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I,c;5ii sur: _111
Some months ago we discussed in this column the
advantages of building a replica of our favorite antique
or classic design when a restorable basket case was not
available. That particular column brought forth more
comment and suggestions from you members than the
sum total of all of the other" Restorer's Corners" writ-
ten to date. Apparently we hit upon a vital point, and
we were very happy to learn that we had . All of the
replies were very favorable, and some members were
kind enough to send along information concern ing
where certain plans could be obtained, or who might
happen to have a full or partial set for a particular air-
plane. We assure you that all of the information supplied
has been cataloged for future reference, but we are a
long way from having a complete file on all of the old
designs which could conceivably become popular rep-
A reasonable start wou Id be to catalog the names and
addresses of the suppliers of copies of original plans
which are commercially available at the present time. To
accomplish this initial task, we need your help. If you
have bought any copies of original plans, please send us
the name and address of the supplier. Also, those of you
who are offering copies of original plans commercially
please send us your names and addresses and tell us what
plans you have for sale. As soon as sufficient informa-
tion is forwarded to us, we shall run the listings in a
future issue of THE VI NTAGE AI RPLANE and plan to
update it thereafter on an annual basis. With your help
we can have the most complete and accurate informa-
tion available anywhere.
We hope that, with the help of all of you who have
plans or information, we shall be able to compile a list of
available drawings which will have sufficient diversifica-
tion so that there will be something of interest for every-
one. Wouldn't it be great to see many of the almost
extinct, but not forgotten, airplanes of the 30's back in
the sky again, or a whole squadron of World War I
fighters fly by in formation?
This year we would like to publish reports and pic-
tures of all of the Antique/Classic Fly-Ins around the
country. However, to accomplish this we shall need the
help of local chapter reporters and photographers, as
your editor and his staff can not possibly attend all of
the fly-ins, even though they would certainly like to try.
Now is the time for each of you fly-in chairmen to estab-
lish your press coverage committee and staff it with your
best reporter and your best photographer. Please be sure
to remind your photographer to use bl ack and white
film and to send us glossy prints, preferably 4 x 5 inches
in size or larger. Please ask your reporter to write a story
telling about all of the interesting things which happe ned
at your fly-in. We all would like to know abo ut what
went on as well as reading the list of trophy winners.
Here is your chance to get the best possibl e free public-
ity for your fly-in. And while we are talkin g about free
publicity, please send us the dates and other important
information concerning your planned fly-in this year. We
need over ninety days lead time on everyth ing we print,
so the sooner you get the information to us, the sooner
you will start getting that free pUblicity.
I n accordance with the division By- Laws as amended,
the terms of two officers and four directors will expire
at the 1977 EAA Antique/ Classic Division Annual Busi-
ness Meeting to be held on August 6, 1977 at Oshkosh,
Wisconsin, during the 25th I nternational Fly-I n Conven-
tion. Those offices which will expire are:
TREASURER E.E. "Buck" Hilbert
DIRECTORS William J. Ehlen
Claude L. Gray, Jr.
James B. Horne
George E. Stubbs
All of th e incumbents have indicated that th ey will be
candidates for reelection. Additional nominations for
these offices shall be made on official nomination forms
obtainable from the Headquarters of the Experimental
Aircraft Associ at ion, Inc., P. O. Box 229, Hales Corners,
Wisconsin 53130. The nominating petition shall include
a recent photograph of the candidate and shall contain a
brief resume of his background and experience. Can-
didates must have been members of the EAA Antique/
Classic Division in good standing for the previous two
consecutive yea rs. Each petition requires a minimum of
ten (10) signatures of Antique/Classic Division members
in good standing with their Division membership number
and expiration date.
Nominating petitions must be submitted to the Chair-
man of the Nominati ng Committee, EAA Antique/
Classic Division, c/o EAA Headquarters no later than
March 9, 1977. Voting instructions and proced ures will
be published in a later issue of THE VINTAGE AIR-
Arthur R. Morgan , Chairman
No minating Committee
Edit or  Assistant Editor 
AI  Kelch  Lois  Kelch 
  Editor  Associate  Editor  Associate  Editor 
H. Glenn  Buffington  Robert  G.  Elliott  Edward  D.  Williams 
81 8 W.  Crockett St.  No.  201  1227 Oakwood  Ave.  713  Eastman  Dr. 
