April 2018 First Wednesday Lecture: Broken Propeller by Betty Goerke

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Attendees experienced a night of hair-raising aeronautical adventure when Betty Goerke shared the story of
America’s first transcontinental air race from her new book: A Broken Propeller.
In Oct 1919, fifty-nine pilots flying in open cockpits and with no parachutes, competed in a long
distance round trip air race that began simultaneously in San Francisco and Long Island. What
began as an ill-advised scheme to promote the future of flight turned into an endless fight for
survival amidst crashes, emergency landings, extreme weather, and faulty machinery. Goerke brings a
special knowledge to this story as her father, 1st Lt. Ralph (Baz) Bagby, was one of only eight pilots who
actually completed the race.
A long time Mill Valley resident, Goerke is a College Of Marin professor of anthropology and archeology,
author of several books including Chief Marin: Leader, Rebel, and Legend, and beloved board member
of the Mill Valley Historical Society.