7 in HIGH x 9 in WIDE
(17.78 cm HIGH x 22.86 cm WIDE)
The Oakland Tribune Collection, the Oakland Museum of California. Gift of ANG Newspapers

Handwritten on the back of the photo in black ink "1927 Dole Race. Swallow monoplane 'Dallas Spirit' lost at sea." Photo shows the "Dallas Spirit," which can be identified not by the name painted on the side of the plane but by the numbers showing under the wings-NX941, in flight. The nose of the plane is pointing slightly up and appears to have just taken off. The "Dallas Spirit" was one of the competitors in the Dole Race or Dole Derby which was an air race from Oakland to Hawaii from August 16-18, 1927. There were fifteen original entries but due to various accidents and mechanical problems only eight planes actually took off and only two ever reached Hawaii. The race was sponsered by James Dole of Dole Hawaiian Pineapple. First place was $25,000 and second, $10,000. The "Dallas Spirit" was piloted by Captain William P. Erwin of Dallas, Texas. Alvin A. Eichwaldt of Hayward, Ca. was the navigator. Erwin was America's third ranking ace in World War I. He had intended to navigate the plane himself and take his new, young wife with him. But his wife was disqualified because she was too young and Erwin was convinced to sign on a navigator, Eichwaldt. Erwin was also competing in another race in conjunction with the Dole Race. The other race was to be the first Dallas-Hong Kong flight with a prize of $25,000 offered by William E. Easterwood, Jr. The "Dallas Spirit" was a Swallow, a one of a kind plane built especially for the Dole Race. The plane was painted silver with the wings painted green, with a fuel capacity of 480 gallons and a wingspan of 48 ft. The plane was sponsored by several Dallas area businessmen and civic leaders. Erwin's plane took off last in the race but returned fairly quickly with a piece of fabric trailing behind it. The plane required repairs and was out of the race. Two days later Erwin announced he would also go out to look for the missing flyers and planes from the race. He also still hoped to win the prize for the trip to Hong Kong. Erwin radioed various transmissions for several hours. The plane took off a little after 2:00 and the last transmission, an S.O.S., was received at 9:02. The plane was presumed to have gone down in a graveyard spin, making the total death count from the race, both directly and indirectly, 10. (Information provided by Lesley Forden. "The Dole Race," in "American Aviation Historical Society." Fall and winter, 1975.)

Used: Oakland Tribune

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