Seattle, Washington  98119  Daytona  Beach,  Florida  32014  Mt.  Prospect,  Illinois 60056 
Associate  Editors  will  be  identified  in  the  table  of con· 
tents  on  articles  they  send  in  and  repeated  on  the article 
if  they  have  written  it.  Associate  Editorships  will  be 
assigned  to  those  who  qualify  (5  articles  in  any  calendar 
P,O. BOX 2464 
FT.  LAUDERDALE,  FL  33303 
RT,  1,  BOX  111 
ALLEN, TX 75002 
P,O, BOX  181 
LYONS, WI  53148 
8102  LEECH  RD, 
UNION, IL 60180 
Claude L.  Gray. Jr . AI  KelCh
9635 Sylvia  Avenue  7018 W.  Bonniwell  Road 
Northridge, California  91324  Mequon, Wisconsi n  53092 
James B. Horne Evander  M.  Britt 
3840 Coronation  Road  Box  1525 
Eagan, Mi nnesota 55122 Lumber ton.  North  Carolina 28358 
George  E. Stubbs  M.  C. "Kelly"  Viets 
Box  113  RR  1, Box  151 
Brownsburg.  Indiana 46112  Stillwell, Kansas  66085 
William J. Ehlen  Morton  Lest er 
Route 8,  Box  506  P.O. Bo. 3747 
Tampa,  Florida  33618  Martinsville.  Virginia  241 12 
W.  Brad  Thomas.  Jr.  Oale  A.  Gustafson 
301  Dodson  Mill  Road  7724  Shady  Hill  Drive 
Pilot  Mountain. North Carolina  27041  Indianapolis.  I N  46274 
Robert A. Whi te Roger  J. Sherron 
1207  Falcon  Drive  446-C  Las  Casitas 
Orlando,  Florida 32803  Santa  Rosa,  CA 95401 
Maunce  "Sonny" Clavel  Stan  Gomoll 
Box 98  104290th  Lane,  N.E. 
Wauchula,  F L  33875  Minneapol is,  MN  55434 
The Restorer's Corner . . . . " . . ,""" " " ", . "' ," "" ', . ,, . ,'"
The Lincoln Flies . . , ... """ """"""' , ... . , "" " "", .. , ' 3
Knight Night Flight. , . , , . , , , , , , . , , , . , , , .. , . , , . , , , , , , , ... . .. , .. " 6
"Let's Get The Show On The Road" (by H, Glenn Buffingto n, Assoc, Ed.) . " 7
Vintage Album " " ,. , "' , . . ,', . . ,.,., ... ," ." " ""', .. , . .. . 11
A Si lver Eagle (by Robert Elli ott, Assoc. Ed,) , . ," " "" ", . ,. , ... . . , 13
o NON· EAA  MEMBER  - $34,00.  Includes  one  year  membership  in  the  EAA  Antique/Classic  Division.  12 
monthly  issues  of THE  VINTAGE  AIRPLANE;  one  year  membership  in  the  Experimental Aircraft  Associa-
tion, 12  monthly issues  of SPORT AVIATION  and  separate  membership  cards. 
o NON· EAA  MEMBER  - $20.00,  Includes  one  year  membership  in  the  EAA  Antique/Classic  Division,  12 
monthly  issues  of  THE  VINTAGE  AIRPLANE;  (;ne  year  membership  i n  the  Experimental  Aircraft  Associa-
tion  and  separate  membership cards. SPORT AVIATION  not included. 
o EAA  MEMBER  - $14,00,  Includes  one year  membership  in the  EAA  Antique/Classic  Division,  12  monthly 
issues  of  THE  VINTAGE  AIRPLANE  and  membership  card.  (Applicant  must  be  current  EAA  member and 
must  give  EAA  membership  number. 
ON THE  COVER  (Back  Cover) 
jim Hayden's Lincoln PT- W flies at The B& W- l A in flight during the
last. See story page 3, tour o f the East. Flo wn by Clayton
Leigh Scott, See story page 7,
Copyright © 1977 Antique Classic Aircraft, Inco All Rights Reserved.
