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There is no biographical file for pilot Reinhart in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.


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Pete Rinehart, Ca. 1929 (Source: Plehinger)
Pete Reinhart, Ca. 1929 (Source: Plehinger)

"Pete" (his brothers nicknamed him Pete) Rinehart was a frequent visitor at Tucson, landing eight times between about May, 1930 and March, 1932. He flew four different aircraft, all Stinsons. They were NC7445, NC8405, NC8445 and NC904W. He carried passengers on six of his flights. Most of his stops through Tucson appeared to be part of regional flights into Texas and New Mexico. Only one took him as far east as Chicago, IL.

1929 was a banner year for endurance flights and Rinehart was a part of one of the significant records that year. Refueled endurance flights were the fad for both civilian and military pilots; in the category of flagpole sitting and marathon dances so prevalent during the era. Records were set only to be broken in a matter of weeks. Photo, right from this REFERENCE, page 138, shows Rinehart flush with accomplishment soon after the flight described below.

The Daily News, Huntingdon, PA, July 13, 1929 (Source: Web)
The Daily News, Huntingdon, PA, July 13, 1929 (Source: Web)


During July 2-12, 1929, Rinehart served as copilot for fellow Register pilot Loren Mendell. They flew the stock Buhl Air Sedan NC3763 (although the airplane did wear the "NR" -- restricted -- designation during the flight). Their Buhl was named "The Angeleno." The news article, left, captures the end of their flight on July 12th. They were "forced down" because trash that they had thrown out aloft became entangled in the empennage and caused their airplane to have control issues that prevented accurate formation flight with their refueling airplane. Thus, they landed because of lack of fuel. Please direct your browser to the links above to see photographs of Rinehart and Mendell, and their airplane, to learn more about them and to read additional news accounts of their flight.

Time Magazine of Monday, July 22, 1929 captured a moment in their flight as follows, "... Aviators Loren W. Mendell, 30, of Los Angeles and Roland B. Rinehart, 29, of Salem, Ore., listened for 246 hr., 43 min., 32 sec., to the steady roar of an old Wright Whirlwind motor, regulated the controls of an old Buhl air sedan called the Angeleno , and soared, soared, soared over Southern California. When they had been up 175 hours, one hour longer than the last World's record (TIME, July 15), a great crowd gathered at the Culver City airport set up such a hullabaloo that 'talkie' directors on nearby lots had to stop work. The soarers sent down messages announcing that they were 'tough hombres,' would stay up 300 hours." As it was, another way of saying it, they stayed aloft for over ten and 1/4 days.

Time went on to enumerate their winnings, namely, "$1,000 each from Wright Aeronautical Co., $500 each from a realty firm developing a tract near the airport. A new Buhl [air] sedan ($13,500). Vaudeville contracts for $3,000 weekly apiece. Fame."

Will Rogers, in his "Daily Telegrams" in the New York Times of July 11, 1929, stated, "Two fliers from the West Coast, Loren W. Mendell and Roland B. Rinehart, stayed aloft 246 hours, 43 minutes, and 32 seconds in the biplane Angeleno, setting a world record for endurance flying. The flight ended on July 12 when the tail of the plane started fluttering, making it impossible to continue the thirty-eighth refueling."

After all that effort, their record was relatively short-lived, being eclipsed by a flight just a week later that bested their time by over 170 hours. That record was broken again less than a year later by the Register pilots known as the Hunter Brothers in June, 1930.

Later, during November, 1929, Rinehart served as pilot of the refueling aircraft for Register pilot Bobbi Trout's attempts at a women's endurance record. Elinor Smith (not a Register pilot) was Trout's copilot. After two attempts, on November 16-17 and November 25-26, they were finally successful over November 27-29 staying in the air for 42 hours 3 minutes and 30 seconds. This set the women's landplane endurance record over Metropolitan Airport, Van Nuys, CA. See an unrelated photograph of Smith at the link on this site.

About a year later, Mendell and Rinehart attempted to set an endurance record again. This time they flew the Albatross Z-5 named the Pride of Hollywood (NR331E, not a Register airplane). In four attempts encompassing September 21 through October 6, 1930, they failed to remain aloft any longer than 66 hours. Each attempt was terminated by engine or mechanical problems. On their September 25th attempt, fabric tore loose from a wing at 29 hours.

Besides his record setting activities, he also flew for some of the early Hollywood movies about aviation. Below is a Hanriot belonging to Register pilot Jim Granger. Please direct your browser to Granger's link to learn about the circumstances of his ownership. Below, Rinehart is posed with the Hanriot holding the hand of an unidentified woman. Although she is unidentified on the photo, she looks like Clema Granger, Jim's wife. The photo was probably taken at Clover Field.

Hanriot Owned by Jim Granger (Source: Rinehart)
Hanriot Owned by Jim Granger (Source: Reinhart)

Below is some color commentary provided by Rinehart's son (cited, right sidebar) regarding some of pilot Rinehart's activities.

The family moved to Salem, Oregon in 1905.  He served in the Navy on the destroyer Hazelwood from 1918-1919 as a fireman in the boiler room.... They were in the fleet with the battleship Arizona in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.  He was wounded by gunfire while on shore patrol in Smyrna, Turkey.

He went to University of Oregon a couple of years and played football and baseball with his brothers Bill (basketball coach and later athletic director for George Washington Univ.), and another brother or two. He learned to fly in 1922 at Love Field, Dallas, TX, when it was still an Army field north of Dallas.  His older brother Arthur, an attorney, was commissioner of transportation and public works for Dallas at that time and brought aviation to Dallas. Somewhere along in there he served as an Oregon State highway patrolman on motorcycles.

