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OLD ORCHARD BEACH AIRFIELD

The Fokker VIIA "Old Glory", at the Old Orchard Beach airfield, the day before its attempted transatlantic flight, in September 1927.


SITE NAVIGATION

OLD ORCHARD BEACH AIRFIELD
HARRY JONES
OLD GLORY
ROYAL WINDSOR


OLD ORCHARD BEACH AIRFIELD



The runway of the Old Orchard Beach airfield, with Harry Jones' Stinson Detroiter SB-1, on September 16, 1927.

The Old Orchard Beach airfield was a strip of beach, in Saco Bay, along the coast of Old Orchard Beach, Maine that had a useable runway at low tide and was officially established on August 11, 1921, by the town of Old Orchard Beach, which was named for the apple orchards that once stood on the hill overlooking the beach. It had a hangar owned by Harry Jones, who was an aviator that had been flying since 1912, and it was used as the starting point for the attempted transatlantic flight of the Fokker VII Old Glory, flown by James DeWitt Hill and Lloyd W. Bertaudon, on September 6, 1927, and the three aborted transatlantic flights of the Sikorsky S-38 Dawn, piloted by Wilmer Stulz, in October 1927,(1) including one on October 23rd.(2) Both aircraft, however, were lost over the Atlantic Ocean.

A successful transatlantic flight was made from the Old Orchard Beach airfield, when French aviators Jean Assolant, Rene Lefevre, and Armeno Lotti flew their Bernard 191 G.R. Oiseau Canari (Yellow Bird) monoplane, with 22-year-old Arthur Schreiber, as a stowaway, 3,418 miles, non-stop, to a beach at Comillas, about 25 miles from Santander, Spain, in about 30 hours, from June 13-14, 1929. This was the first French non-stop transatlantic flight and despite the added weight of the stowaway, which forced them to dump fuel and change their original destination, from the Le Bourget airport, at Paris, France, and almost caused them to crash into a seawall, on takeoff,(3) they still set transatlantic flight records for speed and distance.

An unsuccessful transatlantic flight was also attempted, from the Old Orchard Beach airfield, on June 13th, by the Bellanca J Green Flash monoplane, with registration number NX5315, which was flown by Roger Quincy Williams, as pilot, and Lewis Alonzo Yancey, as navigator. It attempted to take off, for Rome, Italy, just behind the Bernard 191 G.R. Oiseau Canari, but one of its wheels collapsed, forcing it to abandon its flight. Its aviators, however, were successful on another transatlantic flight, from the airfield, to Santander, Spain, and then Rome, on July 9th, 1929, using the Bellanca J Pathfinder monoplane, with registration number NX3789.

The Old Orchard Beach airfield was also visited by transatlantic flyer Charles Lindbergh and his Ryan Ryan B-1 Brougham NYP Spirit of St. Louis on July 24, 1927, during his 1927 tour of American cities, after he could not land in Portland, Maine, because of fog. The Friendship Motor Inn, built in 1970, on East Grand Avenue, near Ladd Avenue, now occupies the site of Harry Jones' hangar, at the airfield.

(1) Page 49, Joshua Stoff, Transatlantic Flight, Dover Publications, Mineloa, 2000.
(2) Page 247, Bill Gunston, Aviation Year by Year, Dorling Kindersley Limited, London, 2001.
(3) Page 72, Joshua Stoff.

FRIENDSHIP MOTOR INN


HARRY JONES



Harry M. Jones' Stinson Detroiter SB-1, with registration number 3123, at the Old Orchard Beach airfield, in September 1927. Jones had a hangar at the airfield, for his Jones Flying Corporation, and gave sightseeing flights. He had made the first air mail flight in Maine, on October 23, 1919, flying from Portland to Augusta, and the first parcel post flight, from Franklin Park, in Boston, Massachusetts to New York, which started on January 13th, 1913 and took about 52 days to complete. He landed in Brooklyn, New York on March 30th and completed his flight the next day, on March 31st. He was born in 1890, learned to fly in 1912, and died on April 15, 1973, at the age of 82 years old. The woman who is holding the propeller, in this photo, later took a ride in the airplane and may have taken many of the photos that appear on this web page.

Alfred Morse's aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Morse, standing in front of Harry Jones' Stinson Detroiter SB-1, with the advertising for Hazzard shoes on its fuselage.

