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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Apr > Apr 11

1924 'UFO' Goes The Distance

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2007 14:38:34 -0400
Fwd Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2007 14:38:34 -0400
Subject: 1924 'UFO' Goes The Distance

Source: The Rochester Post Bulletin - Minnesota, USA



Flashback: 'UFO' Goes The Distance
By Greg Sellnow
The Post-Bulletin

On April 24, 1924, an unidentified flying object made its way
across the early afternoon sky a few miles east of Rochester. At
least, it was unidentified to many who saw it.

The barn-sized sphere was about 1,000 feet above the ground when
it was first noticed, but it quickly began dropping in altitude.
Before long, it was determined that the object was a hot-air
balloon that was part of a national distance contest.

The Rochester Post reported on the incident the next day:

"Ray Benedict, a farmer living five miles east of Rochester,
reported that he sighted one of the national balloons at 1
o'clock that afternoon. He stated that the big gas bag was
traveling in a northwesterly direction."

The balloon, dubbed the Goodyear III, landed on the Chicago
Great Western Railroad tracks about five miles north of
Rochester near the Henry Shefelbine farm. It broke two telephone
poles on its way down and temporarily blocked passage of a train
that had been scheduled to stop in the city at 1:40 p.m. Neither
the pilot, W.T. Van Orman, nor his assistant, W.R. Walling, both
of Akron, Ohio, was injured.

The distance contest, a national competition to determine the
three U.S. entries in a worldwide distance race, had begun in
Houston, Texas, on Wednesday morning, and the Goodyear III
landed in Rochester about two days later.

The balloon, manufactured by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.,
carried ballast, food for the two men, a shotgun (for protection
in case it landed in the "Canadian wilderness") and four U.S.
Army homing pigeons -- to be used to carry messages in case the
balloon landed in the Great Lakes or a remote forest.

The day after the landing, it was determined that the Goodyear
III had broken the national distance record. The second-place
balloon landed in Sanborn, Minn., and the third-place entry put
down near St. Ansgar, Iowa.

On Friday afternoon, Van Orman and Walling posed for a photo,
shopped at the Kahler Hotel and were treated to dinner by the
local American Legion Post. They departed for Akron the next

"The picture does not show Van Orman smoking," the Post reported
"although following the landing, he smoked continuously for
about an hour, not having had the privilege during the 43 hours
and 24 minutes he was in the air."

Five years later, Van Orman won the 1929 International Balloon

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