Nick Mamer Memorial Clock

Honoring an Aviation Pioneer in Spokane

A remarkable figure in aviation history, Nick Mamer soared to new heights as an accomplished pilot whose achievements captured the world's attention.

The Nick Mamer Memorial Clock, located in Felts Field, Spokane, Washington, stands as a tribute to the aviation pioneer. This rectangular, concrete clock is about 40 feet tall and is a symbol of Mamer's contributions to aviation and his impact on the Spokane community, as well as his tragic death in 1938. During its time, it was an essential part of Felts Field because it was a way for pilots to adjust and correct their watches as they took off and landed. It is still in use and can be found in its original place west of the Skyway Cafe.

Mamer, born in Hastings, Minnesota in 1898, achieved numerous aviation records during the early 20th century. He served in the U.S. Army Air Service during World War One where he shot down three German planes and survived being shot down himself. After the war, Mamer returned home and became a barnstormer in a flying circus. Participating in death-defying aerobatic tricks performed on stunt planes. He then made his way to Spokane in 1920. He then started the Mamer Flying Service and Mamer Air Transport where he carried mail, flew passengers, and looked for forest fires. He survived another crash doing a photo delivery from Seattle to Salt Lake City in the desert where he walked 30 miles to the nearest city. He pioneered mountain routes to multiple Northwest cities and taught the Air National Guard pilots how to fly at Felts Field.

Mamer is best known for his flight, the Spokane Sun God in August of 1929 when he and a mechanic by the name of Art Walker broke the endurance record for sustained flight. Remaining airborne for an astonishing 120 hours and 23 minutes with the pair not sleeping for 5 days straight. In the article “Nick Mamer and Art Walker, take off from Spokane's Felts Field” by Laura Arksey, she states “they set a record in nonstop mileage (more than 7,200 miles) and achieve the first transcontinental refueling flight, first night refueling, and first refueling at an altitude above 8,000 feet,”. The flight entailed a round trip from Spokane to New York without ever landing. Mamer's feat captured the world's attention, and he became a celebrated figure in aviation history.

In 1938 Mamer was piloting a small passenger plane from Seattle to Chicago when the plane crashed in Bozeman, Montana. All 10 people on board died on impact. The memorial clock was built the next year costing about $5,000. On May 30th, 1939, a dedication ceremony that thousands attended, and even the governor at the time, Clarence Martin attended and gave the main tribute. Martin was quoted saying “never felt safer on the ground than I did with Nick Mamer in the air.”