07/31/2009. On May 25, 1927 James Dole of the Dole Pineapple Co. offered a $25,000 first prize for the Dole Air Race, a Pacific air race from Oakland, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii. Arthur Goebel Jr., a veteran barnstormer and Hollywood stunt pilot bought the pictured Travel Air for the race, financially supported by Frank Phillips, of Phillips Petroleum Co. Fourteen more aircraft, including another Travel Air 5000 (NX911), were entered for the race on August 16, 1927.
Only two aircraft finished, Goebel and his navigator William V. Davis Jr. in the Woolaroc flew the 2,439 mls (3,925 km) in the winning time of 26 hr 17 min, second came the Aloha, a Breese 3 flown by Martin Jensen and navigated by Paul Schluter, in 28 hr 16 min. In the preparations for, during, and in the aftermath of the race, nine aircraft crashed or disappeared with the loss of ten lives.
The Woolaroc name was an acronym of "woods", "lakes" and "rocks" to be found at the ranch of Frank Phillips ranch, on which the aircraft is preserved since 1929.