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Saturday, September 5, 2009

My new book is published!

I just received a box from my publisher (Arcadia) and inside were several copies of my second book: "Early Aviation in Long Beach." (My first was "Rosie the Riveter in Long Beach.")

Each book took a year to research and to write.

I discovered lots of interesting historical facts about how Long Beach was the center of early aviation in the U.S. mostly due to Earl S. Daugherty (for whom our airport was named in 1930 at the opening of the Women's Air Derby Race).

  • Long Beach Day was featured at the Second Los Angeles International Air Meet in 1910. The LB Trophy for altitude was won by Arch Hoxsey who later in the meet tried to break his record and spun out of control.
  • Long Beach was the site of the landing of the first transcontinental flight in 1911. Cal Rodgers flew from New York to Pasadena (crashing many times along the way in his Vin Fiz -- a replica of which is in the Smithsonian). The LB Chamber gave him $1,000 to get him to continue his flight from Pasadena and land in the water near the Pine Avenue Pier. Which he did, making aviation history. A year later, steps from his historic landing, he hit a bird, crashed and broke his neck.
  • Ameila Earhart came to Long Beach to watch the air rodeo organized by Earl Daugherty in 1920. She asked for her first ride in an airplane and was taken up by Long Beach Poly High school graduate, Frank Hawks.
  • It was one of Long Beach's first Aviation Commissioners, John Montijo, who taught Earhart how to do aerobatics and to fly solo. Earhart then flew in the Long Beach Air Rodeo with Daugherty and Hawks.
  • Charles Lindbergh flew to Daugherty Field several times and was able to make an emergency landing after midnight because Long Beach had a light on its field -- a fact he thanked and lauded Long Beach for many times.
  • Long Beach housewife and first woman licensed pilot, Gladys O'Donnell beat Amelia Earhart in the 1929 Women's National Air Derby.
  • O'Donnell and Earhart were two of the organizers of the 99ers -- the first woman pilots organization.
  • The Long Beach Municipal Airport - Daugherty Field Terminal was slated to open the day of Pearl Harbor. After the attack it was painted over and camouflaged and equipped with hot showers in order to house soldiers. In 1945, the pastel colors were returned and the terminal has been largely unchanged since.
There's a lot more in the book.

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