Frank Monroe Hawks (1897-1937) circa 1930

Hawk Buck 1930

Frank Monroe Hawks (1897-1937) in 1930

1938 Hawks Obituary

Frank Monroe Hawks (1897-1937) obituary

Frank Monroe Hawks (1897-1938) Lieutenant Commander in World War I and a record holding aviator who was killed in an air crash (b. March 28, 1897 - d. August 23, 1938)

On December 28, 1920 he took a 23-year-old Amelia Earhart on her first airplane ride at a state fair.


Time magazine on April 18, 1932 wrote:

Stocky, grinning Capt. Frank Monroe Hawks, famed publicity flyer, holder of nearly all informal city-to-city speed records in the U. S. and Europe, was not grinning one day last week when attendants at the Worcester, Massachusetts, airport pulled him from beneath his crashed Travel Air "mystery plane" Texaco 13. Day before he had hopped from Detroit (in 3 hr. 5 min.). lectured the Worcester Boy Scouts on the necessity of developing foolproof planes, but had delayed his departure until the next morning because of a soggy field. An escort plane had nosed up when it landed just ahead of Capt. Hawks. After attempting to take off from a short dirt road which cut diagonally across the airport, he headed his low-wing monoplane down the field, less than 700 ft. in length. Oozy ground sucked at the wheels, kept him from attaining the 70 m.p.h. required to zoom off. Toward the end of the runway, going about 50 m. p. h., the ship bounced off a low mound, cut through heavy undergrowth, somersaulted over a stone wall. Hawks cut the motor in time, saved himself from cremation. Capt. Hawks's nose and jaw were fractured, his face badly battered, several of his big, white teeth knocked out. He lay unconscious in the hospital for hours. Said Harvard Medical School's famed plastic surgeon, Dr. Varaztad Hovhannes Kazanjian: "I do not think his speech will be affected. The operation for restoring his face should leave scarcely a scar." Capt. Hawks's good friend Will Rogers wired: "Sure glad nothing broke but your jaw. That will keep you still for a while. If I broke my jaw, I could still wire gags. What's the matter with you anyhow; are you getting ... brittle?"

East West nonstop recordEdit

On June 2, 1933, Hawks set the west to east transcontinental airspeed record in his Northrop Gamma, flying from Los Angeles to Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York in 13 hours, 26 minutes, and 15 seconds. He had an average speed of 181 mph.


He died in 1938 flying a Gwinn Aircar which crashed in East Aurora, New York. Time magazine reported on September 5, 1938:

Last week, Frank Hawks shuttled to East Aurora, N. Y. to show off his polliwog to a prospect, Sportsman J. Hazard Campbell. He landed neatly on the polo field in a nearby estate at about 5 p.m., climbed out, chatted awhile with Prospect Campbell and a cluster of friends. Presently he and Campbell took off smartly, cleared a fence, went atilt between two tall trees, and passed from sight. Then there was a rending crash, a smear of flame, silence. Half a mile the fearful group raced from the polo field. From the crackling wreck they pulled Frank Hawks; from beneath a burning wing, Prospect Campbell—both fatally hurt. The ship that could not stub its toe aground had tripped on overhead telephone wires.

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