Way Back When: Fasten Your Seatbelts and Tie the Knot

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Way Back When: Fasten Your Seatbelts and Tie the Knot
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A rare photo of the marriage party posing with the Lockheed’s seaplane on West Beach. The bride and groom are second and third from the left (Photo: Santa Barbara Morning Press, October 5, 1919)

By Betsy J. Green

A couple of SB folks grabbed a minister, a Lockheed plane, and flew up to become man and wife 2,000 feet in the air. The groom was a pilot who had flown overseas during the war, and now worked for the Zenith Aviation Company of Santa Barbara. The couple went up with the pilots, two witnesses, a daring minister, and a cameraman from “Flying A.”

“As the plane reached the proper altitude, the motor was shut off, the minister and bridal couple arose. As the minister pronounced the age-old words: ‘Do you – take this man to be your lawful wedded husband,’ the camera clicked. They descended to the water as man and wife, the complete flight taking 12 minutes.”

“The idea of the hydroplane marriage was suggested yesterday afternoon by the bride-elect, who was not seeking for the spectacular at all, but as a tribute to the nobility of her fiancée’s profession as a master of the air, she believed the marriage far above the earth in the element which he lives would not be out of place … It is said this is the first hydroplane marriage in the United States.”

Betsy's Way Back When book -- 1918 -- is now available in local bookstores and at Amazon.com. This is the fifth book in her series of the history of Santa Barbara, one year at a time. Learn more at betsyjgreen.com​

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John Wiley Sep 28, 2019 10:59 PM
Way Back When: Fasten Your Seatbelts and Tie the Knot

Great story Betsy! It's the Loughead F-1, apparently after its aborted cross-country demo flight. The nose (or bow since it's amphibian) looks modified, after damage from a hard landing in AZ. The excellent SDASM wiki pic nose prow is lower than in the NP pic. A higher prow would probably help in big swells. From wiki: "The Lougheads decided to demonstrate the long-range potential of the F-1A by making the first flight from Santa Barbara to Washington, D.C. ... However, near Tacna, Arizona, an engine failed... The mechanic worked on the engine while the two pilots caught a train back to Yuma to have the broken tailskid repaired. Then the trio cleared a makeshift runway, took off safely, and landed at Gila Bend, Arizona, for fuel. However, on the second takeoff attempt, the engine stopped, and the aircraft crashed nose-first into the ground. ... Among their most notable passengers were King Albert and Queen Elizabeth of Belgium. ... The brothers sold the F-1 in 1920... the new owners were to have used it to fly to Catalina Island, but it was abandoned on the beach, and was slowly destroyed by vandalism.

EastBeach Sep 28, 2019 11:21 AM
Way Back When: Fasten Your Seatbelts and Tie the Knot

That must have been something back in 1919. Cutting their seaplane's engines (two in the photo) so vows could be heard would have meant they had to glide to their landing.

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