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  1. #1

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    Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    Soaring over California – Know your Aviators

    Have you ever looked up in the que area for Soaring over California and wondered ‘What are these names that are hanging from these banners?’. Well I decided to do some research about these 22 pioneers of aviation. I’ll be posting a new person every day, so be sure to keep checking this thread.

    JAMES HERMAN BANNING (1900 – 1933)



    James Herman Banning was one of the first African American pilots. Born in 1900 in Oklahoma, he learned to fly from an army aviator after being repeatedly turned away from flight schools due to his race. He later became a demonstration pilot on the west coast, flying a biplane named "Miss Ames" (named after Ames, Iowa, where he attended college at Iowa State)

    In 1932, James Banning, accompanied by his mechanic Thomas Allen, because the first African American pilot to fly coast to coast. Using a plane supplemented with surplus parts, the "Flying Hobos" — as they were affectionately known — made the 3,300 mile trip in 41 hours and 27 minutes aloft. However, the trip actually required 21 days to complete because the pilots had to raise money for the next leg of the trip each time they stopped.
    Banning was killed in a plane crash during an air show in San Diego in 1933. He was a passenger in a biplane flown by a navy pilot, which stalled and entered an unrecoverable spin.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Banning
    Last edited by OogieBoogie; 06-12-2007 at 10:33 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    Oooh, nifty thread! Do the planes, too?
    The Right Honorable Count Boogie Bonz of Random, at your service.

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  3. #3

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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    This'll be really interesting. Now when I go on this ride my friends won't make fun of me for not knowing any fun facts..alright now it's in their face!





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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    Very Cool - My husband will really love this thread. Thanks for brining it to us and the time and attention you are giving it.
    Cheers



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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    Cheers for a great topic! I've only had to wait in the queue once and didnt get a chance to see all the sweet pics.



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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    Great topic,

    was it true that they left out some Aviators and plane models from California?

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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    What a wonderful idea!!!!! I will be checking this thread out very often.

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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    If an executive reads this: PAINT the HANDRAILS in Soarin's QUEUE!

  9. #9

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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    I love aviation. My dad works for Boeing and I have always had a fascination with aircraft. I love this thread!

  10. #10

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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    Great thread idea! I'll be back often, for sure.

    When I was a little kid, we lived in Chula Vista. Whenever we'd go to Tijuana, we'd pass a hill that had an airplane wing on it. I always wondered what that was. Eventually, I learned that this was the spot where John J. Montgomery made the first successful glider flight in 1883. I think the wing is still there. There is a tribute to Montgomery in Soarin'... and I think that's cool too. Another connection between Disney and my childhood.
    "Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, 'Isn't it a shame that Walt Disney couldn't be here to see this?' and I said, "He did see this, that's why it's here."
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  11. #11

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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyMickey View Post
    If an executive reads this: PAINT the HANDRAILS in Soarin's QUEUE!
    This has been an ongoing problem with Soarin'. TDA finally approved stainless steel handrails...hopefully in the Fall.

  12. #12

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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    Todays featured 'Soarin Over California' aviator is:

    FLORENCE LOWE ‘PANCHO’ BARNES







    Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes was a pioneer of women's aviation and the owner of the celebrated Happy Bottom Riding Club located on land annexed into Edwards Air Force Base in southern California’s Antelope Valley.

    She was born as Florence Leontine Lowe on July 14th, 1901 to Thaddeus Lowe II (1870-1955) and his first wife Florence May (Dobbins) Lowe, a wealthy family in San Marino, California. Florence Lowe was reared to become a society lady. An adventurous streak had always been present in her family, and the young Florence learned the spectrum of hunting, fishing, and camping skills from her father. She is even known to have gone horseback riding with the young George S. Patton, Jr. across the Alhambra plains. Another inspiration was her grandfather, Prof. Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, who had pioneered American aviation with the establishment of the Union Army Ballon Corps during the Civil War. However, her upper-class upbringing and her mother's fears about her wild tendencies and tomboy-like attitude led to a arranged marriage in 1919 to Reverend C. Rankin Barnes of South Pasadena, with whom she had a son, William E. Barnes.

