Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
June 17th will be the 88th anniversary of Wilmer Stultz’s historic flight across the Atlantic in 1928, just one year after Lucky Lindy flew it, which resulted in a ticker-tape parade, meeting the President, lecture tour, book deal, product endorsements, new job, the works. Not for him – for his passenger.
You don’t remember Stultz? He was the pilot of the airplane that Amelia Earhart rode in. What, you thought she was the pilot, that she flew it solo, as Lindberg did, that she earned these honors on her own? Not according to the scholarly articles cited on Wikipedia:
“The project coordinators (including book publisher and publicist George P. Putnam) interviewed Earhart and asked her to accompany pilot Wilmer Stultz and copilot/mechanic Louis Gordon on the flight, nominally as a passenger, but with the added duty of keeping the flight log. The team departed Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland in a Fokker F.VIIb/3m on June 17, 1928, landing at Pwll near Burry Port, South Wales, exactly 20 hours and 40 minutes later. There is a commemorative blue plaque at the site. Since most of the flight was on “instruments” and Earhart had no training for this type of flying, she did not pilot the aircraft. When interviewed after landing, she said, “Stultz did all the flying—had to. I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes.” She added, “…maybe someday I’ll try it alone.”
Earhart actually did become the First Female Pilot to Fly Solo Across the Atlantic but not in 1928, she did it in 1932. The first flight – the celebrated flight – was merely a feminist publicity stunt, akin to the two women dubbed “Army Rangers” last Fall and even our own First Affirmative Action President.
Celebrating diversity is fine as entertainment, but it’s only entertainment. Nobody wants their brain surgeon to be the guy who was socially promoted for diversity reasons instead of demonstrated competence. Nobody wants their pilot to say “I’m just baggage, like a sack of potatoes, you’ll have to fly the plane on your own.” And frankly, nobody wants to elect The First Woman President just so we can meet a quota.
One can only wonder how much better this nation would be if Colin Powell, Tim Scott or Alan West had been our nation’s first black president.