Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mines Field (LAX) in 1928 Time

Here is a description of the first air races held at Mines Field, which is what LAX was a mere 80 years ago. This comes from Time Magazine, September 24, 1928:

Two months ago, in a field, not far from Los Angeles, Calif., they were harvesting barley. Then came hordes of men bearing tons of wood, truck loads of nails, 9,000 barrels of oil, 2,000,000 gallons of water, The wood and nails they made into a grandstand (capacity 17,000) into an exposition building, ultra modern, larger than a city block. The oil and water they sprinkled on the field so that whirling hundreds of propellers would not raise a dust.

Last week the National Air carnival at Mines field reached its climax. A Navy aviator climbed 10,000 feet in four-and-a-half minutes. An Army flier, Lieut. J. J. Williams was killed in formation stunt flying, Col. Charles Augustus Lindbergh took his place, continued Immelman turns, loops, barrel rolls. But a Navy trio gave a superior exhibition of stunts.

In the exposition hall were 300 brightly colored booths, housing nearly every design of plane or accessory on the market. A professor demonstrated a fool-proof self-landing, self-balancing plane, dubbed "the flying pickle."

There were many races, the most important of which was the non-stop transcontinental derby. Col. Arthur Goebel in a Wasp-motored Lockhead-Vega Yankee Doodle was the first to arrive. But he won no prize because he had stopped once to refuel. Even so his time from New York to Los Angeles was a record; 23 hours, 50 minutes. The other entrants in the race had been forced down. Col. William Thaw seriously injured, had said before starting on the race: "I'm fat, I'll bounce."

The carnival was attended by 400,000 (75,000 on the last day). Five million dollars worth of airplanes were sold. A statue of Col. Lindbergh was always a centre for a crowd.

(The picture, btw, is from the website and was taken in 1930)

No comments: