National Geographic : 1938 Jul
Photograph byDavid Combs OFF ON THE LONGEST SAILPLANE FLIGHT YET MADE IN AMERICA Lewin Barringer, of Philadelphia, flying Richard du Pont's German-built Minimoa, takes the air at the Wichita Falls, Texas, airport onApril 19,1938, onhisrecord breaking 212-mile "goal flight" to Tulsa, Oklahoma. The take-off from a level airport, without benefit of hills, was made bywinch tow (page 130). "The first hour was a real struggle to stay up and once I was down to 500 feet," says Barringer, who is general manager of the SoaringSociety ofAmerica. "Just intime, heading over a large, dry, plowed field, I caught a good thermal and climbed it to cloud base at 3,500 feet. From then on the thermals were stronger and more frequent asIprogressed northeast and then due north with the wind." Once, entering a cloud, he flew by his instruments to 6,500 feet, but soon dived out because oftheturbulence. Later, flying cross-wind to his announced goal of Tulsa, he passed up chances for a possible distance of 300 miles downwind into Kansas.