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SHOOTING STAR: THE FIRST ATTEMPT BY A WOMAN TO REACH HAWAII BY AIR 

Mildred_Doran_OneWhen Charles Lindbergh flew non-stop from New York to Paris, the world cheered. His amazing 33 hour solo flight caught the imagination of everyone. It crystalized the notion that aviation was more than a circus stunt; it was a viable mode of transportation. The flight was a milestone in aviation history.

James Dole who had made his fortune growing and marketing pineapple in Hawaii immediately saw the benefit to Hawaii of regular air service. Four days after Lindbergh’s triumph, he announced a prize of $25,000 to the first aviator to fly from California to Honolulu. The Dole Transpacific Air Race was scheduled for August, 2007, only 11 weeks later. Dole’s purpose was to entice Lindbergh to take the challenge. But, Lucky Lindy was already accepting other offers involving far less dangerous activities.

In Flint, Michigan, the millionaire owner of a chain of gas stations and an air field considered whether to enter the Dole Transpacific Air Race. As it happened, an air circus sponsored by the Lincoln Aircraft Company from Lincoln, Nebraska, was using the millionaire’s air field as their temporary headquarters. He was encouraged by two of the pilots to enter the air race.

Mildred_Doran_PicA young 22 year old school teacher who had caught the “air bug” was a frequent visitor to the air field. She begged to go on the flight, and the millionaire relented. Mildred Doran became the only woman to participate in the air race across the Pacific.

The gas station owner was an incessant marketer. He saw the publicity value in having a woman play a part. Rather than fly directly to Oakland for the start of the race, they flew in stages, making sure to speak to the local newspaper at every stop. The reporters loved the affable, pretty young woman and gushed over her every word. Like the bright unexpected light of a passing meteor, Mildred became a media darling.

She declared, “There is nothing a woman cannot do that a man can do in aviation.” It was 50 years before the modern women’s liberation movement.

The Dole Race sadly did not go well, probably due to the short time given to prepare. In all ten aviators died, including Mildred, either getting to the start of the air race, during the race, and in the search for missing planes. Even the two planes that successfully made the flight were more lucky than good.

An extensive search for 10 days by Navy ships, merchant vessels, fishing trawlers, and passenger steamships, found no trace of the two planes or their crew.

The young fliers who lost their lives were mourned. Many of the mourners spoke out and vowed never to forget them. However, aviation history has largely forgotten their story. Shooting Star brings the intriguing tale back to life.

Read more about Shooting Star by clicking on the book cover on the left.

 

1927: A BRILLIANT YEAR IN AVIATION

1927 CoverRichard DuRose's latest work, '1927: A Brilliant Year In Aviation', brings the personalities responsible for the worldwide explosion in aviation back to life.

DuRose presents a stellar cast of brave and ambitious adventurers. They include Charles Nungesser, the WWI flying ace who painted a coffin on his plane and called himself the 'Knight of Death'; Dick Grace, the broken-neck pilot who crashed airplanes for a living; Ruth Elder, a beautiful Hollywood starlet; Richard Byrd, the explorer; Anne of Lowenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, a 63 year old princess; Charles Levine, the millionaire 'junkman' and many more.

In a recent review, Don Blair, retired NBC Radio Network newscaster and author of 'Splashdown, NASA, the Navy and Spaceflight Recovery' stated, "In that year of 1927 exactly 27 aviators lost their lives while trying to get themselves into aviation’s suddenly growing record books.  As DuRose points out the public simply could not get enough of these daredevils and newspapers eagerly captured and reported on every one of those attempts.  The bottom line?  You will read about each and every one of those flights in DuRose’s 277 page paperback and be able to amaze your friends while citing the names of aviators they probably never heard of just like yourself before you got your copy of the book.  As it is written on the back cover.  This book brings those courageous and sometimes foolish aviators back to life.  A very worthwhile read."

 

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