The Argus newspaper reported (2 November 1934, page 10) that Australian aviator Kingsford-Smith (1897-1935) bought a ukulele in Honolulu on 31 October 1934. He and his co-pilot P.G. Taylor intended to fly from Wheeler airfield to Oakland California on 1 November — it was the third and last stage of their trans-Pacific flight which started in Brisbane, Australia.
The Argus stated that:
he is practising on a ukulele he bought to-day, saying that he intends to play it to keep Captain Taylor from going to sleep, as he did on the way from Suva.
[Update: The Montreal Gazette (5 November 1934) reports P.G. Taylor as saying. “Sir Charles didn’t play the ukulele he got in Honolulu. Nor did he have time to sing.” They didn’t even drink the liqour they had on board, as nothing went wrong…]
According to Wikipedia: ‘Kingsford Smith and co-pilot Tommy Pethybridge were flying the Lady Southern Cross overnight from Allahabad, India, to Singapore, as part of their attempt to break the England-Australia speed record, when they disappeared over the Andaman Sea in the early hours of 8 November 1935.’