I'm sure this well-worn print has quite a story to tell, but we're going to have to work for it. Notes on the reverse say, "Lieut. Oakley Kelly, Hood River. A forced landing." In another hand it says, "Spirit of Hood River."
Hopefully our friends at WAAAM will identify the aircraft. It's definitely not the Fokker T-2 which he flew nonstop across the country in 1923, now in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
I think it's very possible this is the long expanse of sandy riverbank just east of Well's island which was exposed every winter before the construction of Bonneville Dam. We've seen other pictures of this beach including one with an airplane which crash landed there. Lieutenant Kelly spent some time at Pearson Field in Vancouver, so it's possible he made an unexpected landing in Hood River during those years. It will take some additional research to be sure what we're looking at here.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
Looks like a Curtiss Jenny with an OX5 engine.
Judy on 29th November 2018 @ 7:28am
Radiator doesn't look right for a Jenny, and that appears to be a big biplane. Note the height of the engine and length of the prop compared to the men standing in front of it, and where are the exposed rocker arms on the engine? I'd guess maybe an early mail plane or some WWI surplus bird.
J.E. on 29th November 2018 @ 8:27am
Some Lieutenant Kelly and Pearson Airfield history:
This is a pdf history of Vancouver Barracks and Pearson Airfield. It is long, and takes a while to load. Lieutenant Oakley Kelly is mentioned 24 times. The pages are not numbered so I suggest doing a search for his name. No mention of HR. There is mention of Kelly demonstrating the possibility of airmail service between Vancouver and San Francisco in 1925.
L.E. on 29th November 2018 @ 9:40am
Is it this plane?
L.E. on 29th November 2018 @ 9:54am
Certainly looks like waves in the background with trees on the far shore, so it fits that it would be a sandbar to the west of Hood River somewhere.
Longshot on 29th November 2018 @ 12:33pm
Town and buildings on the right?
Kenn on 30th November 2018 @ 9:50am
Kenn, I think we're looking NW. Hood River downtown is behind us. If we're just east of Wells Island, we're right at the end of "The Hook".
Arthur on 30th November 2018 @ 11:36am
From what I could find in early WWI aircraft listings, I think the plane might be a Curtis model R, early series. Later ones had uneven length wings. It would have a Curtis V-X engine of 160 HP; later variants had a Liberty engine. 160 HP was deemed insufficient. I can't swear to this. I'm hoping somebody can verify it or correct it.
Lt. Kelly was an Army Air Service pilot during a span of years that would include this airplane's time.
J.E. on 30th November 2018 @ 7:58pm
Well, this has certainly become and obsession and I am not even that fond of flying.
I have become fascinated with the Air Derby event of September 1927.
Most of you WAAM people probably know this history, but for others, who were ignorant, like I, here is a brief history.
The bravery of these pilots has amazed me. They had very little for navigation instruments and nothing for communication while in the air. Most of the time they didn't have any communication when they made emergency landings.
There was a race from San Francisco to Portland, then those pilots flew to Spokane to join the race back to Portland. There was a race from New York to Spokane, then those pilots joined the race to Portland.
There were different classes of planes.
The final landing at Portland was in observance of the dedication of the Swan Island Airport. Oakley Kelly was in charge of Pearson Airport and had been a big proponent of using Swan Island to build an airport. He was in charge of the race from Spokane to Portland.
Charles Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St Louis on September 14 as part of the dedication. The Air Derby Race took place the last week of September with a finale stunt show at the airport. Jimmy Doolittle put on quite a performance for the thousands of people who came to watch.
The weather was nasty during the Spokane to Portland race with strong headwinds, rain and poor visibility. The nasty weather continued during the air show.
During the race from Spokane to Portland...Norman Goddard had to land his plane on an island near Boardman. He ran out of fuel. Because of the bad weather, several pilots dropped out of the race at Pasco. D. C. Warren landed a few miles west of Goldendale to repair a mechanical failure then took off again.
J. B. Sidowski was forced down on a sandbar near Mosier because of valve trouble. A pilot made an emergency landing on the river bank at Camas, WA. Cecil Langdon ran out of fuel and landed at Hood River, but none of the articles say where.
I think the following one might be connected to the photo. Some of you will know if the plane fits.
From the September 28, 1927 Oregonian page 7:
"Fliers Land at Hood River.
Vancouver, Wash, Sept. 27-
Gordon Mounce, pilot: E. R. Smith, assistant pilot, and George Y. Morrison, traffic officer of Hood River, came through the Columbia gorge today from Hood River during a heavy rainstorm in a Lincoln standard airplane. Mounce and Smith left Spokane at 1:26 P.M. yesterday, stopped at Pasco and were forced to land at dark on a sand bar at Hood River."
If this isn't the right plane, I have saved all the newspaper clippings I have found, so I can see what the other grounded pilots were flying
L.E. on 2nd December 2018 @ 8:39pm
Obituary for Gordon Mounce:
SLAV CRASH KILLS EX-PORTLAND ACE
Gordon Mounce Dies Looping Plane at Belgrade
BELGRADE, Jugoslavia, July 28 (AP)- Gordon Mounce, 38, American test pilot and airplane salesman, crashed to his death today after 24 successful demonstrations in looping his baby "fleet" plane at Belgrade's airport at Zemun.
Gordon Mounce was prominently identified with early development of aviation in Portland. For several years after 1920 he was chief of the Hill Military academy aeronautics school and ended his term in 1929 when he joined the Fleet Aircraft company.
During the world was he was in the air corps and for a number of years was attached as a reserve pilot to the Pearson field army squadron at Vancouver, Wash. He came to Portland from Lewiston, Iowa, and attended Jefferson high school.
Officials of the United Aircraft corporation in New York said Gordon E. Mounce was employed by the Consolidated Aircraft corporation of San Diego.
Published in The Oregonian, July 29, 1938.
L.E. on 2nd December 2018 @ 8:41pm
At first, I was sure this was going to be the link to the photo.
In January of 1927 Oakley Kelly and John Stanley were flying around Mt Hood searching for lost boy Leslie Brownlee on Mt Hood. Kelly would have liked to land in Hood River but, ran into heavy fog, so he continued east. He was having some engine problems. He lost his bearings several times when flying above the fog. Ranchers in Dufur and Wasco heard him fly over. He ended up going clear to the Blue Mountains where they landed and hiked six miles to a ranch.
He was finally able to make contact the next day to let everyone know they were OK.
L.E. on 2nd December 2018 @ 9:19pm
Jimmy Doolittle had engine trouble with a transport plane and brought it down on a sandbar near The Dalles. There were seven crewmen on that plane. Doolittle said the Columbia River sandbars were the finest feature of the Columbia River gorge.
I could not find a Curtis model listed with any of the 1927 pilots. Kelly was at Pearson Airfield from 1924 to 1928.
L.E. on 2nd December 2018 @ 11:13pm
I looked at photos of Lincoln, Lincoln-Paige and Lincoln Standard biplanes. Most had a short lower wing. Many ran radial engines. Where they used V-engines they favored Hisso with firewall area radiators. Still, it's hard to rule out Lincoln variations completely. The photos were not all good quality and didn't cover the complete range of models, I'm sure. So, for now I still think it's a Curtis R early version.
J.E. on 9th December 2018 @ 10:13am