Happy Homecoming  
     Walter Lees, official timer for the National Air Tour, arrived at the airport nearly an hour ahead of the other ships. He was given a warm welcome by his wife and children. Kissing him is Billie, 12. Others are Mrs. Loa Lees, Loa Betty, 15, and Burt, 13. Lees is widely known in aviation.
This from DETROIT SUNDAY TIMES, Sunday, July 26, 1931

National Air Tour Comes to Knoxville's McGhee Tyson
Biggest Aviation Event since Airport Opening
     National Air Tour Due Here. Crack Fliers, Ships Visit Knoxville on July 9. Stop Overnight. Land at Muny Port, Knoxville Journal, June 23, 1931, Approximately 40 airplanes participating in the National Air Tour which will start from Detroit July 4, will land at McGhee Tyson municipal airport for an overnight stop on July 9, instead of July 7, as reported yesterday. This announcement was received Monday by Walter Self, manager of McGhee Tyson airport, in a telegram from Ray Collins, of Detroit, manager of the National Air tour. Mr. Self had been negotiating with Mr. Collins for some time regarding the tour.
     First Time Knoxville has not been on the itinerary of the National Air tour in previous years. Scheduling of an over-night stop means that Knoxville will be visited by the nation's outstanding airmen and the newest creations in aircraft. Among the notables in the tour party will be: Jimmy Doolittle, former crack army pilot; Frank Hawks, America's aerial speed demon; Walter Lees, endurance flier; Eddie Schneider, sensational 19-year-old pilot; Lee Gehlbach, winner of the All-American air derby last year; Lowell Bayles, second place winner in the air derby; Mrs. Mae Haizlip, outstanding woman pilot; and George Halderman, trans-Atlantic flier.
     The visit of this tour to Knoxville will give this city nation wide attention and publicity. In view of the fact that the planes will be at the municipal airport overnight, the various news-gathering organizations will send out their official reports from Knoxville on the progress of the tour.
     City Manager George Dempster asked the young Men's Division of the Chamber of Commerce yesterday to take charge of the arrangements as to such matters as reception, entertainment, publicity, etc. Charles T. King, chairman of the Young Men's Division, accepted, and at the same time asked for the assistance of the aviation committee of the senior Chamber. A joint meeting with the Young Men's committee will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m.
     Tour Itinerary Leaving Detroit, the tour will journey through Canada to New York state and then southward through Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and then into Tennessee. Touring westward, the planes will go as far as Texas and then move into the central states.
     The planes will compete for the Edsel B. Ford reliability trophy and the Great Lakes trophy. The main purpose of the tour is to test the reliability of the various kinds of planes in cross-country flying. Frank Hawks is now in Europe, but he will return in time to take part in the tour. Jimmy Doolittle is the tour's referee, and Walter Lees is the chief timer. E. W. "Pop" Cleveland, a veteran of the aviation industry, is the chief starter.
Transcribed by Bob Davis, 5-10-04

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