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of America, Inc.
121 5th Ave. N.W.
New Brighton, MN 55112
A 501(c) (3) public charity
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The National Air Tours were conducted from 1925 through 1931. Then in 1932, the last National Air Tour plane took off on the last Pathfinder trip. The Pathfinder was to scout out the 1932 route that the tour would follow but it was for a tour that, seemingly, was not to be.
In 1932, the nation was in the grips of the Great Depression and there was simply no funding available to support the tour. In the face of this national emergency, the Pathfinder turned back to Detroit after only four days of surveying the proposed route. Until now, this 1932 route was thought lost to history, but after a great deal of research it has been re-discovered.
One of the principal objectives of the 2003 National Air Tour is to honor the pioneers of aviation as well as the progress of aviation in America over the last century as exemplified by the original Air Tours. What better way than to pick up where they left off -- to finish, in their honor, the unfinished tour? So, in 2003, the National Air Tour will follow literally -- in the footsteps of its predecessor by picking up exactly where they left off some 75 years ago. We will re-create what they set out to do: we will follow the National Air Tour route of 1932.
The 2003 National Air Tour will begin and end, as did the original tours, in Dearborn, Michigan. The tour will be flown by as many of the original vintage aircraft as can be located and convinced to join in the tour. Today, between sixteen and twenty of the actual aircraft that flew on the original National Air Tours are still in existence. We will also invite other aircraft, representative of the makes and models originally flown in the tours, to participate. In addition, we will seek aircraft representative of the progress of aviation over the last century, such as the Boeing 247, Douglas DC-3 and others. Lastly, we will invite select manufacturers to fly the tour with the aircraft of today, representing the progress of aviation over the past century.
When the 2003 National Air Tour arrives in a town we hope that people will have a chance to see over twenty-five vintage aircraft from the 1920s and 1930s, including Ford tri-motors, Stinson tri-motors, and aircraft with romantic old names like Travel Air, WACO, Paramount, Curtiss, New Standard and Eaglerock. There will be bi-planes, monoplanes, and flying boats, all harking back to the "Golden Age of Aviation." When the tour pulls into town, we hope that kids will once again have a chance to go up in a ride in a real Ford Tri-motor or an open cockpit biplane, perhaps a WACO or a New Standard. More modern aircraft will be there too, so people can see just how far we have come since we took to the air nearly a century ago.
Actually, the entire progress of aviation will be showcased in this roving air tour, envisioned to take three or four weeks to cross America and back.
We are presently organizing the effort on a number of fronts. Research is being conducted to determine the best route for tour re-creation to take. Potential participants are being researched and will be contacted; if we miss them, hopefully they will contact us for an official invitation.
Both national and local sponsors are also being sought to assist us in this effort. Please contact us should you be interested.
This Web site will be greatly improved over the coming months. It is intended to serve as a focal point for the development of the tour as well as a great resource for following the 2003 National Air Tour as it is being conducted. Please "bookmark" this site and come back often to check our progress.
If you are interested in, or have questions about, the re-creation of the National Air Tour, please contact us. You may e-mail us at Info@NationalAirTour.org.