If you were a kid growing up in the 1930s, odds are you and your buddies were "airplane crazy". Airplanes, air races, speed records, and long distance flights were in the newspaper almost every day. Pilots named Lindbergh, Doolittle, Turner, Hawks, and Earhart were real life heroes. And there were other aviation heroes - mostly fictional - who came right into your living room every night over the radio. Between 1932 and World War II, there were over 25 radio programs with an aviation theme being broadcast around the U.S. The first of those programs to totally capture the attention of young listeners was The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen in 1933.
The 2013 AAA-APM Fly-In will highlight the 80th anniversary of The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen to draw attention to the important role the early aviation radio programs played in inspiring an entire generation of young people towards aviation and other technical careers.
First and foremost we hope to see Sarah Wilson's "Jimmie Allen" Stearman 4E at the 2013 AAA-APM Fly-In. Stearman NC667K is currently the oldest surviving Model 4, having been delivered to the Richfield Oil Company on October 28, 1929. The aircraft was used by Richfield Oil as a promotional vehicle for their sponsorship of the Jimmie Allen Flying Club.
We also invite you to participate in a Jimmie Allen Air Race during the AAA-APM Fly-In. One of the things that set the Jimmie Allen radio program apart from the others were the Jimmie Allen Air Races. These were model airplane contests using balsa stick-&-tissue rubber powered models that participants picked up at their local gas stations and built themselves. The Air Races were hugely popular with 10,000 to 30,000 participants at each event, held in cities like Wichita, Denver, Des Moines, Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
In addition to the Fly-In activities next summer, the Airpower Museum intends to create a permanent display to highlight the aviation radio programs of the 1930s and 1940s. Not only Jimmie Allen, but other popular programs like Tailspin Tommy, Hop Harrigan, Smilin Jack, Frank Hawks' Sky Patrol, Roscoe Turner's Sky Blazer, Speed Gibson, Anne of the Airlines, Captain Midnight, Sky King, and all the others. If you or someone you know has artifacts, photos, or other memorabilia about these historic aviation radio programs, we invite you to participate in this endeavor by either donating or loaning your materials to the Air Power Museum.