THE  VINTAGE  A I RPLANE  is  owned  exclusively  by  Antique  Classic  Aircraft,  Inc.  and  is published  monthly  at 
Hales  Corners.  Wisconsin  53 130.  Second  class  Postage  paid  at  Hales  Corners  POSt Office,  Hales  Corners,  Wisconsin 
53 130.  Membership  rates  for  Antique  Class  Aircraft.  Inc.  at  $14.00 per  12 month period  of which  $10.00  is for  the 
publicat ion  of THE  V INTAGE  A I RPLANE.  Membership  is open  to all  who are  interested  in aviation. 
i.. ) ~ _
:"f'"  --
t - ....... .. .
~   ' ...
" " ..
By:  jim Hayden 
4774 Pasadena  Dr. 
Boise,  Idaho  88705 
Photos  furnished by author 
Editor's  Note:  In  1970,  Jim  Hayden,  Boise,  Idaho  final  inspection.  As  a  "zero"  time  biplane  pilot,  he  was 
antiquer, found  the  remains  of a  Lincoln  PT·W  sticking  often  reminded  of  this  fact  through  the  previous  restless 
out  of a  farmer's  junkpile.  The  details of  its  restoration  night.  Work  now  had  stopped  altogether  at  Hubler 
are  described  in  the  November  1974  issue  of  the  Field  near  Caldwell,  Idaho.  Most  of  the  spectators 
VINTAGE  AIRPLANE.  present  were  pilots  and  owners of older aircraft based  at 
the  sandy  strip  along  the  Boise  River.  Lee  Coch,  owner 
of  Lee's  Aero,  had  signed  the  logs  certifying  that  the 
The  weatherman  was  cooperating.  Saturday,  April  3,  machine  was  airworthy.  Now  he  too  made  a  last  round 
1976  was  sunny  and  mild  with  only  a light  breeze  blow·  of inspections. 
ing.  The  Lincoln  PT·W that  had  been  rolled  out  of  it's  The  Lincoln  was  built  in  1929  by  the  Lincoln 
hangar  was  groomed  to  near  perfection.  Only  one  thing  Aircraft  Company  of  Lincoln,  Nebraska.  According  to  fly  it.  Owner  Jim  Hayden  completed  the 
Above:  Antique  airspeed  indicator  mounted 
on  right  wing  strut  is  a  gift  from  Buck 
Hilbert  in  appreciation  for  Hayden's  help  in 
the  final  preparations  for  United  Airlines 
Commemorative  Swallow  Flight.  The 
indicator  is  fairly  accurate  at  slower speeds 
with  about a  70  mph  variance  with airspeed 
indicator in  cockpit at 90 mph. 
its  logs,  it  had  flown  only  450  hours  at  the  time  of  its 
last  flight  in  1943.  Its  reputation  was  respectable.  Older 
pilots  who  had  flown  Lincolns  had  tagged  them  gentle 
and  forgiving  (if any  plane  built  during  that era  could  be 
so  described).  The  Lincoln  was  built  as  a  pilot  trainer 
with  large  control  surfaces  for  good  control  at  low 
The  first  order  of business  was  to  be  a  series  of  taxi 
runs.  Hayden  lowered  himself  into  the  rear  cockpit  and 
fastened  his  belt.  Gas  on...switch  on ...brakes...clear.  . 
.contact!  The  125  Warner  radial  started  quickly:  its  zerk 

Above: Basic flight instruments are located in
rear cockpit only. Gauge on left side of front
cockpit is oil temperature. Oil pressure is on
right side.
lubricated rockers moved up and down smartly. The first
taxi run was followed by a second. Each time the tail
came up quickly and directional control was easy to
maintain. The controls, while stiff, seemed co-ordinated.
The brakes were effective. No doubt about it, the
Lincoln was eager to fly.
One final mag check. Then, the airplane headed down
the sandy runway breaking free of the ground in less
than 250'. After briefly circling the airport, the most
difficult test for its pilot remained ...the landing.
