Airlines, Pan American Airways (PAA) (USA); Martin (Glenn L.) Model 130 Clipper "Hawaiian Clipper". [photograph]
High one-half right front view of Pan American Airways (PAA) Martin Model 130 Clipper "Hawaiian Clipper" (r/n NC14714, later "Hawaii Clipper") in flight over the Golden Gate Bridge (under construction), departing San Francisco, California, on October 21, 1936, on the first scheduled trans-Pacific passenger flight.
Airlines, Pan American Airways (PAA) (USA);Sikorsky S-42 Clipper. [photograph]
Caterpillar News Bureau
"TRANS-PACIFIC CLIPPER'S ARRIVAL ROUTINE TO THESE MEN. No excitement, only a business-like routine marked the work of these attendants in bringing the Pan-American Clipper plane to her berth after the epoch-making trip to Hawaii. The scene is at the Alameda port. A Diesel tractor is hauling the powerful Clipper up the runway, where she is to be groomed preparatory to another flight. A part of the welcoming throng is seen at left. June 19, 1935."
Alexandrina Robertson Harris, born Aberdeen, Scotland 1886-died New York City 1978
watercolor on ivory
4 1/4 x 3 1/2 in. (10.8 x 8.9 cm) rectangle
Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) is known as much for her mysterious disappearance during an attempt to fly around the world as for her pioneering accomplishments. Born in Atchison, Kansas, Earhart bought her first plane in 1921. In 1929 she organized an all-women’s air race from Los Angeles to Cleveland, which Will Rogers dubbed the “Powder Puff Derby,” and with a group of women pilots was a founder and first president of the Ninety-Nines, the first professional women pilots’ organization. In 1932 she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, five years to the day after Lindbergh had been the first man to do so. Three years later she flew a solo transpacific flight from Hawaii to California, for which President Roosevelt remarked, "You have scored again . . . (and) shown even the ‘doubting Thomases’ that aviation is a science which cannot be limited to men only." In 1937 she and navigator Fred Noonan embarked on a planned flight around the world; but on July 2, Earhart’s plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, and neither she nor her plane was ever found.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Alexandrina Bruce
William Bertus Voortmeyer (1891-1952) was a master maritime navigator who developed many early aerial navigation systems, including a numerical signal code by which ships at sea were able to advise pilots of their position by hoisting numerical flags to indicate the distance to a destination. Voortmeyer was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and at age 13 went to sea as a cabin boy on the sailing ship of which his father was captain. Voortmeyer spent the next twenty years at sea, earning a Master Mariners License. During World War I, he was a navigating officer in the transport service. When he left the sea, he held several Civil Aeronautics and Administration (CAA) and California State teaching credentials and was a certified instructor of hulls, an aviation cadet instructor, a pilot, and a Tug Master. He taught classes in marine navigation, writing books on navigation including Guide to Air Pilotage and Meteorology, and Air Navigation. During the late 1920s, he was a navigation adviser on several pioneering flights, including the first successful flight across the Pacific ocean by Ernie Smith, the Dole Flight and the pioneering flight of Charles Kingsford-Smith in 1928. Voortmeyer was also a navigation consultant for Amelia Earhart and for pioneering flights to the Arctic. From 1930 to 1935 he was with the Port of Oakland as a nautical consultant. In 1928, Voortmeyer developed an internationally adopted Numerical Flag Code, a numeral signal code which made it unnecessary for air navigators to master the international semaphore signaling code, by designing pennants with the number from one to ten that ships would hoist when aircraft were flying over head so that the aircraft could confirm their position. During WWII, Captain Voortmeyer was an aviation ground instructor in Navigation at the Pensacola Naval Training Station, Florida. He returned to the sea in command of various transport ships, including the Liberty ship, the Henry Hoyt. In 1946 he was captain of the Benjamin Warner and in 1947 was appointed as a pilot of one of Oakland's fireboats.
This collection consists of the following items documenting the career of Captain William B. Voortmeyer: newspaper clippings; photocopies of four photographs; a CD copy of Voortmeyer's unpublished manuscript, "The Rise of Air Power Over the Pacific," 1941; Air Navigation, textbook for the Air Training Center by Voortmeyer; manuscript of "The Modern Air of Pilotage;" manuscript of a Navy Address, by Lt. W. B. Voortmeyer, 1936; manuscript of talk given on Oakland radio station KYA by Voortmeyer to Junior Birdmen, 1935; promotional flyer for "A Practical Course of 12 Lessons in Aerial Navigation and Meteorology" by Captain W. B. Voortmeyer, 1933; a card of the flag signaling system developed by Voortmeyer, signed July 1, 1927; and Oakland City Resolution No. 2337 in honor of Voortmeyer.
