H96.1.1859

12-Aug-27
4 in HIGH x 8 in WIDE
(10.16 cm HIGH x 20.32 cm WIDE)
The Oakland Tribune Collection, the Oakland Museum of California. Gift of ANG Newspapers
H96.1.1859


Photograph shows the biplane the "City of Peoria" one of the competitors in the Dole Race. On the bottom of the photo is written in black ink "City of Peoria" and shows the plane on the field, presumably at the Oakland Airport, with a large crowd of people gathered on both sides of the plane. On the back is a stamp for where the photo comes from but a yellow piece of paper (the Tribune library card file) is glued over this stamp. This piece of paper says "City of Peoria airplane see Chas. Parkhurst Aviator." The "City of Peoria" 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 prize was $25,000 and second was $10,000. The "City of Peoria" was piloted by Charles W. Parkhurst of Lomax, Illinois and navigated by Kenneth Lowes of Peoria Illinois. The plane was an Air King biplane. It was built in Lomax, IL., by the National Airways Flight System. Although the company made lots of Air Kings in 1927, the "City of Peoria" was the only one made by this company with a Whirlwind engine. The plane's wingspan was 342 square feet and had a fuel capacity of 366 gallons total. The plane was painted blue and silver. Parkhust, 30, was a former Army pilot while Lowes was an Annapolis graduate. The plane was sponsored by the aircraft company that built it and by E.N. "Tex" Lagrone, an airplane operator. The "City of Peoria" was apparently the last to arrive at the Oakland Airport and was the last to be quickly rushed through the tests developed for the occasion. The plane failed the endurance test, it did not have a large enough fuel capacity for the flight to Hawaii. By all accounts, both the pilot and navigator were happy with the decision having flown the plane from Illinois and possibly being more aware of the planes mechanical shortfalls, such as a tendency to tip forward when all the fuel tanks were filled. Although the investors tried to prove that the plane could indeed handle the flight, the Race Committee stood by their decision and the "City of Peoria" was out of the race. The plane was scrapped soon after the Dole Race and the engine used in another Air King plane. (Information provided by the artical "The Dole Race" in "American Aviation Historical Society" Fall and Winter 1975 by Lesley N. Forden.)

Used: Oakland Tribune

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