed one time at Tucson on May 2, 1933 carrying passenger M.G. Wallace in Great Lakes NC11324.  They were eastbound from San Diego, CA to New Hampshire.  He was about 17 years old when he landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield.  A few years later, he would set a couple of interesting junior speed records.

His planning was not all that foresightful.  A May 22 news article (paper unknown) had him saying, “I was visiting my mother, Mrs. Delia Dana, at Lake Crescent, near Port Angeles, Washington,…I had to leave for San Diego, anyway, so I thought I might as well shoot at the record.” 

On May 23, 1936 he set a new record for 125 HP airplanes of 12 hours 34 minutes block-to-block in a flight from Vancouver, B.C. to Agua Caliente, Mexico.  He completed the flight down the Pacific coast in 11 hours 6 minutes actual flying time.  He took off from Vancouver at 4:01AM and landed at Agua Caliente at 4:35PM.  He beat the previous record by 1 hour 13 minutes.

On July 19, 1936, the New York Times (reference, left sidebar) reported he flew, at age 20 years, a low-wing, all-metal Ryan ST monoplane powered by a 125 HP Monasco engine across the U.S. from San Diego to North Beach Airport in Queens, NY in the record time of 22 hours and 5 minutes (23 hours 37 minutes elapsed time).  He made eleven stops along the way, using 220 gallons of fuel and two gallons of oil.  He estimated his cost for fuel to be $50-$60.  It would cost about 25 times that amount as of July, 2008.

This flight is further documented in the Jefferson City, MO News & Tribune (471KB PDF download) of Sunday, July 19, 1936, and this one from the Syracuse Herald of the same date (278KB PDF download). Both of these are courtesy of Mike Gerow. Alas, the flight, though observed by the National Aeronautical Association, was recorded as unofficial, because the Association’s rules define a “junior” as one 18 years or younger.  The previous best time was 23 hours and 47 minutes established in 1930 by Bob Buck of Westfield, NJ.  Buck's record was “official”, in that he was 16 years old when he flew cross-country.

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Image, below, from dmairfield.org friend Tim Kalina, is dated March or May 29, 1935.

Peter Dana (R cockpit) and Jack Fisher Being Congratulated After Their Transcontinental Flight
Peter Dana (R cockpit) and Jack Fischer Being Congratulated After Their Transcontinental Flight

 

1935 Photo Data
Photo Data

The information on the back of the image is shown at right. There was no newspaper clipping that I found that documented this flight.

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Dossier 2.1.78

UPLOADED: 04/03/06 REVISED: 12/12/07, 07/15/08

 
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