True to its reputation, the Lincoln settled evenly,
touching down in a smooth three point attitude. The
landing was perfect. Rollout was accomplished easily
with good control from the large rudder and heel-type
Two more flights that day confirmed what owner Jim
Hayden had been hoping for. The Lincoln was indeed an
easy airplane to fly. "Perhaps too easy considering its
primary job was to train pilots" Jim suggests, recalling
the handling characteristics of contemporary aircraft
such as the KR21 Fairchild and Waco 10. Hayden, who
has also owned a Cessna 195 for a number of years,
found control response to be much slower than that to
which he was accustomed. "It's a straight forward
machine with no bad tricks" he says, after 50 hours in
the Lincoln. He explains, however, that manuevers have
been limited to the ordinary with the exception of
Chandelles. "After all, an aircraft surviving 47 years of
rough treatment is deserving of some kindness" Hayden
Below: Shield shaped insignia was used on most
Lincoln aircraft company models. Hayden's
insignia is hand painted as were the originals.
NC number was assigned at the time of
certification by the CAA.
Above: Front view shows 72 volt wind-driven generator mounted on landing gear cabane strut. Perforated
exhaust stacks reduce bark of 725 Warner. Breeze shielded ignition harness is early style used on radials for
radio noise suppression. The system was installed on the Lincoln during the early '40's, along with a low
frequency radio.
On X-C the Lincoln has a tendancy to wander and
must receive the pilot's regular attention to stay on
course. It gets off the ground well with or without a
passenger. Baggage is limited to 50 Ibs. Starter, battery
and generator reduce the craft's useful load by 75 Ibs.
Even so, Hayden relates "performance is excellent even
on 90 degree days". On a recent air tour of the Scarf and
Goggle Flying Club , a Northwest biplane group, the
Lincoln also performed well at the higher altitude strips.
During the tour which included stops at Pendleton,
Oregon; Boise, McCall and Sun Valley, Idaho; and
Jackpot, Nevada, the Lincol n shared the company of
such illustrious machines as a Brunner Winkle Bird, C3
Stearman, Navy N3N and a Fairchild F24 (the latter
monoplane handled the baggage chores for the group).
The 125 Warner burns 7gph and oil consumption is
about one quart in three hours. According to Hayden,
the aircraft's range of four hours is probably beyo nd the
range of human endurance. Oil temperature, even on hot
days, seldom exceeds 150
F. The eight foot Hamilton
Standard ground adjustable propeller provides rapid
acceleration and gives the power pl ant very smooth run-
ning characteristics. Original literature advertising the
Lincoln PT-W gives it a top speed of 10Smph and a
cruise of 87mph. Both figures are very close to that
provided by Hayden's machine. Red line speed is lOS
Passengers will find the front cockpit relatively qu iet.
A large windshield, perforated exhaust stacks and
smooth running engine keeps the noise level quite tol-
erable. During the first few hours of flight the flying
wires sang a bit. Tightening and aligning them solved this
The Lincoln PT-W flies, with pilot jim Hayden!
problem. The tail wheel assembly, fabricated from the
type used on N3N's, shimmied despite a bungee cord
designed as a dampner. A change in caster proved to be
the solution. A lack of anti-friction bearings in the
control system resulted in an initial over tightening of
the cables. This sit uation was corrected during the first
few hours the machine was flown. The bungee cord on
the landing gear was also shortened. To solve the
problem of access to controlled air fields a small
transceiver will be installed later at the right side of the
pilot's seat.
All those who view the Lincoln PT-W, including
veteran restorers of past grand championship antique air-
craft, have been impressed by the craftsmanship invested
in the restoration. At its first fly-in appearance held at
Boise's Strawberry Glen Airport, the Lincoln won the
best biplane trophy. Recently at a fly-in sponsored by
the Northwest Antique Airplane Club in Evergreen,
Washington, the Lincoln was chosen "Best Biplane"
(1919-1935) and "Grand Champion" of the event. Head-
winds on the return flight to Boise helped prove that
biplane pilot's wives must be patient and understanding.
The 3S0 mile course took   ~ hours to cover. During
that time, Jim relates no complaints were heard from
wife, Verna, in the front cockpit.
When asked if the end result was really worth five
years of toil and expense, Jim Hayden has an answer,
"Affirmative! "
u.s.  Air Mail Service Pilot jack  Knight 
By: Lee  Williams 
(EAA  No.  709844) 
Apt.  E 7006 Stoney  
Valley  Park,  Mq., 6308E!
