Taking Flight

MAC 100 Stories: A Centennial Exhibition - Story 6

In 1929, aviator Nick Mamer and mechanic Art Walker held the Spokane Sun-God aloft for five days and nights - America's first nonstop, round-trip transcontinental flight. Refueling in the air was the biggest hurdle. The Sun-God crew caught fuel hoses or canisters swaying by rope from aircraft overhead. Since there was no two-way radio in the cockpit, Mamer filed his newspaper dispatches by dropping them out of the plane. Two years later, Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon Jr. took off from Japan, dropped landing gear over the ocean to lighten the aircraft, and belly-landed in Wenatchee - the first nonstop flight from Japan.

MAC 100 Stories: A Centennial Exhibition is told on the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture campus in Spokane's Browne's Addition, with additional highlights at 15 sites in Spokane and eastern Washington. The exhibit experience (February 22, 2014 - January 2016) weaves stories and programs about Inland Northwest people, places and events by capitalizing on the MAC's extraordinary collection. www.northwestmuseum.org

Spokane Historical presents 15 regional and city tours in partnership with the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture and its 100 Stories exhibition.

Images

Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis, 1927

Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis, 1927

Known for their groundbreaking achievements, the heroes of early modern aviation caught the attention of nations.Aviators like Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh transformed the way a nation looked at travel and transportation. This image shows Lindbergh at Felts Field in 1927, the same year he flew nonstop from New York to Paris. Image L90-3 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture View File Details Page

Spokane Sun-God on Return from New York - August 18, 1929

Spokane Sun-God on Return from New York - August 18, 1929

Breaking several records including the record for the world's longest flight, the Spokane Sun God flew from Spokane, then San Fransisco, then New York, then back to Spokane without landing. Image L84-256.8 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture. View File Details Page

Nick Mamer in the Spokane Sun-God, 1928

Nick Mamer in the Spokane Sun-God, 1928

Mamer poses in the cockpit the year before his record breaking flight. Image L87-1.37508-28 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture View File Details Page

Nick Mamer, Art Walker and the crew of the Spokane Sun-God - August 14, 1929

Nick Mamer, Art Walker and the crew of the Spokane Sun-God - August 14, 1929

From left to right: Neil O'Connell (hose man), Bob Wilson (pilot), Art Walker (mechanic), Nick Mamer (pilot), Verne Brookwalter (pilot), and Al Coppula (hose man). Image L87-1.40116-29 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture. View File Details Page

Art Walker and Nick Mamer, August 1929

Art Walker and Nick Mamer, August 1929

The Spokane Sun-God's crew did not sleep during their entire five day nonstop journey, a feat in itself. Image L87-1.40124-29 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture. View File Details Page

Spokane Sun God

Spokane Sun God

Crowds of adoring residents greeted Nick Mamer and Art Walker when they returned to Spokane's Felts Field after five days in flight. Image L87-1.40156-29 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture View File Details Page

Success

Success

Disheveled and exhausted, aviator Nick Mamer (center) was beaming after his and Art Walker's successful five day flight of the Spokane Sun-God. Image L87-1.40203-29 courtesy of the Museum of Art and Culture View File Details Page

Felts Field, 1934

Felts Field, 1934

Renamed in 1927, the Felts Field airstrip served as hub for both military and commercial planes in the Spokane area. This image shows the city's main airport terminal prior to 1949 when the Spokane International Airport was built at Geiger Field. Image L87-1.4602-34 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

“Taking Flight,” Spokane Historical, accessed April 28, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/407.
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