The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960 Page: 28
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
I concluded that the plane was climbing and as a consequence was
running at a decreased velocity. This reduced the frequency as esti-
mated by ear until approximately 8:5, at which time it showed a
rather sudden rise to above normal pitch at 350 cycles a second, con-
tinuing at about this average for some time, which I did not record,
it again took a gradual rise to a pitch which my estimation indicated
as above normal. Instead of returning to normal as usual, the pitch
continued to increase until it reached what I would estimate at 500
cycles a second.
It is difficult to describe my feeling as I heard this note begin to
wail at a frequency indicating a wind velocity which I knew no sane
pilot would voluntarily produce under such circumstances with a
loaded plane and which I felt certain would be caused by a fall.
At this point the wave length began swinging, indicating either
that the aerial was being twisted about or that the navigator was
changing his position near the transmitter. This continued from the
time the navigator began to S.O.S. until he reached the point where
he began to say, "but we came out of it." The frequency rapidly de-
creased to about the normal 350 cycles, but immediately began to rise
again as he said "bk [break] we are in tail spin." At this point the
wave began to flop until it was unreadable and continued in this
manner for perhaps five seconds and ceased entirely.21
Numerous radio operators reported varying versions of the last
message sent from the "Dallas Spirit." I had called the Oakland
station at 9:oo P.M. and was on the telephone when the final signals
came through at 9:o6. Filled with apprehension, I listened as
the operator slowly relayed Eichwaldt's words:
SOS, we are in a tailspin (a pause). We came out of it o. k., but
were sure scared. It sure was a close call. I thought it was all over,
but came out of it. The light on the instrument board went out and
it was so dark that Bill cou-
The last word was never finished. There was a pause, and then
the radio came in again with a hurried "We're in another tail-
spin."22 Then there was silence.
Thus ended the Dole Flight, the "last fool flight" inspired by
the exploits of Lindbergh and Chamberlin in the spring of 1927.
Of the fifteen original entrants, only six had succeeded in taking
off on the first day. Three pilots failed to get planes; two planes
crashed en route to Oakland; another, an old-fashioned triplane,
22Dallas News, August 21, 1927.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960, periodical, 1960; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/m1/50/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.