Tuesday, July 28, 2009


The Idaho Free Press tells the story of the Pacific Northwest States Air Tour at Richey Field in Nampa, Idaho June 29, 1931. Nampa was the only Idaho town in this air tour. It was a real "Barnstorming" event.

Gladys O'Donnel was a champion cross country aviatrix. She entered the first Women's Air Derby ever held and won 2nd. place. The following year entered again and won first place. Her husband Lloyd went with her. She was dubbed the "Flying Housewife".

Gordon Mounce was the man who outlooped Tex Rankin. He was signed to do outside loops over the airports along with Tex Rankin, whose record he battered. He was an expert stunt pilot as well.

Edith Fultz was a cross country flier. She was a barnstormer in WWII and was charter member of the Ninety-Nines, a premier organization of licensed pilots.

Florence Lowe-Pancho Barnes. Pancho's plane performed at an air show called the "Pancho Barnes Flying Mystery School". In 1930 she became the first woman to fly into the interior of Mexico and opened a new route for an airline.

In 1927 a young girl named Dorothy Hester from Portland Oregon took flying lessons from Tex Rankin. Tex recognized her talent and coached her in her flying career. At seventeen she was becoming a aerobatics champion.
The New York Times reports: Women fliers meet at National Show; Dorothy Hester has broken the record for outside loops at the age of 18. April 17, 1931.

Nick Mamer owned Mamer Transport of Spokane, Washington. The Ford tri-motor Monoplane "West Wind". The West Wind carried thousands of people. The purpose of the trips was to stimulate interest in aviation and to bring about an early establishment of the Northern Air mail route. The big ship visited over 200 cities.

Tex Rankin was one of the best pilots that came to this air tour. He established the Rankin School of Flight and also booklets on the Rankin System of Flying Instructions. He also brought the Rankin Air Circus to cities throughout the west. Dorothy Hester did stunts with him. Tex set an outstanding record of 131 consecutive outside loops.

There have been a number of women pilots in this story due to it being so odd at the time that women could be flying planes and doing stunts. Women were typically housewives at the time so it was very unusual for them to be doing this. Enjoy.

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