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Written by: John Donnellan

Genre: This is a True Adventure Story

Type: Feature Script

LOGLINE: He flew with danger for sixteen years. One day danger got the best of him! This is the very exciting true story of one of a most unforgettable man, raised on a farm in Sodus, Michigan. His very exciting life really begins at the age of 13 when he was allowed to drive the family's new Model T ford. You see, neither his Dad or his Mother had an inclination to drive the new car, but Joe did!

At the age of 16 Joe enlists in the Canadian Flying Service, as they desperately needed pilots to fly against the Germans in World War One. Joe was a naturally good mechanic because of his maintenance on all of his Dad's Farm equipment and his expert up-keep of the family Model T Ford. Therefore, flying a plane became second nature to him. In fact, Joe was so good that they made a flying instructor out of him almost from the start of his service.

When Joe was discharged from the Canadian Flying Service at the end of WW1, Joe, at 18, was discharged with the rank of Captain. Not too bad for a young man just off the farm two years ago! Joe bought a war-surplus “Jenny” and began barnstorming in Michigan, as well as all of the other states surrounding Michigan. Joe met many interesting people in his barnstorming days; people like another barnstormer, Charles Lindbergh and many, many politicians.

When the Government started flying the mail, Joe was right in the front of the line. Joe loved the adventure of flying in all kinds of weather. While so doing, in a blinding snowstorm surrounding Beaver Island, just off the Western coast of Michigan, Joe's plane engine started to cough and sputter due to an excess of the storm blowing too much wet snow into the engine compartment. Joe was forced to land on the nearest flat, ice surface he could find while peering desperately through the blinding snowstorm.

Joe was forced to trek over 60 miles of treacherous ice ridges, all of it over a very deep part of Lake Michigan. He was finally rescued, after four freezing days, by a rescue team on dog sled who had been out looking for Joe every since he was reported missing by the airport officials at Beaver Island.

Once Joe was transported by dog sled back to his base at Charlevoix, Michigan, on the mainland, Joe was given a new plane for his flight home to recuperate.

After the Government discontinued the flying mail service in its current form, Joe stays busy consulting emerging airlines in their daily operations of flying passengers. In so doing, Joe meets backers that are interested in the setting up of airplane passenger service between Chicago and points South to Miami, and, onward to South America. Joe agrees to make an exploratory trip to South America and finds out that the only way to safely fly to and from South America, in that day and age, is to set up an airline consisting mainly of large flying boats that can easily land in the harbors of the desired South American cities.

About this time the market crash of "29" hits and dries up all available investment capital. So, Joe sets up a couple of flying schools to tide him over. Tragically, one of the student pilots Joe was instructing "froze" at the controls of the Parks aircraft in which they were flying and stalled the plane, sending it crashing to the ground.

Joe was buried with Military Honors even though he had served in the Canadian flying Service and not the U.S. Flying Service.

WGA Registration Number: 1709225

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