Dallas Spirit

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Dallas Spirit
Frontiers of Flight Museum December 2015 021 (Dallas Spirit model).jpg
A Dallas Spirit model on display at the Frontiers of Flight Museum
Role Monoplane
National origin United States of America
Manufacturer Swallow Airplane Company
First flight 1927

Dallas Spirit, (aka Swallow Monoplane or Swallow Dole Racer), was a custom-built aircraft designed to compete in the ill-fated Dole Air Derby between California and Hawaii.


Dallas Spirit was built to attempt to win back to back two aviation prizes offered at the peak of record-setting aviation accomplishments in 1927. The first was to win the $25,000 Dole Air Derby between Oakland California and Honolulu Hawaii. The second was to win the $25,000 prize for a flight between Dallas and Hong Kong sponsored by William E. Easterwood. Dallas Spirit was built at the Swallow factory at 2401 North Hillside, in Wichita, Kansas.[1]


Dallas Spirit was a high-wing monoplane with conventional landing gear. The dual wingstruts featured large airfoil shaped fairings. It was painted green and silver.

Operational history[edit]

Dallas Spirit was unveiled at Love Field in Dallas, Texas on 6 August 1927. It was intended to bring as much publicity to the city as the Spirit of St. Louis did earlier in the year with Charles Lindbergh's solo transatlantic crossing.[2]


The Dole Air Race[edit]

The scheduled departure date was 16 August 1927. Dallas Spirit was flown by 31-year-old William Portwood Erwin and navigated by 27-year-old Alvin Eichwaldt.[4] By the time of their departure, two planes had already crashed, killing all their occupants. Most competitors barely could take off, and had mishaps, or turned back just after departure. Dallas Spirit did the same, returning shortly after the first attempt with six feet of fabric torn from the side, blamed on a misaligned access panel under the navigator.[5] Of the four aircraft that continued, two aircraft reported landings in Hawaii, and two disappeared; Miss Doran and Golden Eagle. Dole and William F. Mallosa who backed "Miss Doran" put a combined $50,000 in rewards together to find the missing pilots.[6]

Repairs to Dallas Spirit's tail section took two days. On 18 August, Erwin decided to attempt the California to Hawaii trip without the prize, and search for the missing aircraft Miss Doran and Golden Eagle then continue on to Manila and Hong Kong. A 55-watt short wave radio was removed from the Pabco Flyer and installed in the Dallas Spirit. Amateur radio operators across the country monitored the transmissions on the 33.1-meter wavelength. At 9 pm, Eichwald sent a message that the aircraft went into a spin and recovered, followed by a second S.O.S that the plane had gone into a spin. The abrupt signal loss in the middle of the call occurred as the plane crashed into the ocean about 650 miles west of Oakland.[7][8]

Dallas Spirit was built on credit with the promise of the Swallow Airplane Company receiving some of the prize money. The disappearance of the plane was enough to send the company into receivership. Owner Mollendick sold off his interests to aviation investor Victor Roos.[9]

Specifications (Dallas Spirit)[edit]

Data from aerofiles

General characteristics

  • Capacity: 2
  • Wingspan: 48 ft (15 m)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wright J-5 Whirlwind , 225 hp (168 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 109 kn; 203 km/h (126 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 91 kn; 169 km/h (105 mph)
  • Stall speed: 39 kn; 72 km/h (45 mph)

55w wind driven radio

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Wichita Photos". Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  2. ^ The Southwestern Historical Quarterly Vol. 63, No. 1. 1 July 1959. 
  3. ^ "THWARTED DOLE RACER PLANS FLIGHT TO TOKYO: Pilot of Dallas Spirit, Disabled by Wind, Repairs Plane for New Start West. WEATHER DICTATES MOVE". The Washington Post. 18 August 1927. p. 3. 
  4. ^ San Francisco Call-Bulletin. October 10, 1955.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Joe Christy, LeRoy Cook. American Aviation. 
  6. ^ "$50,000 REWARDS OFFERED FOR FIVE HAWAIIAN FLYERS MISSING SINCE TUESDAY: James D. Dole Puts Up $20,000 And Backers Of Miss Doran And Golden Eagle Pledge Total Of $30,000 ALL AGENCIES OF PACIFIC ARE MOBILIZED IN SEARCH Forty-two Naval Vessels, Including Aircraft Carrier Langley And Tender Aroostook, With Their Planes, To Scour Sea". The Baltimore Sun. 19 August 1927. 
  7. ^ Clinton B. DeSoto. Calling CQ. 
  8. ^ "ASN accident 19 August 1927". Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  9. ^ Joe Christy, LeRoy Cook. American Aviation.