First test hop for round-the-world flyers completed
Three Army Air Service aircraft took flight today in the first long distance test flight from Clover Field, near Santa Monica, to Mather Field near Sacramento.
The flight was originally scheduled to depart at 7 a.m., but bad weather delayed the start for more than two hours.
Although the fog had not lifted at Clover Field, Maj. Martin, world flight commander, decided to proceed after assurances from Lt. Lowell Smith, another world flight pilot, that the flight could be made safely.
Lt. Smith has a great deal of experience flying in California and once commanded the 91st Squadron, Army Air Service, responsible for aerial fire patrols throughout the pacific northwest, primarily in the Cascade Mountains stretching from Northern California through Washington state.
The three aircraft, piloted by Maj. Martin, Lt. Smith and Lt. Wade, left Clover Field at 9:30 a.m. and flew north through the Tehachapi Mountains towards Bakersfield. The world flyers were escorted by no less than ten additional aircraft carrying reporters and photographers. Lt Smith led the entire group of aircraft through the mountains and into clear weather south of Bakersfield.
Maj. Martin had engine trouble and was forced to make an unscheduled landing to correct the problem. Lt's Smith and Wade continued on to Mather Field and landed early this afternoon after a flight of about 375 miles. Maj. Martin, after fixing his minor engine problem, landed 30 minutes later.
The Sacramento Chamber of Commerce held a reception for the world flyers this evening and presented various good luck charms including a four leaf clover, horseshoe and rabbit's foot.
Lt Nelson left behind
Lieutenant Erik H. Nelson, pilot, and Lieutenant John "Jack" Harding, Jr., mechanic, were left behind at Clover Field to complete acceptance testing of their world flyer aircraft.
Completed just yesterday, Lt. Nelson's aircraft will require accurate alignment of its compass and an engine change before flying to catch up with the other three flyers in Seattle, Washington later this month.
Lt. Nelson flew down to Rockwell Field, near San Diego, today. After arrival, the compass work was done on an alignment platform especially designed for accurate calibration. The Liberty engine will also be changed at Rockwell Field. After the work is completed is San Diego, Lt Nelson will fly back to Clover Field and complete a short flight test program on the world cruiser.
Lt. Nelson is expected to depart Santa Monica on March 19th and meet up with the other three world cruisers in Seattle on March 20th or 21st.