|The age of aviation
reached Hobbs in the 1920's with visits from flying
pioneers Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart.
Lindbergh was reportedly establishing mail routes in
the Southwest when he landed on a pasture owned by
Grandma Hobbs. The Hobbs' pasture was a frequent
landing place for pilots. The cowboys claimed
that Lindbergh would land when he saw a chuck wagon
and have lunch with the cowboys.
|The little girl on the
tricycle in the photo below is Minnie Mae Dalmont, the
daughter of Sam and Winnie Dalmont, who was born in
|The history of
aviation in Hobbs also includes an unplanned
visit by Amelia Earhart while making the first
transcontinental flight by a woman in
1928. As Amelia was flying westward in
her open-cockpit plane, she ran into some
bumpy air close to Sweetwater, Texas.
Her map flew out and she could not catch
it. She continued on until darkness
approached, when she spotted the new boomtown
of Hobbs below. She made a landing on East
Broadway and spent the night with the J.J.
Carson family. While here, she
telephoned her mother from the Hobbs Hotel and
dined at the Owl Cafe. The next morning,
she refueled at Thomson's Grocery and resumed
"Navigation was a serious challenge. This was Amelia’s first long-distance flight, and she learned how hard it was to navigate (or avigate, as aviators called it back then) with the inadequate maps of the day and the lack of defined fields. And it got harder as the populated East gave way to the less populated Midwest and the more sparsely settled Southwest, and even harder as cities gave way to featureless towns, towns became smaller and then became hamlets—just clusters of houses really; and harder still when the empty spaces between the settlements grew, and the farms turned into the endless plains of the Southwest. She learned dead reckoning; she had no choice.
The open cockpit made it even more challenging. The wind rushing about made the maps blow around. Amelia resorted to pinning the map she was using to her knee with a safety pin, but the pinning and unpinning as she flew off the edge of one map and onto another was never easy and became difficult when there were other things to do. West of Fort Worth, Texas, heading for Pecos in bumpy air, she was pumping gas from the reserve tank and didn’t, momentarily, pin, and suddenly the map of west Texas blew away. She followed her last compass course southwest, but then in pursuit of signs of life, and needing gasoline, she followed cars on a road going northwest, followed the road and the cars into the purple haze of the setting sun, and finally saw a small cluster of houses grouped around an oil well, one road running through. She had to land before darkness fell and rolled right through town on its one road, its Main Street, to find out she had flown clear across Texas and was in Hobbs, New Mexico. The townspeople helped her fold up the wings of the little Avian and move it to a safe place for the night (an overhelpful cowboy managed to put his foot through a wing; a piece of tablecloth was glued down over it), fed her at the Owl Café, found her some gasoline, and gave her a bed. The next morning she took off down Main Street, with more help from her new friends, but still without a map, heading southwest as instructed, looking for the Pecos River and a railroad line, her markers for the town of Pecos.
It was a short flight, only a hundred miles. The engine started to sound rough, but she thought it would work its way through and ignored it. She set down in Pecos, where she ended up at a Rotary Club lunch, then took off for El Paso, and then suddenly real trouble—the engine started kicking up badly—and she had to put down in the desert amidst the mesquite bushes. Friendly passersby helped her tow her plane, its wings again folded, down the highway back to Pecos. It turned out the Hobbs gasoline was bad and had ruined the engine valves. She remained there for the five days it took the mechanics to bring the engine back into working order."
Permission for use provided by the author.
periodontist Carlene Mendieta, from Sonoma, California,
recreated Amelia Earhart's transcontinental flight,
stopping in Hobbs along the way. A large crowd
greeted her at the Hobbs Municipal Airport and she spent
several days in the area when flights nationwide were
grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration
following the events of September 11, 2001.
While in Hobbs, Dr. Mendieta enjoyed
breakfast at Casey's in the MiniMall,
recreating the meal of fried eggs, ham
and biscuits that Amelia Earhart had
on her visit to Hobbs.
Read more about the recreation of this
historic flight at:
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