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Author Topic: The Dole Derby  (Read 121506 times)

Heath Smith

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The Dole Derby
« on: March 12, 2012, 10:39:50 AM »

I read an interesting story today that I had never heard of previously. It was a contest to fly from California to Hawaii sponsored by James B. Dole. The grand prize was $25,000. Several people died during the attempt. Two planes were lost, The Ms Doran and the Golden Eagle and later a third plane was lost in search of the other two.

Here are a few links:

Dole Air Race on Wikipedia

Hawaii Department of transportation site about the Dole Derby. They also have a bunch of photos of the day.

Very cool Youtube video about The Race.

I found something interesting in that one of the participants was a female passenger from Flint Michigan, a Ms Mildred Doran, whom the plane was named after. This plane, the Ms Doran was lost at sea. The others on the flight were a Navy navigator, Lieutenant Vilas R. Knobe, 30, of San Diego, and the pilot John Augie Peddlar.

From a webpage about the story, "The brand-new Aeronautical Branch of the Department of Commerce tried hard to legitimize the race. Inspectors insisted on extra gas tanks, lifeboats, sails, emergency rations and such, as well as orienting the old-fashioned earth-inductor compasses by swinging the planes around on a circle drawn on the ground. No pilot was to fly alone or without a navigator certified by them.". There were also references that all of the navigators on the planes were equipped with sextants and compasses.

An interesting idea yet remote idea to consider is the possibility that the Ms Doran flew far enough South to catch the South Equatorial currents that could have floated survivors over to Gardner. Perhaps it was Ms Dorans bones that were found there and not Amelia Earhart? While admittedly a bit of stretch, it could explain how a female's bones and a sextant box could have ended up on Gardner. This might also explain by the bones would be quite weathered when discovered in 1940, 13 years after the Ms Doran went missing. While the dating of many of the artifacts might not match well, I thought the type of sextant associated with the box might be of the correct era.

In any case, it is a very interesting story about the early aviators and the risks that they took to earn what was at the time a great deal of money in the process.

« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 10:56:42 AM by Heath Smith »
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Erik

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 12:18:00 PM »

Thinking outside the box.  I like it.  That's one of the conundrums about mysteries.  Oftentimes, the resulting outcome is something that was completely unexpected.



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JNev

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 12:29:02 PM »

The thought of Mildred Doran being 'our' castaway is fascinating, if a very, very long shot at best.

It is striking that the attached picture shows her complete with a compact in-hand - eerie.

What a lovely lady - and what a shame she was lost in the Dole Derby attempt.

LTM -
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Bruce Thomas

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 12:46:25 PM »

It is striking that the attached picture shows her complete with a compact in-hand - eerie.
Maybe Richie can use his photoanalysis skills to see if it's a Mondaine compact!  Or an iPhone.   :D
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Heath Smith

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 01:29:10 PM »


Here are a couple photos that could be analyzed if Richie or someone else has the time.

There is a wire on her pocket that looks similar to a found artifact. Although not exactly the same, I cannot figure out what it is on her pocket. It does not appear shiny but rather dull. The small buttons on her pockets could be compared to those found on Niku. Her shoes could be analyzed to see if they are similar to what was found. Researching the sextants, that is another area that is potentially interesting. Granted it might be a wild goose chase but she is the only other woman that I know of missing in the Pacific around that time. Perhaps there were more.
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2012, 07:20:09 PM »


Here are a couple photos that could be analyzed if Richie or someone else has the time.

There is a wire on her pocket that looks similar to a found artifact. Although not exactly the same, I cannot figure out what it is on her pocket. It does not appear shiny but rather dull. The small buttons on her pockets could be compared to those found on Niku. Her shoes could be analyzed to see if they are similar to what was found. Researching the sextants, that is another area that is potentially interesting. Granted it might be a wild goose chase but she is the only other woman that I know of missing in the Pacific around that time. Perhaps there were more.

