Tuesday
Jul152014

August 18, 1929 - Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart signed the above receipt for fuel when she landed in San Bernardino in 1932. She was also here for the 1929 Powder Puff Derby.

Do you remember these two great aviation firsts?

*  Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927

*  Wiley Post and Harold Gatty's 15,474 mile flight around the world in 1931

Between these two historic flights another aviation first took place, the First Women's Air Derby, part of the 1929 National Air Races and Aeronautical Exposition.

Will Rogers called it the "Powder Puff Derby", the name by which the race is most commonly known.

Nineteen pilots took off from Clover Field in Santa Monica on August 18, 1929 (another left the next day).  About a half hour later they landed in San Bernardino at Federal Field (east of Waterman Avenue between 3rd and 6th Streets), the end of the first lap of the race.

Before the race began, the Exchange Club met on the roof of the Fox Theater building on Court Street and painted “SAN BERNARDINO” in 12 foot high letters, hoping the fliers would see the sign

Among the fliers were Amelia Earhart, Ruth Elder and Florence Lowe Barnes.  Amelia Earhart and her fellow aviators made it to San Bernardino, had dinner and spent the night at the California Hotel before resuming the race the next day.

Fifteen made it to Cleveland, Ohio on August 26th and were greeted by 18,000 spectators.  Louise Thaden finished the race first and Amelia Earhart was third.