The Centennial of
Saturday December 10th 11AM
In the year 1911 renowned publisher William Randolph Hearst offered a $50,000 prize to the first pilot to fly across the United States within 30 days. There were no airports or aircraft mechanics along the way and no air navigation maps, control towers or beacons to warn of hazards or guide the pilot. Pilots would have to follow railroad tracks, recognize landmarks, and talk with local people during periods on the ground.
This would be an amazing feat considering it was less than 8 years earlier when the Wright Brothers broke the bonds of earth with a 120 foot long powered flight. Only two pilots completed the race, neither within the required 30 days and so no one collected the prize money. What these two amazing pilots did accomplish was being the first to fly coast to coast across this vast country and for opening up the idea of air travel to what we enjoy today.
A little about the two pilots
Calbraith Perry ("Cal") Rodgers, an inexperienced 32-year-old pilot, was the first to complete the transcontinental flight across the United States. Rogers took off from Sheepshead Bay, New York, at 4:30 p.m. on September 17 and reached Pasadena, California, on November 5, 1911, and Long Beach, California, on December 10, flying in a Wright EX biplane. He carried the first transcontinental mail pouch and was accompanied on the ground by a support crew that repaired and rebuilt the plane after its numerous rough landings and crashes
Early Bird Robert G. (Bob) Fowler drove racing cars before he started piloting airplanes. A native of San Francisco, Fowler entered the auto business early in life. He got interested in auto racing and won a number of events between 1903 and 1911. In the meantime, he had begun flying and in 1911 got instruction from the Wrights so he could enter the race across the U. S. He recalls, "I was the first to start and the last to finish --- he spent 112 days en route."
Join us at the Hiller Aviation Museum Saturday Dec. 10th to learn more about these great aviators and the race that proved airplanes could fly coast to coast. The day will include presentations, the original Wright Engine from Bob Fowlers Cole Flyer and a full size replica of Cal Rodgers "Vin Fiz"
Event included with museum admission