Fifty-five  years  after  his  historic  night air  mail  flight, 
J ames  Herbert  (j ack)  Kni ght  is  being  immortalized  by 
his  hometown  of  Buchanan,  Mich.,  which  pl ans  to  build 
a  memorial  chapel  in  his  honor,  and  the  city  has  good 
reason  t o  be  proud  of Jack  Kni ght. 
It  was  Knight,  who  through  sheer  determination 
assured  the  future  of  air  mail  service.  Piloting  a  de 
Havill and  DH-4B  through  darkness,  snowstorms,  bitter 
cold  and  fog,  Kni ght  flew  the f irst  ni ghtair  mail flight  in 
hi story  in  Febr uary,  1921. 
As  a  boy  in  Michi gan,  Jack  acq uired  the  first  of sev-
eral  ni cknames,  "Sky"  (Kni ght) ,  an  interesting  portent 
of  his  flying  career.  Jack  attended  the  Michi gan Agricul-
tural  College,  now  Michigan  State  University.  At  Mich-
igan  Agricultural,  "Sky" picked  up  the  name "Jack",  the 
name  of  an  older  brother  who  previousl y  attended  the 
same  institution.  The  name  Jack  remai ned  his  favored 
name  throughout his  career. 
With  the  outbreak  of  World  War  I, he  joined  the  U.s . 
Army,  where  he  learned  to  fly.  Instead  of  being  sent 
overseas,  Knight  was  assigned  to  duty as  a flight  instruc-
tor  in  the  122nd  Aero  Squadron  at  Ellington  Field  near 
Houston,  Texas. 
The  war's  end  found  Jack,  by  this  time also  known  as 
"Skinny",  facing  the  possibility  of taking  an  office  job. 
Certainly  not  willing  to  live  with  the  confinement  of a 
desk, he  sought a flying  career. 
Otto  Praeger  was  then  the  Second  Assistant  Post-
master  General  of  the  U.S.  Postal  Service.  His  posit ion 
put  him  in  charge of the  transportation  of all  mails.  This 
included  the  responsibility  for  the  infant  United  States 
Air  Mail  Service.  By  late  1920,  the  Congress  had 
presumed  the  service  to  be  a  failure.  No  other  country 
had  a  workable  air  mail  system  and  the  U.S.  system 
utili zed  the  railroads  to  transport  the  mails  during  the 
night  whi le  the  aircraft  flew  during  daylight.  Poor 
weather, with  its  attendant poor visibilities,  was  a serious 
obstacle.  This  was  particularly  true during winter  month 
snowstorms.  By  winter  1920,  things  were  looking  grim 
for  the  fledgling  air  mail  service.  Additionally,  the 
administration  of  Woodrow  Wilson  wou ld  be ending the 
following  March  4th.  Wilson  had  given  the  air  mail  serv-
ice  its  beginning  and  had  showed  unseeming  confidence 
in  it.  The  incoming  Harding  Administration,  however, 
campaigned  on  a  platform  of  "a return  to  normalcy."  It 
was  understoorl  that  this  philosophy  included  drastic 
cuts  in  funding  for  several  domestic  program s,  the  air 
mail  service  was  assumed  to  be  one  of  them. 
So  Otto  Praeger,  a  hard-driving,  tooth  and  nail  ad-
vocate  of  the  air  mail  service,  was  up  against  the  wall. 
The  air  mail  service  had  to  prove  its  value  immediately. 
Jack  Knight  previously  had  signed  up  as  an  air  mail 
pilot  and  was  regul arly  flying  the dayti me route  between 
Cheyenne,  Wyoming  and  Chicago,  Illinois.  He  was  to be 
an  element  of  Praeger's  plan  to  save  the  concept  of air 
mai l. 
There  were  to  be  two  eastbound  flights  out  of San 
Francisco  and  two  westbound  flights  out  of  New  York. 
