"Montebello" Moonlight Over Vail Field in 1926

From the Original Oil on Linen 28" X 40"

Giclee Print 14" X 20" Image

6 Artist's Proofs - Sold Out

99 Signed and Numbered Prints $150.00ea

Vail Field was the home of Western Air Express, one of the earliest contract air mail carriers in the United States. In 1926, Western Air Express purchased six Douglas M-2 mail planes for service between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Vail Field was named after the brothers who sold the land to Western Air Express.

The first solo flight was on April 17th, 1926 and piloted by Maury Graham. After Graham's first flight, it was standard practice for one pilot to leave Los Angeles and the other Salt Lake City at the same time.

Only in that era could Fred Kelly, flying the silent movie star, Bebe Daniels dip his wings and signal to Charlie N. "Jimmy" James he was flying a special guest. The two pilots landed and had an Escalante Desert conversation with Bebe. When both pilots were asked by the boss, Harris "Pop" Hanshue, why they were late. Both replied "headwinds."

One morning, flying from SLC, Kelly saw a Basque shepherd baking biscuits on his stove. Having heard how delicious they were, he turned his M-2 around, landed and had breakfast with the sheepherder.

Jo Kotula's Aurora model kit box art for Western Air Express' Douglas M-2. He fired my young imagination in 1958!