By Bobbi Bruce, Downey Historical Society
In reading the Downey Live Wire dated Oct. 23, 1941, there was this story about the largest mass delivery of planes to take place on Saturday at Vultee Field.
The Vultee plant had been waiting to receive fuel pumps to complete the Vultee Valiant B.T. 13 Trainer ships and deliver was to start Saturday. United States army pilots (73) and U.S. Navy pilots (50) arrived and the military took control of the operation. The planes took off in formations by three at intervals of 15 seconds and the total control of this movement of planes was to be done in 32 minutes.
All neighboring airports were closed to any air traffic while this maneuver took place -- only two other planes were allowed in the air, one being a military plane and the other was a news media plane.
This was quite an event for the Downey Vultee plant and with over 12,000 people attending this air spectacular sight, the mass delivery of planes was a great story for Downey in their participation in getting ready for our national defense.
To add some additional information to this story, later articles stated that Vultee by the end of October 1941 had delivered over 500 planes to our military. Many people had recorded that day by saying that seeing the sky above Downey glistening with blue and gold Valiant wings was a sight never to be seen again.
Also attending the ceremony for the planes’ take off was the military mascots Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen.
To learn more about this spectacular mass delivery of military planes, visit the Downey History Center.