On January 11, 1931, James G. Ray was in town for the third Miami All-American Air Meet that took place at the Miami Municipal Airport. While Ray was in town, the Pitcairn Aircraft Company, the company that developed the autogiro for the American market and for which Ray was a vice president, he also participated in a promotional exhibit to showcase the autogiro by flying it from Bayfront Park and around the downtown Miami skyline.
The event began on Monday at 11:00am to allow a crowd to gather in Bayfront Park. Many of the attendees of the air show were staying in the hotels located along the Biscayne Boulevard corridor, therefore were just steps away from the take-off point for the exhibit.
James Ray demonstrated how easily the aircraft can take off and land nearly vertically from the park. He then took the vessel on an aerial tour around Miami’s skyline before landing back in the park. Once he landed, the promotional stunt concluded with Ray being issued a ceremonial citation from a Miami police officer for operating an unlicensed vehicle within the city limits.
Click on the video to see photographs and video of the James G. Ray’s flight from and around Bayfront Park. The video includes a background music of a song recorded in 1945 by Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest titled “I’ll Buy That Dream.” The song references the autogiro which was still a popular aircraft when the song was written in the early 1940s.Click Here to Subscribe
- Cover: Exhibit attendees around autogiro in Bayfront Park on January 11, 1931. Courtesy of Miami-Dade Public Library, Romer Collection.
- Image for Video: Autogiro parked in Bayfront Park on January 11, 1931. Courtesy of Miami-Dade Public Library, Romer Collection.