    The peaceful life of a clergyman's wife was not for Florence however. After her mother's death in 1924 and subsequently inheriting the family fortune, in early 1928 she returned to her flamboyant and headstrong ways, which caused her marriage to end in 1941. She abandoned her family, disguised herself as a man, and stowed away on a freighter bound for Mexico, joining a banana boat crew once there. In San Blas, Mexico, she jumped ship with a fellow crewmember and began to roam the Mexican countryside with him. It was during this time in 1928 roaming the land on a donkey's back - reminding her male companion of the character he erroneously called "Pancho" who in reality was Sancho Panza from the novel Don Quixote - Florence Barnes first became known by her nickname of Pancho. She was known by it for the rest of her life.

    Having spent four months abroad, she returned to San Marino and in the Spring of 1928, while driving her cousin Dean Barnes to flying lessons, decided immediately to learn to fly. Convincing her cousin's flight instructor of her desire that same day, she soloed after just six hours of formal instruction. True to her flamboyant devil-may-care spirit, she forthwith brought friends along for rides and began "buzzing" her ex-husband's Sunday morning congregation for the fun of it. At this time in aviation history, Barnes was one of only two dozen aviatrixes in the United States, a contemporary of female flyers such as Amelia Earhart.

    Her passion for aviation took off, and she ran an ad-hoc barnstorming show and competed in air races. Despite a crash in the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, she returned in 1930 under the sponsorship of the Union Oil Company to win the race — and break Amelia Earhart's world women's speed record with a speed of 196.19 mph (315.7 km/h). Barnes broke this record in a Travel Air Model R, which she dubbed her "Mystery Ship."

    After her contract with Union Oil expired, she moved to Hollywood to work as a stunt pilot for movies.

    The high life treated Pancho well, but her poor money management during the Great Depression and disputes with her family were quickly draining her small fortune. By 1935, she had only her apartment in Hollywood left. She sold this and in March, 1935 bought 80 acres of land in the Mojave Desert, near the Rogers dry lake bed and the nascent Muroc Field, then referred to as March Field because it was an adjunct property of March Army Air Force Base at this time.

    On her land, Pancho Barnes built the Happy Bottom Riding Club, also known as the Rancho Oro Verde Fly-Inn Dude Ranch, a dude ranch and restaurant which catered to airmen at the nearby airfield. Pancho became very close friends with many of the early test pilots, including Chuck Yeager, General Jimmy Doolittle, and Buzz Aldrin. Pancho's ranch became famous for the parties and high-flying lifestyle of all the guests. However, a change of command in 1952 contributed to her getting into a conflict with the US Air Force, and Pancho's colorful character was evicted from the base after a suspicious fire burned her ranch to the ground in 1953.

    After the Rancho Oro Verde was destroyed, Pancho was so disgusted that she moved to Cantil, California, with hopes of restarting a similar ranch there. Pancho filed a law suit against the United States Air Force for having been evicted from her property on Edwards AFB. Her main contention of defense was: "My grandfather founded the United States Air Force." On that argument the court found in her favor and reinstated her property with $375,000 remuneration. Pancho once again became a commonplace figure at the base and was referred to as the "Mother of Edwards AFB". The officer's mess at Edwards was renamed the Pancho Barnes Room, and the wounds began to heal as Pancho reconnected with many old-timers.

    Pancho was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Antelope Valley Aero Museum's annual "Barnstormers Reunion" on April 5, 1975. However, when a friend called on March 30, she could not reach Pancho. When Pancho's son Bill went to investigate, he found Pancho dead in her home in Boron, California. The coroner determined that she had died of a heart attack several days earlier.

    Pancho’s life and personality were portrayed in the 1983 epic film The Right Stuff adapted from Tom Wolfe's bestselling book of the same name. Kim Stanley played Pancho Barnes in the film which documented - as far as the history of early Space Flight goes - "How the Future Began." She was also the subject of a 1988 TV movie Pancho Barnes, in which she was portrayed by Valerie Bertinelli.