Captain William B. Voortmeyer Papers, Accession 2010-0006, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Douglas DC-7 Family; Pan American Airways (Pan Am) (USA), 1940s. [ephemera]
Facsimile copy of decorative certificate issued to passengers by Pan American World Airways System (PAA) for crossing the equator; certificate is made out to Rosalie Charlotte Wolf for a transpacific flight made January 27, 1947, from San Francisco, California, to Auckland, New Zealand, and is signed by pilot Captain L. E. Hunt. Illustration includes a Douglas DC-7 in flight at top left, head of King Neptune with his trident, silhouette map of the Pacific Ocean, and assorted sea creatures.
Smithsonian magazine editor's job involves working mostly behind the scenes. We think of ourselves as deskbound, though the truth is, our combined travel experiences would fill months of magazine pages. So from time to time one of us will share a journey or two. This month we present the down under travel experiences of longtime editor Edwards Park, originator of the magazine's "Around the Mall and Beyond" column. Ted got up from his desk a number of times over the years to go to "Oz," a land that became his second home.
Going the Distance by Edwards Park
For some arcane reason, Americans need a visa to visit Australia. Until computers took over, we had to apply for it, and those who lived near Washington, D.C. often went straight to the Australian Embassy. My passport still has one obtained there in 1994. I remember answering the standard questions, including: "Have you visited Australia before?" "Yes," I said. "When was your last visit?" "Two years ago." "Was that your first time?" "No, that would be 1942, during the war. Then 1946." The official looked up from the application form. "Any other visits?" "Yes," I said. "Between 20 and 30." And then I had to explain that my wife is an Australian, that we lived in Melbourne for five years, and have since returned whenever we could. Australia is my country-in-law, and obviously, I'm very fond of it.
Getting there used to be half the fun. In the late 1930s it called for a seagoing vacation on a comfortable Matson liner, or a mostly luxurious aerial journey by flying boat from Britain. Our first tickets for transpacific flights in pre-jet days included a 30-hour layover in a good Honolulu hotel, a couple of hours at tiny, equatorial Canton Island and an afternoon and evening at Nandi, in the Fiji Islands. Time in the air was spent chatting with fellow adventurers—there weren't many of them—eating splendid food and nodding off to the lulling beat of four mighty engines.
Some of these propeller-driven planes were sleepers, the seats compartmented and made into berths by the steward. But who could resist stepping out in the wee hours at Canton for a cup of U.S. Navy coffee and a look at the atoll's one tree? The whole flight took about four days, and left indelible and pleasant memories.
Today, Australia's famous government-sponsored airline, Qantas, makes the trip nonstop from Los Angeles to Sydney in less than 15 hours! You board a jumbo jet, modified to take fewer passengers and more fuel, and settle down for an arduous—but shortened—sentence in an aluminum jail. Many Australia-bound passengers prefer to stop over in Hawaii for a touch of paradise before facing the nine-hour leg to Sydney.
Qantas (the name is an acronym for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service) is still the dominating Pacific airline, though some American lines take on the Australia run at various times. Also, Air New Zealand does it, usually laying over at Tahiti before going on to Auckland, then across the Tasman Sea to the faint white line of surf that marks the 4,000-mile east coast of "Oz." It's a longer, more costly flight, but a good one. Ask a New Zealand air hostess for a martini, and she's likely to pass over the necessary bottles. "I'm no good at that," she'll say, charmingly. "Help yourself."
Cost for any ticket fluctuates with the seasons. You may pay surprisingly little. But face it: the physical demands of sitting, cramped, hour after hour, are a special torture alleviated only by struggling out of your seat and trying to walk up and down the aisles, past food and drink carts, perhaps to join the line waiting to get in to the loo.
If you have Australian hosts awaiting you, remember that their "sin taxes" on liquor and cigarettes are much higher than in the States. So perhaps you may risk trying an American duty-free shop for your present. But real duty-free bargains are elusive, and stories are told of famous-name Scotch whiskey that turned out to be mostly water. Sydney's duty-free shops, many of them along Pitt Street, seem more trustworthy, and are always worth a look.
The demands of arrival in Sydney may prove almost too hard to bear after your long flight. The airport is just as overcrowded and under-efficient as those in the States. If you've scheduled an immediate domestic flight to another city, you probably can't make it. But the airport's porters can help greatly—for a few American bills. Aussies avoid tipping unless for extra service. Help at the airport often qualifies.
Generally, if you plan to go anywhere else in this enormous country, you should stop over in Sydney for a night or two after your arrival. You need the rest, and this is a glorious place to get it. Many of the big hotels are outrageously expensive, but others, more reasonable, can be found. And at the time of writing, at least, the exchange rate is highly favorable to us Yanks.