I think it more than a little far fetched that this aircraft could have flown 2400+ miles from Oakland to Honolulu in approximately 27+ hours and had anything like enough fuel to fly another 2000+ miles to Gardner Island. Also this was almost 10 years before AE's flight.

The small looped item on her jacket appears to be part of some type small chain between a recognition pin of some kind and a "guard" pin. College soroities wear pins like this. The "guard" is to help prevent the loss of the main pin if its latch comes undone.
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Heath Smith

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2012, 03:44:54 AM »


Clarence,

No one is suggesting they flew the entire way. They probably had a good 20% spare capacity of fuel. If they missing Hawaii and kept flying South they might have then ditched and climbed in to a raft that they were required to carry. From there they would have to drift for potentially weeks before ending up at Gardner. Yes, it is still a stretch but it is a possibility.

Looking at the picture, my opinion is that it is not chain but wire.
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2012, 12:58:27 PM »


A stretch, but a very interesting one.
Let;s see, her name is known, Mildred Doran from Flint , MI and her navigator 's last name was Pedlar (I'll go back to the articles and get his first name).
Perhaps some descendents or sibling's descendents could be found and some mitochondrial DNA obtained for comparison with the samples from Gardner?  Rule her in or rule her out as a candidate for the Gardner Castaway.

The youtube video is interesting especially the life raft and the breath vaporizer demos.
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2012, 01:22:55 PM »


My Bad.  Ms Doran was a passenger, John Augie Peddlar was the pilot, and Vilas R. Knopie, USN, the navigator.  Perhaps his sextant type , number, etc could be traced and compared to the Gardner box?

It'is interesting that 2 planes were lost and then a 3rd plane searching for thhem was also lost. So, potentially, at least 6 and possibly more , people were floating around in 3 life rafts somewhere between Oakland and Oahu or beyond.  What happened to all of them?  Oh well, lost at sea, ho hum.
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Erik

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2012, 01:25:14 PM »

The youtube video is interesting especially the life raft and the breath vaporizer demos.

Harry!  I think you've stumbled upon the elusive 'water machine'.   :o
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Harry Howe, Jr.

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2012, 01:43:03 PM »


Erik
Yes,  the elusive "water Machine"  Will wonders never cease?
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Chris Johnson

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2012, 02:17:41 PM »

you tube link?

unless your pulling our chain  ;)
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richie conroy

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2012, 02:21:38 PM »


Here are a couple photos that could be analyzed if Richie or someone else has the time.

There is a wire on her pocket that looks similar to a found artifact. Although not exactly the same, I cannot figure out what it is on her pocket. It does not appear shiny but rather dull. The small buttons on her pockets could be compared to those found on Niku. Her shoes could be analyzed to see if they are similar to what was found. Researching the sextants, that is another area that is potentially interesting. Granted it might be a wild goose chase but she is the only other woman that I know of missing in the Pacific around that time. Perhaps there were more.

the object you refer to is a broache and the others are stars  :)
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richie conroy

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2012, 02:47:31 PM »

It is striking that the attached picture shows her complete with a compact in-hand - eerie.
Maybe Richie can use his photoanalysis skills to see if it's a Mondaine compact!  Or an iPhone.   :D

i dont think its same as one found on gardner follow the compact an thumb line, notice were the compact line changes at bottom of thumb ?
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richie conroy

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Re: The Dole Derby
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2012, 02:50:16 PM »


Here are a couple photos that could be analyzed if Richie or someone else has the time.

There is a wire on her pocket that looks similar to a found artifact. Although not exactly the same, I cannot figure out what it is on her pocket. It does not appear shiny but rather dull. The small buttons on her pockets could be compared to those found on Niku. Her shoes could be analyzed to see if they are similar to what was found. Researching the sextants, that is another area that is potentially interesting. Granted it might be a wild goose chase but she is the only other woman that I know of missing in the Pacific around that time. Perhaps there were more.

i dont think it is a wire i think it's a small thin chain but will try getting a clearer pic for you's  :)
We are an echo of the past


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