Paul Mantz

July 8, 1965, at Buttercup Valley AZ.

On July 6, 1930, in a Fleet 2 [NC725V] over San Mateo CA, Albert Paul Mantz set an international record of 46 consecutive outside loops, a most punishing trial for a pilot, which stood for almost 50 years. About that time he headed for Los Angeles, where he founded United Air Services at Burbank, and made his entry into motion pictures as a stunt pilot. There he became popular for his flying skills and dependability in a busy career that lasted until he was killed while filming the final sequences of "Flight of the Phoenix."

At United, his charter service was equally popular with the Hollywood crowd, and his legendary "Honeymoon Express" was in almost continual use by stars heading for Las Vegas marriage (and divorce) parlors. As technical advisor for Amelia Earhart, Mantz contributed his expertise to meticulously plan her pioneering flights in the '30s—sadly, to cut weight, she insisted on removing his long-range radio on her last flight.

As a USAAF Colonel in Special Service Motion Picture Division during WW2, he produced training films for aviation cadets and morale-boosting films for the public with his team of soldier-actors that included Clark Gable, Alan Ladd, Ronald Reagan, and George Montgomery. At war's end, he invested $55,000 in 475 surplus bombers and fighter planes, much to the amusement of his friends—at the time he owned something like the world's sixth largest air force! However, when he drained the fuel in their tanks and resold it for much more than he had paid for the lot, the laughter quickly faded.

Mantz's air racing career, like the man, was also legendary. He came in third in the 1938 and 1939 Bendix races with his old Lockheed Orion, than came roaring in to become the first ever to win the Bendix Trophy three times in a row, 1946-1948, with his red P-51B. In the 1960s he teamed up with another popular movie pilot, Frank Tallman, to form Tallmantz Avation at Santa Ana Airport and supply their Movieland of the Air museum with a combined fleet of working aircraft.

Notable film involvement: "Air Mail" (1932), "Blaze Of Noon" (1947), "The Bride Came COD" (1941), "Ceiling Zero" (1935), "China Clipper" (1936), "Cinerama" (1952), "Flight of the Phoenix" (1965), "Gallant Journey" (1946), "Men Against the S
ky" (1940), "Men With Wings" (1938), "Spirit of St Louis" (1957), "Test Pilot" (1936), "Twelve O'Clock High" (1949), "West Point of the Air" (1935), as well as many other lesser features, serials, and short subjects.