Today in History: Pilots Take-off from New York State Fair in Hopes of Setting New World Record

On August 26th, 1929, Clyde E. Pangborn and Carl A. Dixon took off from the New York State Fairgrounds in an effort to set a new world record for sustained flight. The record, 420 hours and 17 minutes, was set a month earlier by Dale Jackson and Forest O’Brien in St. Louis, Missouri in a Challenger-powered Curtiss Robin. Pangborn and Dixon’s plane, the “Empire State Standard,” was riddled with issues during the flight, including an incident just a few days in when exhaust began pouring into the cockpit, prompting well known stuntman Aaron “Diavalo” Kranz to come to the rescue, jumping from his plane to the Standard, fixing the exhaust, and parachuting to the ground. This wouldn’t be the last mechanical problem, however. At 10:45pm on September 2nd, 179 hours and 41 minutes into their flight, Pangborn and Dixon were forced to into an emergency landing after oil began gushing into the cockpit. The men managed to land the plane at Amboy Airport, but due to their injuries and exhaustion, they crashed into another plane after Pangborn missed the foot-brake. Both men managed to walk away from the scene and promised to try again.