Flight – Part 3: The Crash

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In the summer of 1929, the aviation industry was literally flying high. In October the stock market crashed, and suddenly the already short list of people who could afford an airplane became very short indeed. The aviation market evaporated. It would take patience, imagination, and boldness to face the tests of the nation’s devastating financial collapse.

Pace Woods was determined to keep key employees from his aircraft manufacturing business on the payroll. He started a welding school for them and continued to manufacture one Arrow Sport bi-wing per month. They conceived of and began to develop an innovative new airplane that could be run from an automobile engine and would be a single-wing craft.

During the lean years between the crash and the Second World War, there were struggles. The new single-wing plane was deemed an industry “breakthrough” and according to Pace Woods, the factory, “…delivered 100 and they were a great success; however, in 1938 … we couldn’t get refinanced.” The plant was closed.

Later, the Woods’ Arrow Aircraft and Motor Corp. facility became a home for Goodyear in Havelock. When he reflected on the times, Woods expressed both great joy at being a part of an exciting, burgeoning industry and some wistfulness for what might have been if the bottom hadn’t fallen out of the world.

He did what he could to protect his business and his employees, and if the scales of fate had tipped a bit differently, Lincoln may have become a major private and commercial aircraft-manufacturing hub. As with so many endeavors, the Woods family would have been right in the thick of it.

The second version of the Arrow Sport, with Pace Woods, Sr., Gen. John Pershing, and test pilot Jimmy Hearst.
The second version of the Arrow Sport, with Pace Woods, Sr., Gen. John Pershing, and test pilot Jimmy Hearst.

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