Four Planes Started Only Two Finished – Paperback and Signed Editions Now Available

This is the true story as told to me (Norm Johnson – the author), by three of the actual participants, when we met in the mid-sixties. The reason I was able to meet the pilots, and get the behind the scenes stories was because of my grandfather Zelotis Morse, who worked for Donald Douglas at the original plant in Santa Monica, Calif. In 1923 right through to the end of WWII, My grandfather actually helped to build the five planes (explained in book). He met, talked, and spent hours with each pilot as they assembled the planes.

Now In Paperback

I have enclosed a copy of a brief introduction of the book itself.  My simple request is to please take a moment to read the following, and then to reach out and make a purchase.  If you know anyone who enjoys history, is an aviation buff, or just likes to read a great true-to-life story then this book would make a great gift also.

Should you like to order a book direct from the author, personally autographed, you may do so by simply contacting Norm at his email address: [email protected] and he will contact you with instructions of how to order the book direct.  The price of an autographed book, including postage is $20.00.

To order from amazon go to the following link:



This is the epic story of four airplanes, the eight men who flew them and the First Fight Around the World in 1924.

Les Arnold and Lowell Smith at McCook Field

Today in an age when long distance flight is as commonplace as driving a car,  when astronauts are continually blasting into space, when brave men and women have given their life in the pursuit of space flight, it is possible to forget a time many  years ago, when a journey of any distance was truly difficult. Back then just flying cross-country was a cause for celebration and headlines. It was not an everyday occurrence. But, daring to dream of flying around the world was considered by many as just pure madness! Impossible they said!


In 1924 eight men, members of the United States Army Air Service, started out to conquer fear and distance. Six of them completed the journey. Their story is not well known today. History books rarely mention the subject. The men, however, were heroes then just as astronauts are today. They were the Magellan’s of the Twentieth Century. The flight was fraught with danger, including a near death crash in the frozen wilds of Alaska and another near-death crash in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Douglas World Cruiser

The Four Donald Douglas built air cruisers flown are the kind you find in air museums today. They are ancient, primitive and frightening compared to our modern ships of the air and space. If a pilot were to be asked to fly one of them today, he would laugh and walk away shaking his head. Yet, these flying machines were the forerunner of planes used during World War II, and all the battles that have followed.


In those open cockpit planes, men defied all the elements, even the opposition and derision of their contemporaries. They defied death itself. For four men it meant facing death head-on! The first journey around the world lasted 175 days, when it was scheduled for only 45 days. Every day was an experience filled with anxiety and fraught with danger. They accomplished what many critics of the Air Service, and those within the service along with many politicians, said could not be done. They flew around the world for the first time in the history of man and flight.


New Orleans getting fuel at Allahabad, India

They were a remarkable and surprising group of men, a strange mixture brought  together by the circumstances of the time. Each had their own motives for risking life and limb on a pioneering mission. Much like our first astronauts, they would be flying into the unknown. The astronauts of today face death every time they blast into space. Their flight is a tale of courage, patriotism, ingenuity, perseverance and high drama more enthralling than any fiction writer could possibly dream up as a plot line. Its success was more a tribute to collective daring than the development of aeronautical sciences in 1924. Others would have chosen to wait (in fact many thought they should wait for financial reasons and after all there wasn’t a plane built or even designed capable of flying around the world). But those skeptics who were predicting doom did not know these particular men. They accepted the challenge when it became available. Natural or man-made obstacles would not shake their resolve.

Mode of the Chicago

The story of the First Flight Around the World is an adventure rivaling any since Daedalus and Icarus and man’s first dreams of becoming airborne. As we continue to take bold steps into space, the time is long overdue to tell the story of one bold step into the unknown. This is that story!


It took me nearly 20 years to research and eventually to put it down in words.  I have created conversations from learning how the men reacted to certain events. John Harding told me so many stories I just had to get it down in print.  Now you have the opportunity to make those 20 years I spent worthwhile.  It only take a few minutes to order the book. Please take those minutes, I guarantee you will enjoy the book. It’s a great read.



Sal Richards

Actor/Comedian Sal Richards, along with his son Guy, will be appearing in the big showroom at the Italian American Club September 18th at 8:00 p.m.  With Sal’s career came critical acclaim and many significant honors being voted the “Entertainment Industry’s Hot comic” by the prestigious New York Friars Club. Sal was also touted, “One of The Funniest Guys in Show Biz!” by the New York Daily News and Cindy Adams of the New York Post wrote “Sal Richards Is Hilarious, a Must See!” Now it’s Guy’s turn to be the star in the family, and dad can’t be any prouder..

Sal headlines all over the world, and as an opening act for some of the greatest stars including Robert Goulet at the long-gone Dunes Hotel here in Las Vegas.  He is also a fan favorite in Atlantic City and has starred on Broadway.  In addition to his comic appeal, Richards has appeared in numerous movies including “Out For Justice” with Steven Segal and “Rounders” with Matt Damon as well as televisions shows including “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” and “Dead Line,” to name just a few.

Sal’s son, comedian Guy Richards is also an actor and has  successfully followed in his father’s footsteps. Guy sings, dances, does impersonations and characterizations, plus produces and directs his own shows. When he performs, you are in for a roller coaster ride and he’ll have you laughing and crying at the same time. Whacky, zany & full of life.