The  flights  were  to  go  coast-to-coast  with  per iod ic 
changes  of  plane  and  pilot.  Ni ght  flying  would  be  a 
req uirement.  The  fli ghts  would  be  conducted  during 
February,  on  Washington's  birthday  to  provide  an added 
ele ment  of  drama.  Success  would  demonstrate  the 
practicality  of  all-ai r,  day-and-night  routes  and  em-
phasize the urgent need  for  li ghted  airways.  Delivery  time 
could  be  at  least  cut  in  half. 
On  February  22,  1921,  fo ur  de  Havi ll and  DH-4's 
departed  their  respective  airfields.  Di sasters  pl agued 
three  of  the  fli ghts;  the  worst  caused  the death  of Capt. 
W.  Lewis.  Capt.  Lewis  had  departed  fro m San  Francisco 
and  successfull y  completed  the  legs  to  Reno  and  Elko, 
Nev.  On  takeoff  fro m  Elko,  his  plane  stalled  and  Lewi s 
died  in  the  resulting  crash. 
(Continued on  Page  79) 

Above: Clayton Leigh Scott (Scotty) gives
the word "Contact", through the B& W wires!
Right: Airborne in the B& W replica, helping
to celebrate The Boeing Company's 50th
anniversary, Summer of 7966. (Photo by
Clayton Leigh Scott, a native Pennsylvanian, has
made an enviable flying career from its beginning at
Pearson Field, Vancouver, WA, February 25, 1927 when
he soloed an OX Waco 9. He still holds a very active
S&MEL&S with Instrument License Number 2155 and
he is considered to be one of the Pacific Northwest air
pioneers. A stalwart member and past Seattle Hangar
Governor of the Quiet Bird man, Scotty also served as
the first Northwest President of the OX-5 Club of
America. He was cited for the OX-5 Aviation Pioneers
Hall of Fame at the annual convention at Charleston,
SC, October 12, 1974 and was inducted into the Hall at
Hammondsport, NY, the following Spring.
A couple of his most recent OX-5 outings have taken
him to Yakima, WA and San Diego, CA. September 18,
1976 he flew his Cessna 310 to Yakima to attend the
feting of Charlie McAllister, Yakima's oldest pilot-
instructor still in business. Flight time was 35 minutes
which compares favorably to the one hour 25 minutes
required) une 2, 1928, via OX-5 Travelair, when Scotty
won the race from Seattle and was awarded a silver
trophy, a feature of the 1928 dedication of Yakima Air-
port. In the ensuing airshow, Scotty finished second to
Tex Rankin in both the aerobatic competition and the
closed-course pylon race. He travelled to San Diego Octo-
ber 1-3 for the annual convention of the OX-5 Club,
sponsored by the Orange County/San Diego Chapter, at
which fifteen pioneers, four posthumously, were cited
for the Hall of Fame.
Prior to JOining William E. Boeing as his per-
sonal pilot, Scotty had worked as a station attendant
for Pacific Air Transport, and had flown Loening
Air Yachts (1929) for the Seattle-Bremerton Air
Above: The Dornier with the float
instal/ation on Lake Washington.
Below: The Piper Aztec and the
B& WI A on the Post-Rogers Memo-
rial Seaplane Ramp, north end of
Renton Airport, WA.
Above: Jobmasters 01/ -- Cessna 310, two D(Havilland Beavers
and a Howard, south of the Renton tower, by the second and
present home of jobmaster.
Ferry owned by Verne Gorst, the founder
of PAT. Duri ng those formative years,
they set a record of carrying 10,000 pas-
sengers during a 90-day period. Scott
then went to Alaska, representing Gorst
there, and did charter work in the
Loening, primarily out of Cordova. Here
he met Myrtle Smith, a school teacher,
formerly of Windom, MN, who became
his better half and they currently enjoy a
beautiful home at the north end of
Mercer Island overlooking Lake Wash-
ington. He flew the right seat for United
Airlines in 1933 on the Portland-Salt
Lake City run in Boeing 247s and then
joined William Boeing, flying a Boeing
Flying Boat, a Douglas Amphibian "Dol-
phin" and then a DC-5.
CLS joined Boeing Flight Delivery, the
forerunner to Production Flight Test, in
June of 1941 as an acceptance pilot for
the B-17, DB-7B and the A-20C aircraft.
