This silent film of the 1929 National Air Races in Cleveland, Ohio begins with the inaugural parade for the event (:17), and then quickly moves to the Cleveland Airport for the arrival of various contestants, including the finish of the Women's Air Derby — also known as the "Powder Puff Derby" — from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland (3:39). There is rare footage of the winner, Louise Thaden (4:19). Thaden was a friend and rival of pioneer aviators Amelia Earhart, Pancho Barnes, Opal Kunz, and Blanche Noyes. Thaden defeated her colleagues in the first Women's Air Derby, also known as the Powder Puff Derby, in 1929. The Air Derby was a transcontinental race from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio, which was the site of the National Air Races that year. It took place from August 13–20, 1929. Twenty women were entered in the race. Aviatrix Marvel Crosson was killed. Earhart damaged her aircraft at Yuma, Arizona, Barnes became lost and flew into Mexico and damaged her plane attempting to get back on course, and Noyes suffered an in-flight fire over Texas. At 4:58 winners' laurels are placed on her aircraft and at 5:13 the founder of the National Air Races, Cliff Henderson, speaks to her. It also features rare footage of many other participants in the women's air derby, including Blanche Noyes (5:32), and Long Beach's Gladys O'Donnell (6:38) who poses with her plane. Some of the other amazing footage in the film includes stunts performed with a Lockheed Vega (7:17) and dead stick landings performed by bi-planes (8:00) The film concludes with stunning footage of Charles Lindbergh (8:11) attending the air races and a flyover of the dirigible Los Angeles escorted by the Goodyear Blimp (9:00). The dirigible absolutely dwarfs its tiny cousin!
Iris Louise McPhetridge Thaden (November 12, 1905 – November 9, 1979) was an American aviation pioneer, holder of numerous aviation records, and the first woman to win the Bendix trophy, alongside Blanche Noyes. Thaden rapidly became a major figure in the aviation world and set many world performance records and won many major flying events. In 1929, she became the first pilot to hold the women's altitude, endurance and speed records in light planes simultaneously. Thaden set the women's altitude record in December 1928 with a mark of 20,260 feet. In March 1929, she set the women's endurance record with a flight of 22 hours, 3 minutes, 12 seconds. Women were barred from air racing from 1930 to 1935, due to sexism. In 1936, Thaden won the Bendix Trophy Race in the first year women were allowed access to compete against men. She set a new world record of 14 hours, 55 minutes from New York City to Los Angeles, California. In her astonishing victory, she flew a Beech C17R Staggerwing biplane and defeated twin-engine planes specifically designed for racing. For her achievements Thaden won aviation's highest honor given to women, the Harmon Trophy.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com