amphibiousplanes.jpg
Artist: Keith Ferris
Medium: Oil on panel
Date: 1979

In January 1927, the Loening amphibians New York (1), San Antonio (2), San Francisco (3), Detroit (4), and St. Louis (5) en route during the Pan-American Goodwill Flight to twenty-two Central and South American nations. Major Herbert A. Dargue and 1st Lt. Muir S. Fairchild fly left wing in No. 3. Detroit’s crew was lost in a midair collision at Buenos Aires, but the OA-1As made it all the way from Kelly Field, Texas, around South America and back to Miami, logging 22,000 miles in the four-month flight. With no weather forecasts available, they flew compass headings without charts to pioneer routes for air commerce over and around the entire South American continent.

Grover Loening’s amphibian was the ideal aircraft for this kind of flight, able to land on lakes, rivers or airports. The inverted Liberty engine allowed the propeller to clear the main float, making the aircraft the first tractor amphibian and a significant addition to the growing fleet of Air Corps observation aircraft.

Created for the 1980 Keith Ferris Military Aviation Calendar published by the Air Force Association
On loan from: the collection of Captain and Mrs. Ben Allen ’56