    Pancho's Mystery Ship was for a long time located in a hangar at Mojave Airport. It was sold to a private collector a number of years ago, and is currently in the United Kingdom where it is apparently being restored.
    Her Happy Bottom Riding Club site is today the location for the annual Edwards Air Force Base Pancho Barnes Day celebration (established in 1980). A barbecue is held and drinks are served, along with dancing and live music to honor the remembrance of this aviation pioneer.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Lowe_Barnes
    Last edited by OogieBoogie; 06-12-2007 at 10:34 PM.
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  13. #13

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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    Quote Originally Posted by OogieBoogie View Post
    Todays featured 'Soarin Over California' aviator is:

    FLORENCE LOWE ‘PANCHO’ BARNES







    Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes
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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    Todays 'Soarin over California' pilot is Katherine Cheung.



    In 1932, Cheung became the first Chinese American woman to be a licensed pilot. She overcame both cultural and gender expectations in a time when Chinese women were taught to be meek and quiet. Fortunately, she had an understanding father and husband who encouraged her adventurous spirit, which included stunt flying loops and barrel rolls.

    Although she never realized her dream of teaching women in her homeland to be pilots, she gained the respect of people in both China and the United States.


    Katherine Sui Fun Cheung was born on December 12, 1904, in Canton, China. Her name "Sui Fun" means courage and long life in Chinese. The only child of a produce buyer, she immigrated to the American West Coast in 1921 at the age of 17 to live with her father.


    With the intention of pursuing a musical career, Cheung enrolled at the University of Southern California (USC) to study music, then went on to earn a degree in academic piano from the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. She continued her education at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.

    An unexpected diversion from music occurred when her father taught her to drive a car in a parking lot adjacent to nearby Dycer Airfield. Cheung spent as much time fascinated watching the numerous airplanes taking off and landing as she did to the driving lessons. Not content with already breaking cultural tradition by driving a car, Cheung also wanted to learn how to fly planes. She did not let the fact that she was a woman hinder her ambitions. Her love for aviation was born. "I don't see why women have to stay in the kitchen, when instead they could learn to fly," she said to Josephine Chien in an online interview in Asians in America.


    After leaving the music program at USC, Cheung married her father's business partner, George Young, in 1924. They would eventually have two daughters, Doris and Dorothy. A progressive as much as his wife, George accepted Cheung's decision to keep her maiden name, and supported her desire to become a pilot.


    In 1932 Cheung's cousin, who was a pilot, gave her a ride in his plane. Finally at the age of 28, Cheung was able to act on her desire to learn to fly. She immediately went to the Chinese Aeronautical Association to sign up for flying lessons at five dollars an hour. In a mere 12 and a half hours, under the tutelage of Bert Ekstein, Cheung was given permission to fly solo for the first time. She made a perfect landing at Dycer field, the same site where her admiration of flight first began.


    After attending the Lincoln Flying School, it was very soon that Cheung earned her pilot's license, becoming the first Chinese American woman to do so. In the early 1930s, women numbered only 200 or 1 percent of the licensed pilots in America. At this time, Cheung joined the Women's International Association of Aeronautics and had officially given up a career in music.

    Indicative of her culturally defiant attitude, Cheung learned to perform stunts, flying acrobatic loops and barrel rolls at county fairs along the California coast. Through the 1930s, she barnstormed, flew her open cockpit plane upside down, and mastered spiral dives. She and other fliers joined in air shows, stunt derbies, and long - distance races. Cheung also studied techniques for flying in blind and low visibility situations.


    Cheung also joined a number of prominent organizations. In 1936, the prestigious Ninety Nines club asked her to join its ranks. Famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart had established the international group of women pilots only four years earlier. Through the Ninety Nines, Cheung met contemporary aviators such as Charles Lindbergh, Roscoe Turner, and Florence "Pancho" Barnes. Cheung also joined the American Aviation Association.


    That same year, Cheung became a United States citizen, which made her eligible to earn a commercial pilot's license. She also acquired an international airline license and occasionally flew as a commercial pilot.


    Through her associations, Cheung was able to fly with quite a number of famous women pilots, including Earhart. Although she entered various competitive races during her career, she never set speed or endurance records. Nevertheless, she remembered her roots and frequently toured cities with large Chinese populations. As reported by Josephine Chien on the Asians in America website, Cheung encouraged people during her speeches by saying, "I don't see any reason why a Chinese woman can't be as good a pilot as anyone else. We drive automobiles, why not fly planes?"


