Eva Catherine Davis

Eva Catherine Davis

Female 1873 - 1953  (80 years)


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Article Published in the Salt Lake City Deseret News


Can you imagine a greater surprise than being assigned to make an airplane trip to the Pacific Ocean and return, and to write my impressions of air travel?

I am free to admit I was somewhat apprehensive at first, it being my initial trip through the air, but after a visit to Salt Lake City’s municipal airport and having inspected the big trimotored 12-passenger ship built by the Boeing Air Transport, Inc., all my fears vanished and I was more thrilled than ever, and felt it a great opportunity.

Shortly after midnight we climbed aboard the plan, with the good wishes of a number of our loved ones, and were soon soaring through space. From the moment I entered the hug plane all anxiety left me, and I felt perfectly comfortable and safe, and experienced only thrills at the beautiful sights along the way. Our plane was well furnished with upholstered, reclining comfortable chairs, rugs, with electric lights above each seat, lavatory, hot and cold water, mirrors and every convenience.

Watches Storm

My first real thrill was watching an electrical storm which we encountered off to the west not long after the take-off, but the manner in which our skilled pilot avoided it, there was no cause whatever for alarm. Some of the passengers settled down to sleep, but I was too interested listening to the drone of the three great motors which gave me such a sense of power and safety; and the gentle swaying of the ship, which made us feel we were floating through space, and watching the brilliantly lighted towns as we swiftly passed above them.

The wonderful signal lights which lined our course gave added assurance of security, and the keen delight of watching the altimeter as we scaled the lofty peaks, was an experience never to be forgotten. Then from a height of 10,000 feet we dropped down to the landing field in Elko, Nev., for a 15-minute stop for refueling.

Then we were on our way again to witness the unfolding of a panorama of mountain peaks, gorges, chasms, streams and lakes, which were in turn succeeded by sand dunes and desert wastes, all basking in the soft light radiated from the moon.

There were times when I thought our pilot would hitch us to a star or that I could reach out and by pushing the floating clouds away, shake hands with the “man in the moon,” instead of merely exchanging a few fleeting winks with him.

Our next stoop was at Reno where a new pilot took the controls, the co-pilot remaining aboard and soon after leaving the fields dawn began to break and a beautiful scene met our eye. We sailed over the sierras, and then came the picturesque Sacramento valley with its farmhouses, beautifully laid out farms and gardens, its silos and the great river which looked like a silver thread with tiny boats sailing up and down; its smooth roads being traversed by automobiles which resembled toys from our elevation, and in the distance we glimpsed Lake Tahoe shimmering like a brilliant jewel in the sunlight, but the most inspiring sight to me was when we roared above that which resembled nothing so much as a vast sea of billow feathers of Celestial white as far as the eyes could see.
Fog Decreases

This beautiful sight met our vision as, between it and heaven’s blue dome, our marvelous aircraft sailed majestically on toward the Bay region. I wondered what we were flying over, and learned to my astonishment a few moments later that this was part of the usual fog and through which our pilot suddenly nosed the big ship and landed gently on the well maintained Oakland municipal airport.

Like our leave taking from Salt Lake City, our return trip was in the night time, taking of from the smooth apron in front of the Boeing company hangar a few minutes after 8 pm. P.C.T. I watched the air speedometer as the ship sped on the huge rubber wheels of the landing gear across the field and wondered at what instant we would leave the ground. I noticed the needle had passed the 60-mile per hour mark when I sensed the absence of ground friction and realized that we had left mother earth. The sensation, however, was not that of leaving the earth, but of gently floating into the still night air while the ground rapidly receded. At the same moment I knew that the plane was slightly banking for a turn to its eastward course; I looked through the window and involuntarily waved an adieu to the twinkling lights of Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley and other suburban towns of the Bay region. In a short time they were lost to our view as we flew on and on, faster and higher as the great power plant rushed through the night.

Both Trips Smooth

The lights of other towns came to view, together with the powerful revolving searchlights and lights of the emergency landing fields as the rhythmic roar of the three huge motors bore us steadily onward. I thought how puny we mortals are, and then with greater force, came a feeling of exaltation, of soaring above mundane affairs, and a confidence in the great craft in which we rode, the skill of the pilots, but above all the power of Almighty God, which has made such an experience possible.

Seems Like Dream

It all seems like a passing dream, but it has left me with a firm conviction that from henceforth I will be numbered among that ever-increasing host of men and women who are “air-minded.” I wish to say to those friends who so kindly “willed” me their share of air travel, that I sincerely hope I shall be the happy recipient of their good will, and I am sure that he only thing needed to make air travel more popular is education along aeronautical lines. That is sure to come, and I shall always be happy to do my bit to aid in the good cause. (Deseret News, undated.)

Owner/SourceSusan Woodland Howard
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