After learning to fly he went to Los Angeles area and hung out at the airport all the actors flew from.  Close friends were Leo Carillo, John Wayne, and a couple of others.  He flew the sound sequences for Hell's Angels when Howard Hughes remade the film for sound.  Hughes did not re-shoot the air scenes but recorded Pop flying by in various airplanes like the Hanroit HD-1 in the photo. Hughes dubbed in the sound they recorded...so when you see the film and hear the airplanes, that's Pop.

He later found steady work as VP of operations and pilot for Pacific Seaboard Airlines out of LA and SF flying Bellanca Skyrockets.  They moved to Memphis in 1934 and it later became Chicago and Southern Airlines.  He went to work for Delta in July of 1935 as their #5 pilot (not a duster) flying open cockpit mail in a Lockheed Sirius then later Stinson tri-motors, Lockheed 10 Electras, DC-2, and DC-3. 

He went into the Army Air Corps in 1942 as a flight safety officer and returned to flying for Delta in late 1945.  He was stationed in Fort Worth at the end of the war so he stayed there and flew the airline from Fort Worth Meacham Field and later from Dallas Love when they moved the operations to Dallas.  He flew the DC-4s, 6s, 6Bs, and 7s and retired in August, 1962 flying Convair 880s. He always thought he was born in 1902 until he applied for Social Security and the 1910 census had him listed as being born in 1901...so he got an extra year flying.  The plane he made his last flight in became Elvis' Lisa Marie and you can see it today at Graceland.

When he retired he went to work at General Dynamics in Fort Worth and got checked out in the B-58 which he said was the same airplane as the 880 but had afterburners, landed a little faster at 3 degrees higher angle of attack. Later he worked on the F-111 and retired from there at age 65 and moved from Fort Worth to a lake northeast of Dallas until his death.

He met mom at the airport and they were married in April, 1938.  She was an RN and one of American's first 8-10 stewardesses.  She flew on Condors and Ford tri-motors.  Their only wedding photo is in front of a Delta Lockheed 10 Electra and both are wearing their uniforms.

Mr. Rinehart further states, "... when he joined the Army Air Corps he listed his total flying hours as 9,000 or so in Jennys, Curtiss Robins, Lockheed Sirius, Lockheed Electra, Stinson Tri-motor, and the DC-2 and 3.  His license was #7593.  he never kept a log book after the war but recorded his hours on the back of his medical certificates he got every 6 months. I think the last one had around 29,000 hours on it."

Below, Rinehart and fellow Pacific Seaboard pilots posed with one of the line's Bellancas. Rinehart is second from right.

Pilots With Pacific Seaboard Air Lines Bellanca, Date Unknown (Source: Rinehart)
Pilots With Pacific Seaboard Air Lines Bellanca, Date Unknown (Source: Reinhart)

Below, the instrument panel of the Bellanca. Things were simpler then. To note especially is the airspeed indicator at the lower left of the panel. Contributor Rinehart says about it, "Note the airspeed indicator in the Bellanca with 100 mph in the 3 o'clock position.  That was one of the first angle of attack indicators.  You trim for 100 mph.  If it falls below that, your nose is up like the airspeed indicator, pointing up, so you push the nose down and get back to 100.  Same for nose down, the airspeed points below the 100 mark so your nose is low and airspeed is building up.  Pull the nose up and get back to 100 mph.  The old guys knew things back then to stay alive when you can't see the ground."

Pacific Seaboard Air Lines Bellanca Instrument Panel (Source: Rinehart)
Pacific Seaboard Air Lines Bellanca Instrument Panel (Source: Reinhart)

"Pete" Rinehart has a fair Web presence, with most hits related to reiterating that single endurance record. There is one record related to the crash of a military aircraft by a Roland B. Rinehart. His son elucidates that accident and summarizes some post-military experiences as follows.

.... he left the Army Air Corps in early 1945 at age 44 (he thought he was 43 at the time) as a Lt. Colonel at the request of C.E. Woolman, the president/CEO of Delta Airlines requesting him to return to flying since they were now getting their DC-4's back, the war was winding down, and C.E. needed pilots. He left the military but remained in the reserves until around 1955. He flew for Delta after the war in DC4s, 6s, 6Bs, and 7s.  he flew his last year in Convair 880s until he retired in August 1962.

As for the crash of a military aircraft, he did mention that  one time and had the crew bail out because it carried live bombs that they could not drop over the US wherever they were flying.  He stayed with the aircraft and bellied it in to some field.  .... His only other crash was flying a Lockheed Sirius mail plane for Delta on Christmas Eve, 1935 going in to Birmingham during a rainstorm and his engine quit.  He crashed into the trees short of the airport but carried the mail bags into the airport after the crash.  His face had gone through the windshield and he was taken to the hospital where he was not expected to live.  .... A new surgeon worked his face over and whatever else was cut and broken and he lived to fly within 2-3 months, moving to the Lockheed Electra.  Up until his death he would have small pieces of glass work up into a pimple on his face and come out.  The only other crash i know of was in a Stinson Tri-Motor (low wing version) he took up on a test flight after engine overhauls and the engines quit and he put it down in a field.  We have photos of that.  He could have had other "crack ups" as he called them in his early days from the early 20's to the 30's but we don't remember any stories of them.

Pilot Reihnart was born August 19, 1901 in Osborn, MO, and died January 20, 1978, in Dallas, TX. He is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Fort Worth, TX.


Dossier 2.1.137

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 07/21/11 REVISED: 03/13/12, 07/01/12

The Register
I'm looking for photographs of pilot Rinehart and his airplanes to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.
Thanks to Rinehart's son, J.C. Rinehart, for some of the photographs and information on this page.
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