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.
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
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.
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
1935 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.
UPLOADED: 04/03/06 REVISED: 12/12/07, 07/15/08