Death Flight – Robert Wallace

pulpdeathflightWhat kind of pulp story is this?  No ape-men, no evil dwarfs, no scantily clad women in chains or hunted for sport.

Pilot Lucky James is approaching after a non-stop flight from Cairo to New York which will earn him $50,000; or slightly more than a last-minute ticket to see my parents for Thanksgiving.

The crowd roars as he lands his monoplane (or as we say now, plane).  He opens the cockpit door and humbly says, “Hello fellows, looks like I’ve made me fifty thousand bucks.”

Then THUCK! which is apparently the sound bullets made in 1935.  Lucky James is shot just seconds after emerging from the cockpit.  It would have been better had they opened the door to find him already shot.  At least one pulp theme would have been used — the locked-fuselage murder.

The rest of the story is a fine straight short story, but has none of the standard pulp tropes.


  • First published in Phantom Detective Magazine, June 1935.
  • Also that month:  Babe Ruth announces his retirement.
  • Lucky James’ $50k prize would be $869k in 2014 dollars.
  • This story was published 8 years after Lucky Lindy made his flight for a $25,000 prize.

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