There wasn't anything really galactic about it, but pilot Paul Munro spent more than 37 consecutive hours aloft flying over Southern California.
He was credited as the first pilot ever to fly solo while his plane was refueled in the air, reported the Pomona Progress-Bulletin on Nov. 14, 1932.
Munro flew his Curtiss Robin Challenger alone in huge circles over Glendale and the San Fernando Valley for most of two days, refueling in the air eight times.
Munro's feat was a first because he did it with no one else aboard to handle the refueling hoses hanging down from another aircraft.
The whole point of the flight was to prove the success of a robotic device invented by Dr. C.H. Vance of Pomona. His automatic pilot equipment measured shifts in air passing over the wings to automatically adjust the monoplane in flight.
Vance was a bit of a mystery man. Other than details about Munro's two flights, we've been unable to run down any details about the Pomona inventor.
He and Munro first got in the limelight on Nov. 3 during a demonstration of the robotic equipment for newsreel cameras. MGM, Pathe, Fox and Paramount studio cameras filmed his flight above the Inland Valley, reported the Progress-Bulletin on the next day.
While aloft, Munro climbed out of the cockpit and moved near the tail of the plane.
After that successful flight, Munro and Vance prepared to break the world solo endurance record of 38 hours, accomplished by a larger aircraft which did not refuel aloft.
"He will have time to doze, read, handle the refueling hose and shave while the craft shuttles back and forth across the San Fernando Valley," said the newspaper.
Starting at now-gone Grand Central Airport in Glendale on Nov. 11, the first flight using Vance's automatic stabilizers ended after five hours due to a faulty gas pump.
The next day, Munro took off at 1 p.m., with Lloyd Downs of Pomona, himself a movie pilot, flying the refueling plane.
The United Press wire service said Munro was "resting leisurely" in his cockpit for 12 hours of flight until his fuel got low.
He made history when he got out of the cockpit "to grasp the hose let down by a refueling ship. Despite the weight of the pilot on the wing, the plane kept serenely on its course."
The Los Angeles Times reported a different kind of aerial delivery at sunset: "a dinner prepared for him by Edna May Cooper, co-holder of the women's endurance mark."
(Cooper and Bobbi Trout broke the world aircraft endurance record in early 1931 of more than 122 hours.)
The record effort fell just short when Munro's refueling plane couldn't find him in the second day. He was forced to land after 37 hours and 15 minutes in the air, missing the record by less than an hour.
Vance's device was declared a success, though it's hard to tell if it was adapted as aircraft technology has evolved.
While details about Vance are sparse, a reminder of that aerial event still exists.
Buyoutfootage.com, a outlet of old newsreel footage, offers for sale, "Dangles in Air to Prove Merits of Self-Flying Plane," a copy of the newsreel shot of Munro flying, and dangling from, the plane equipped with Vance's invention.
I GOT A NICE note from Claremont's Charles L. Zetterberg about last week's column on "Mother" Frances Eleanor Smith, the inspiration for Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation in Pomona.
He recalls meeting Smith and getting treatment with his brother in the early 1950s at Casa Colina's original location in Chino. Their cousin was treated there for polio.
His father, attorney Stephen Zetterberg, was a Pomona College classmate of Smith's daughter Eva Crittenden (and her husband, Abe)and was a key player in orchestrating the move of Casa Colina to its present site in Pomona. Charles' mother Connie often worked with the Crittendens at a camp in Northern California.
"Although he didn't speak of it much, I know Dad was very proud of his work over the years on behalf of Casa Colina, and fondly remembered Mother Smith," wrote Zetterberg.
"I recall visiting Mother Smith's Sumner Avenue home many times as a kid and being fascinated by a large waterwheel near a pond on that property."
Joe Blackstock writes on Inland Valley history. He can be reached at 909-483-9382, email at email@example.com or Twitter @JoeBlackstock.