Australian money is simple, attractive and easy to learn—coins for one and two dollars, bills for five, ten, twenty, fifty and a hundred dollars, growing in size as their value goes up—a convenience when paying for a taxi at night.
As the regretful time to leave Oz approaches, check to see if you'll need a departure fee and keep it handy. And have a good look at your last Australian sunset. The whole trip's worth it.
In July 1927, Ernest L. Smith (pilot) and Emory B. Bronte (navigator) attempted to fly from California to Hawaii. They crash-landed on the island of Molokai and lost radio communication. Neither man was injured. National attention was given for their efforts. Their Travelair was named 'The City of Oakland'. Mr. Bronte, born in 1902, was a pilot, a US Naval Reserve Air Service officer and a member of the National Aeronautic Association.
The scrapbook is a reference of their flight with newspaper clippings, a few photographs of the downed plane and a piece of the aircraft fabric.
On July 14-15, 1927, Ernest Smith and Emory Bronte made the first civilian transpacific flight from California to Hawaii in their Travelair 'City of Oakland.' Although they planned to land in Honolulu, problems with the gasoline pump and radio receiving apparatus forced them to crash-land in Molakai.
This scrapbook, covered with Tahitian tapa cloth, chronicles the Smith-Bronte historic flight and consists of the following: including 30 letters; 23 telegrams; 197 photographs; 357 news articles; and 20 miscellaneous items.
Three-quarter left rear view of the Fokker C-2 "Bird of Paradise" (aircraft number P-463) on the ground, showing the navigation drift lines painted across the top of the rear fuselage, horizontal stabilizer and elevator.
Events, 1927 Oakland to Hawaii, Dole Race, Program. [ephemera]
National Aeronautic Association
"Official Program - Dole Transpacific-Flight, North America to Hawaii, August 12, 1927," issued by the Oakland [California] Chapter of the National Aeronautic Association. Includes a list of aircraft and their crews in order of take off, and a map showing the location of the Oakland Municipal Airport, Oakland, California, within the San Francisco Bay area.
One-half left front view of Fokker F VII/3m 'Southern Cross' in the air. Piloted by Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith this plane flew 7,938 miles from California to Australia, May-June 1928. Seen on ground is Hess Blue Bird "Wanda" piloted by Capt. Frederick Giles from Great Britain.
Map, US Department of the Navy, Hydrographic Office, "North Pacific Ocean, Eastern Part", 121st Ed., May 1925, used in conjunction with the 1928 flight of the Fokker F.VIIB/3M "Southern Cross". Signed by W. B. Voortmeyer, May 31, 1928. Handwritten annotations at lower right: Original Flight Map carried on the "Southern Cross" prepared by me and donated to the Smithsonian Institute on May 31, 1948, c/o Paul E. Garber, Curator."
Events, Transpacific Flights; Fokker C-2, Military, "Bird of Paradise". [photograph]
Three quarter left side view of a Fokker C-2 on the ground, USAAC s/n 26-202 (not visible). Caption on reverse: "Tri-motered Fokker 'Bird of Paradise' just after first successful non-stop flight to Islands. 1927 Wheeler Field, Army Transport (3 Wright Whirlwinds) H.P. 210."
In 1928, Australian aviator Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and his crew completed the first transpacific flight in the Fokker F.VIIB-3m "Southern Cross." William B. Voortmeyer was a master maritime navigator who had developed many early aerial navigation systems, including a numerical signal code by which ships at sea were able to advise pilots of their position by hoisting numerical flags to indicate the distance to a destination. For the "Southern Cross" flight, Voortmeyer prepared maps along major shipping lanes. The freighters and tankers provided hope of rescue should the Fokker be forced down and also provided important navigational updates.
This collection consists of the 50.25 by 34 inch route map used by the crew of the Fokker F.VIIB-3m "Southern Cross" in 1928. The map is from the US Department of the Navy, Hydrographic Office, "North Pacific Ocean, Eastern Part," 121st ed., with the route marked by William B. Voortmeyer, and shows his instructions on magnetic declination and expected winds, as well as positions of commercial shipping. The map is signed by Captain W. B. Voortmeyer, May 31, 1928 and there is the following handwritten annotation on the lower right of the map, "Original Flight Map carried on the 'Southern Cross' prepared by me and donated to the Smithsonian Institute on May 31, 1948, c/o Paul E. Garber, Curator."
Fokker F.VIIB-3m "Southern Cross" (Kingsford-Smith) Route Map, Accession XXXX-0908, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution