W. Ben Stoddard
Three men were about to play an important part in Hawaii’s civilian aviation efforts. W. “Ben” Stoddard and Charles J. Fern had been fraternity brothers in college; Fern and Charles T. Stoffer were Army flying instructors who, discharged after World War I, decided to fly for a living.
Stoddard, in July of 1919, took a few flying lessons from Stoffer in Woodland, California, but didn’t finish the course. When his interest in flying cropped up again, Stoddard purchased a JN4D and asked Fern for flying lessons. After talking it over, the two elected to go barnstorming in California’s northern communities. But everywhere they went in the San Francisco Bay area, some flyer was already in place.
They decided “to go some place where nobody had been, and ended up in Honolulu,” according to Fern, who continued, “We brought the plane down on a ship and arrived December 19; I was test flying within a week. The commanding general of the Army stipulated that I had to pass some tests so Army flyers flew me a couple of times to give me an okay.”
Fern started barnstorming from Kapiolani Park in Honolulu on December 30, 1919, nine years after Mars’ first flight, carrying the first paying passenger in Hawaii since Ton Gunn. The cost was $10 a hop with $25 for stunt flying.” His Jenny had an OX5 engine which developed 90 horsepower and carried enough fuel for 2 ½ hours cruising or about 150 miles.
Excerpted from the book Above the Pacific by Lieutenant Colonel William Joseph Horvat, 1966.
Terms & Conditions
Please read the following Terms & Conditions of Use carefully before using this website. You are required to expressly accept the following Terms and Conditions of Use, without any modifications, prior to each use of this website. The State of Hawaii Department of Transportation Airport Division (the “HDOTA”) may revise the Terms and Conditions of Use without any specific notice to you. The Terms and Conditions of Use posted at the time of your use of this website governs that use. If you do not agree with any part of the following Terms and Conditions of Use, you will not be permitted to use this website.
The images and other content, (the “Media”), on this site, http://aviation.hawaii.gov, are protected under applicable intellectual property laws. Unless otherwise stated, intellectual property rights in the website are administered by HDOTA on behalf of itself and the State of Hawaii.
FOR MEDIA USE PLEASE NOTE:
You are prohibited from using the Media for any commercial purpose. Any use, whether or not commercial, that may tend to degrade, tarnish the reputation of, or embarrass the content creator (photographer, videographer etc.), the State of Hawaii, or HDOTA is strictly prohibited.
FOR ALL USE:
The following are general examples of what Media may not be used for or in connection with. The following list is not exhaustive.
- Taking or attempting to take Media for commercial, marketing, self-promotion, or novelty applications;
- Taking or attempting to take any action that results in editing or altering images -cropping is acceptable;
- Taking or attempting to take any action that compromises the website;
- Taking or attempting to take any action that involves reprinting on coffee table books, garments, posters, mugs, or any medium.
You agree that, upon notice from HDOTA, you will immediately cease all use of the Media and, to the extent possible, remove all Media from any and all materials in which they appear.
Credit is required for each of the Media as specified on this website. Credit must be placed adjacent to any use of the Media.
You, your successors and assigns, agree to release, indemnify and defend HDOTA and the State of Hawaii from and against all costs, liability, loss, damage, and expense, including all attorneys’ fees, and all claims, suits, and demands therefor, arising out of or resulting from your acts or omissions under these Terms & Conditions of Use and your use of the Media.