VILAS R. KNOPE, LT, USN
Vilas Knope '20
Date of birth: July 12, 1897
Date of death: August 16, 1927
From the 1920 Lucky Bag:
Buhl CA-5 Air Sedan, NX2915, named Miss Doran. Repairs from its unscheduled landing in the farmer’s field had been accomplished. It was flown by John “Auggy” Pedlar with Lieutenant Vilas R. Knope, U.S. Navy, as navigator. Also aboard was a passenger, Miss Mildred Doran, the airplane’s namesake. She was a 23-year-old fifth-grade school teacher from Flint, Michigan, who knew William Malloska, owner of the Lincoln Petroleum Company (later, CITGO) and convinced him to enter an airplane in the Dole Air Race and allow her to fly along. Two local air circus pilots reportedly flipped a coin for the chance to fly the airplane. Auggy Pedlar won the toss. Just ten minutes after takeoff from Oakland Field, Miss Doran returned with engine problems.
The aircraft took off again a short while later, was seen over the Farallon Islands, and then disappeared.
Sy has a memory marker in Wisconsin.