The Millionaires' Unit
U.S. Naval Aviators in the First World War

In early 2007, Ron King, grandson of First Yale Unit member John M. Vorys, got together with old friend Darroch Greer to make a documentary about the First Yale Unit and the world in which they lived.  Humanus Documentary Films Foundation was formed as a non-profit and the documentary on the First Yale Unit was voted to receive support as it's first feature length film project. Starting with donations from family members and friends, the filmmakers interviewed descendants and historians, and began filming WWI planes – first at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in New York, then at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in NY, the Aeroplane Collection in California, and finally at the Vintage Aviator in New Zealand.  Archives were mined, including the Sterling Library at Yale, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the National Naval Aviation Museum, Naval History and Heritage Command, the Curtiss Museum, and the Imperial War Museum.  Filming took place along the Eastern Seaboard and in England, France, Belgium and New Zealand. 

The volunteer fundraising committee for the film led by Harry Davison (grandson of F. Trubee Davison), and Mike Davison (grandson of both Trubee and David S. Ingalls) has garnered success from individual donors and foundation grants and has resulted in a finished, award winning film.  Plans are in the works with PBS’ flagship station in New York, WNET-13, for a commemorative centennial broadcast, and negotiations are underway for screenings in various military and aviation museum across the country. It is the intention of the filmmakers for the film to be distributed as widely as possible so that everyone has a chance to see it. Federal Express is the corporate sponsor, and it is the intention of the filmmakers and FedEx to distribute the film on multiple platforms.

NZ Film Crew
Film crew and pilots on location at The Vintage Aviator, Ltd., Masterton, New Zealand, April 2013.

 


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