Harry Jones, standing between his mechanics, Alfred Morse and Louis Burnell, and his Stinson Detroiter SB-1, which has advertising for Hazzard shoes, on its fuselage, in September 1927. The upper wing has "$4" painted on it and the lower wing has "Shoes" painted on it. The Hazzard shoe company was owned by Robert P. Hazzard. The Jones Flying Corporation later had a Bellanca CH monoplane, with registration number NC274E, around 1933, and had used a Standard J-1 biplane, earlier.

A closeup of the photo on the left.

Many of the photos on this web page may have been taken by the woman on the left, in this photo. She is standing next to Arthur Tappan, the pilot of the Stinson R shown in this photo, and Josephine Gorene, at the Hyannis Airport, on August 11, 1935. The descriptions of these photos are based on what is written on the back of them.
 

A 1913 newspaper article about one of his early flights can be read on this web site at
PARCEL POST AVIATOR MAKES MOONLIGHT FLIGHT

HARRY M. JONES


OLD GLORY



Former United States air mail pilots James DeWitt Hill and Lloyd W. Bertaud, along with Philip Payne, the editor of the newspaper Daily Mirror, attempted a transatlantic flight, from Old Orchard Beach, Maine, in the Fokker F-VIIA Old Glory, on September 6, 1927, at 12:23 p.m., but were lost over the Atlantic Ocean. James Hill, who had obtained his pilot's license in 1913 and had over 5,000 hours of flight time, was the copilot for the flight and was at the controls of the Old Glory, when it took off from Old Orchard Beach. These photos shows their silver and gold painted aircraft, which had been purchased for their flight by magazine publisher William Randolph Hearst, at Old Orchard Beach, in August of 1927.

The Old Glory at Old Orchard Beach, in August of 1927. Wreckage from the aircraft was later found, on September 27th, in the Atlantic Ocean, by the ship SS Kyle, which had been chartered by William Hearst, for a rescue search, and it has been speculated that the Old Glory was overloaded with fuel, when it crashed, as Lloyd Bertaud had radioed, at one point in the flight, that the aircraft was flying heavy. The last messages from the Old Glory, at 3:57 p.m. and 4:03 p.m., on September 7th, were distress messages that were made by Lloyd Bertaud, who had originally been selected to be the copilot for Clarence Chamberlain, on his June 1927 transatlantic flight, in the Wright-Bellanca WB-2 Miss Columbia, until the president of Bellanca, Charles A. Levine, decided that he would accompany Chamberlain on this flight.

The Old Glory at Old Orchard Beach, in August of 1927. Three other attempted transatlantic flights would also be made, from the Old Orchard Beach airfield, in October 1927, by the Sikorsky S-38 Dawn, which was sponsored by Mrs. Aage Ancker and crewed by pilot Wilmer Stulz, navigator Brice Herbert Goldsborough, and Mrs. Francis Wilson Grayson, who would have been the first woman to make a transatlantic flight, had the Dawn reached its destination, but they were aborted on takeoff. After Wilmer Stulz quit the flight, due to the approaching winter weather,(1) Norwegian Lieutenant Oskar Omdal was hired as the pilot and Frank Koehler was hired as the radio operator, and the flight took off from Curtiss Field, in New York, for Harbour Grace, New Foundland, on December 23, 1927, but this airplane also became lost at sea, in stormy weather.

(1) Page 49, Joshua Stoff, Transatlantic Flight, Dover Publications, Mineloa, 2000. David Beaty, however, claims that Wilmer Stulz declined to make another attempt with Francis Grayson, because he had another offer. Page 64, David Beatty, The Story of Transatlantic Flight, Airlife Classic, Mechanicsburg, 1976. Wilmer Stulz would later make a transatlantic flight, in the orange and gold Fokker F.VIIb-3M Friendship trimotor seaplane, on June 17, 1928, from Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland to Burry Port, Wales, in the United Kingdom, with Louis Edward Gordon, as copilot, and Amelia Earhart, as a crewmember. This flight, of about 21 hours, was sponsored by Amy Guest and it made Earhart the first woman to fly the Atlantic Ocean. She would later make the first female non-stop solo transatlantic flight, in a red Lockheed 5B Vega, during May 20-21, 1932, from Harbour Grace to Culmore, near Lodonderry, Ireland, in 14 hours and 54 minutes.

 

JAMES DEWITT HILL
JAMES DEWITT HILL: SCOTTSDALE AVIATION PIONEER
THE ADVENTURE OF OLD GLORY


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