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Friday, February 4, 2011
I am launching a campaign to request the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum to correct their newly opened exhibit: Pioneers of Flight.
While in Washington, D.C. I just was given a tour of the exhibit which showcases the First Transcontinental Flight of Cal Rodgers. It is a wonderful display that also includes facts about the Douglas World Cruiser and Amelia Earhart. Unfortunately, it slights Long Beach on several levels.
First of all, the flight of the Vin Fiz -- the name Cal Rodgers had painted on his Wright EX plane as an advertisement for his sponsor -- a grape drink sold by Armour -- went from Sheepshead Bay, New York to Long Beach, California. The exhibit acknowledges the importance of the flight but only includes verbiage on the Sheepshead Bay to Pasadena leg of the trip -- then shows a photo of Cal Rodgers landing the "waters of the Pacific Ocean." Those waters were located off the Pine Avenue Pier in Long Beach. More than 50,000 people gathered along the beach to watch Rodgers fly in because of the historic significance.
Rodgers was going to end his flight in Pasadena but because of the bright idea of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce they offered Rodgers $1000 to finish the transcontinental flight in Long Beach so that he could claim a "coast to coast" flight.
Millions of visitors will see the exhibit at the Smithsonian and it is important the fact that Long Beach, California was the final stop on this important flight be corrected -- especially since the 100th Anniversary will be held on December 10, 2011 right here in Long Beach.
Also it was disappointing not to find any mention in the Amelia Earhart area of the fact that she first came to Long Beach to see an Air Circus and received her first flight the next day from Poly High school graduate and pilot, Frank Hawks. The exhibit also fails to discuss the fact that Earhart flew in many Long Beach Air Circuses after Long Beach pilot John Montijo taught her aerobatic and how to solo fly.
Long Beach was the hub of aviation in the 1920 - 1940's and it is important that we not be left out of the history books or the historical museums.
So I have launched a campaign to request the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum to add these facts.
Posted by Gerrie Schipske at Friday, February 04, 2011
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