    The Chinese community so embraced Cheung that it raised money to buy her a 125 - horsepower Fleet biplane. The occasion was the Ruth Chatterton Air Sportsman Pilot Trophy Race, a seven - day race from Los Angeles to Cleveland, Ohio. Chinese actress Anna May Wong and others purchased the $2,000 plane for Cheung to fly in the race. The modest plane held up yet it was not up to the power of her fellow pilots. Cheung had difficulty flying over the Rocky Mountains and experienced trouble with the radio and compass, yet she finished the race in second to the last place. Cheung also flew in coastal races in California.

    In 1937, several tragedies occurred that made Cheung reconsider her daredevil attitude about flying. Cheung's friend Amelia Earhart disappeared somewhere over the Pacific ocean. The same year, the Japanese army invaded China. Cheung devised a plan to return to her homeland to help in the war effort by opening a flight school and teaching Chinese citizens to become pilots.


    Once again, the Chinese-American community in California banded together to generously raise $7,000 to buy a Ryan ST - A plane for Cheung to travel to China. As she was accepting the new plane at Dycer airfield, where her love of flying began, a third tragedy struck, this time closer to home. The same cousin who took Cheung on her first flying trip decided to play a prank. He hopped into her new plane but immediately crashed the plane and died. Her plans to visit China were dashed.


    At this time, Cheung's father's health was failing, and on his deathbed he made her promise that she would give up flying. Considering the fate of Earhart and her cousin, and out of respect for her father's wishes, Cheung agreed to stop flying. But soon after her father's death, the sky called Cheung back. She flew again for a few more years, until in 1942 at the age of 38 she hung up her wings for good.

    Cheung had spent a marvelous decade courageously flying across the country, speaking to local communities and inspiring the next generation. At the age of 93, she explained in a Los Angeles Times interview, "I wanted to fly, so that's what I did. Some of this stuff I've forgotten, but a lot of it I didn't pay any attention to at the time. I was too busy having fun."


    It was later in her life when Cheung finally returned to her Chinese homeland. After Cheung's husband George passed away in 1988, she was in low spirits. Her family took her on a trip to visit her Chinese village of Enping, where her fame was well known. The Aviation Museum in Enping displayed photos and memorabilia of Cheung's accomplishments, and the Enping Aviation Association and Research Institutes honored her visit.


    Throughout her career, Cheung's aerial achievements have been related in newspaper and magazine articles, and she has been honored in exhibits in China and the United States. The Beijing Air Force Aviation Museum proclaimed her "China's Amelia Earhart" and opened an exhibit to commemorate her. In America, the Aviation Hall of Fame inducted her, the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum enshrined her as America's first Asian American aviatrix. Cheung is one of only 30 people to have a bronze plaque embedded in the Flight Path Walk of Fame in Los Angeles which recognizes milestones in aviation.


    In 1993, Los Angeles photographer and artist Carol Nye presented a public art project entitled Chinese - American Women of LA, that featured Cheung. The photographic mural, which was displayed in the Metro Plaza Hotel in Chinatown, celebrated women who were caught between cultures and overcame discriminatory attitudes to gain new opportunities.


    Perhaps Cheung's greatest recognition was in 2001 when the nonprofit Museum of Flying inducted her into the International Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame. One of four aviation pioneers honored, Cheung received a plaque from the Chinese Consul General and watched a traditional Chinese lion dance. At the event, playwright Josephine Chien performed a play, "Into the Blue," about Cheung's accomplishments.


    On Cheung's 95th birthday, Los Angeles' Chinatown presented a banquet in her honor. On the Centennial of Flight in 2003, the International Women in Aviation recognized the 100 most influential women in the aviation and aerospace industries over the past 100 years, which included Cheung.


    Katherine Cheung died of natural causes on September 2, 2003, at the age of 98. She had two daughters, Doris Wong and Dorothy Leschenko, two grandchildren and four great grandchildren.


    http://www.answers.com/topic/katherine-sui-fun-cheung
    Last edited by OogieBoogie; 06-12-2007 at 10:35 PM.
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  15. #15

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    Re: Soarin' Over California - Know Your Aviators

    Quote Originally Posted by DCACM View Post
    This has been an ongoing problem with Soarin'. TDA finally approved stainless steel handrails...hopefully in the Fall.
    Good news. Those handrails look like they haven't been painted in 6 years.

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