Guy has starred on Broadway, has headlined at the MGM-Grand and Planet-Hollywood in our little village, and the Riviera in Atlantic City.  Guy has appeared in a few movies, been seen on television, and has headlined at most of the major comedy clubs.  Guy starred in the Austin Mahone Dirty Work Music Video Visit. September 18, 2019 at 8:00pm Tickets are $20.00 or  $25.00 at the door.


Kurt Busch will help provide some sibling rivalry when he joins his brother, Kyle, as a competitor in the inaugural Brendan Gaughan Celebrity Bowling Classic at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa on Thursday, Sept. 12.

Brendan Gaughan Celebrity Bowling Classic

The first-year event will help kick off Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s South Point 400 tripleheader NASCAR weekend, which will run Sept. 13-15 at the 1.5-mile track. Fans in town for the races can purchase spots in the bowling tournament for $250, a fee that includes the chance to meet and bowl with NASCAR drivers and industry celebrities while raising money for a great cause.

NASCAR drivers Matt DiBenedetto, Chris Buescher, and Ryan Preece also have signed on to bowl in the tournament, which will take place at South Point’s Tournament Bowling Plaza. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Las Vegas chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities.

Anyone who has purchased spots or teams in the tournament can bid on NASCAR stars Kyle and Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Daniel Suarez or Matt DiBenedetto to be their bowling teammates for the night, and anyone can bid on other items listed in the SCC online auction. A complete list of bowlers and VIPs expected to attend the event can be found here.

The event will begin at 6:00 p.m., with silent and live auctions taking place before bowling begins at 8:00 p.m. Awards will be presented at approximately 9:30 p.m., and there will be plenty of activities for bowlers and fans to enjoy.

A limited number of spectator tickets will be sold for the arena-style seating at the Tournament Bowling Plaza for fans who want to attend. Those who wish to participate may sign up for the tournament as a team of four or as individuals, and participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt, drinks and a NASCAR driver or celebrity as a bowling partner.


South Point 400 Weekend

The South Point 400 – set for Sunday, Sept. 15 – will launch the beginning of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for the second consecutive year at the 1.5-mile speedway. It will serve as the anchor for LVMS’s second NASCAR tripleheader of the weekend, with the World of Westgate 200 Gander Outdoors Truck Series race taking place on Friday, Sept. 13 and the Las Vegas 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race running on Saturday, Sept. 14.

Four-time Bullring track champion and Las Vegas native Justin Johnson will make his Las Vegas Motor Speedway debut in the World of Westgate 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race on Friday, Sept. 13. The 34-year-old ran four Truck Series races in 2011 – notching a top-10 finish in Phoenix – but will be competing at the 1.5-mile speedway in his hometown for the first time. Johnson – the 2016-17 NASCAR Super Late Models champion at The Bullring – will drive the No. 08 Toyota for Kart Idaho Racing owned by John Wood and Travis Milburn, with Sonny Wahl serving as his crew chief.

Being selected to drive at his home track is a dream come true for Johnson.  “It’s pretty awesome, because I’ve been wanting to run at that track my whole childhood since I grew up at The Bullring,” said Johnson, who also has won Bullring track titles in the Thunder Cars and USLCI Bandolero Outlaws divisions. “Getting the chance to do it is going to be pretty cool, especially since I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it after I had my opportunity in the trucks in 2011. As of right now, it’s just a one-race deal, and we’ll just try to keep it clean and have fun.”

Various ticket packages, fun extras and special-access passes for LVMS’s events are available at or by calling 1-800-644-4444.


BOH Brawl

It’s back! Las Vegas favorite BOH Brawl is returning this fall to finish the season with outstanding cocktail fights and chef showdowns at a new location – The Sand Dollar Lounge. Starting September 14, the culinary community and beyond can join the BOH Brawl team and local celebrity judges for food, drink and glory.

“We’re so excited to bring BOH Brawl to The Sand Dollar Lounge this Fall,” says BOH Brawl Founder Jolene Mannina. “It’s another round of great chefs, outstanding drinks, and all of the smack talking you can handle – we can’t wait!”

The September and October parties start at 10:00 p.m. with food trucks like Cousins Maine Lobster and Boqueria Street. The signature cocktail throwdown, Cock Fight kicks off at 12:00 a.m., and the chef showdown launches at 1:00 a.m. with the Eataly-sourced secret ingredient reveal. Chefs will have 30 minutes and a food truck to create two dishes to impress judges and bring home the glory. BOH Brawl’s fall schedule mixes strip and local chefs, finishing with a Championship Round November 17 at a new time – 3:00 p.m. Confirmed judges include returning BOH Brawl Champion John Courtney, Echo, Rig’s Sam Marvin, and local Hakkasan USA Head Mixologist Tim Weigel, who will preside over team challenges.

BOH Brawl

Founded by event maven Jolene Mannina in 2011, BOH Brawl is Las Vegas’ premiere culinary showdown. Combining local chefs, secret ingredients, and culinary heavyweight judges, the event draws hundreds of fans to each late-night battle. New for the 2019 season, BOH Brawl’s partner event, Cock Fight, pits the city’s best mixologists for a cocktail competition worthy of late-night libations.

Well, gang, hope to see those orders for my book to start coming in on Amazon or direct to this writer.

I’m outa here!

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