National Elimination Gas Balloon Race
San Antonio, Texas
April 23, 1924
Seven Balloons Off in Endurance Race; Starting From San Antonio, They Are Expected Over Ohio or Indiana Today.
April 24, 1924, Thursday
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, April 23 (Associated Press). -- Seven giant gas bags took off here late today in the national elimination balloon race and tonight, with their two men crews, were drifting northward through the trackless paths of the air seeking new marks of endurance and distance.
San Antonio's Kelly Field, hosted the 1924 National Elimination Balloon Race.
The great balloon event of the year is the Gordon Bennett Cup race open to international contestants, and at present held by Belgium. But a pilot to have his chance in the Gordon Bennett must survive a national elimination race. This race was held last week in the U. S. Seven large gas bags left San Antonio in the presence of 100,000 people.
The pilots were Captain H. E. Honeywell, Kansas City Cooperative Club, making his 550th ascent; Herbert von Thaden, Detroit Aviation Society; Major Norman W. Peek, U. S. Air Service Balloon No. 1; Captain Edmund W. Hill and Lieutenant Ashley C. McKinley, two other Air Service pilots; W. T. Van Norman, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.
This year's elimination race was held under exceptionally favorable circumstances, with a steady, strong wind almost due north. Superiority in handling asserted itself as usual. All the balloons sailed away late in the evening at five-minute intervals Two balloons were forced down about the middle of next day in Oklahoma with less than 700 miles to their credit. Another landed at Moline, Kansas, the evening of the second day. Four other contestants covered over 1,000 miles, and landed during the third day.
The winner was W. T. Van Norman (Goodyear Co.). With his aide (C. K. Woolam) he landed near Rochester, Minn., over 1,100 miles from the starting point. The distance was within approximately 73 miles of the American distance record of 1,173 miles made by W. R. Hawley in 1910. Honeywell (Kansas City) was second, Peek (Army) third.