After Slim Lewis' retirement in early
1947, Scotty became chief pilot and
headed up the group. During his Boeing
affiliation over 11,300 new airplanes were
delivered - all models from the B-17
Flying Fortress to current models of the
jet-family, 13 years into the jet age.
Scotty says some of his most in-
teresting flying assignments were a survey
flight to the South Pacific with Orvis
Nelson's Trans-Ocean Airline shortly after
the end of WW II and subsequent Boeing
flights to the far-corners of the world
making test hops after aircraft repairs and
As a person who had always liked to
"tinker", CLS launched The J obmaster
Company as retirement age approached
and Sandy McMurray assumed the lead in
Prod. Fit. The first J obmaster project was
an air spray unit for use with offset print-
ing. In only a short time, Scotty renewed
Clayton Scott ready for a test hop in a
Boeing B-29, Winter of 7945. Note the au-
Notables at the christening of the 8&W-7A replica, Summer of 7966 -- (L to R),
tograph "Lets get the show on the road."
Claire Egtvedt, Mr. and Mrs. George Martin, Mrs. William Allen, who did the chris-
tening, Mrs. C. L. Scott, Mrs. Claire Egtvedt, Mrs. Frank Dobbins, Clayton L. Scott,
Frank Dobbins and Fred Laudan.
his love for "floats" and Howard DGA-
15s were used in [he conversion from
wheels to floats. Hi s ex perti se was called
upon in 1966 when The Boeing Company
o b se r ved its 50th year an n iversary
celebrati on and decided to construct a
replica of its first aircraft, the Boeing &
West ervelt.
Wh e n another company defaulted,
Scotty and six other people took on the
project and the airpl ane was built in the
re maining four months. At the same time
the floats were being built in the Boeing
model shop. The B&W replica was test
f lown a nd ready for the schedul ed
an niversary, Jul y 15, 1966. After nu-
merous flights in and around the Seattle
area, and a demonstration flight between
Philadelphi a and New Yor k, the airpl ane
was taken to Wichita where wheels were
attached for operation on land. I n spite
of the added drag induced, Scotty flew it
up to the Abbotsford, B.C. Air Show that
year. The unique difference between the
original aircraft and the replica was the
installation of a 260 hp. Lycoming engine
which was limited to 150 hp. The air-
pl ane was retired and now hangs in the
Flight Foundation Mu seum at the Seattle
Center; it could be ready for flight once
again with new fab ri c on the wings.
Scotty has made, and is making,
conversion kits for the Howards as well as
having finished fiftee n of the complete
units ready for fly-away. In addition, he
has done the initial install ation, conver-
sion and FAA tests for approval o n a
number of aircraft; among others, the
German Dorni er, Itali an Lasa, Swiss
Pilatus-Porter and the Piper Aztec. The
"now" project is the rebuilding and
"floating" of a couple of surplus De-
Havill and Beavers. Shop activities contin-
ue to hum, at Jobmaster, located at
Renton Airport, Renton, WA.
Being an avid sportsman, Scotty enjoy-
ed a partnership in the sailboat "Despy"
for a number of years, and he has been
able to utilize hi s aircraft on floats by
winging into Northern Canadian woods
and some of the higher mountain lakes
wh ere good fishing and hunting are
(Continued on Vintage A/bum pages 7 7 & 72)
Men and ThE
Pictures from Claytol
Regarding retirement, Scotty recommends that a perSOf
mind to do befon should have something definite in
Above: Scotty in the Seattle Flying Service OX-5 Travel
making the move, and then retire as quickly as possible
Air with student Madelene Takaberry. From the looks of Below: Scotty at Cordova, Alaska with the Loening Air
things he is telling her which way is up! Yacht.
Above: Time out for leisure with the
Dolphin "Rover".
"Scotty" Scott's album.
For him, it hasn't exactly been retirement; more a
matter of recycling his flying activities! So, the show
Above: "Northland" togs were very
necessary for winter flights in the cold
continues to roll along!
north. Scotty suited up for a Seattle
Above: Suited up for "Northland" flight with the OX-5 Travel Air. In
7929 it was a chore to get the engine started. Hot water and hot oil
were necessary.
Below: Scotty and the Loening Air Yacht at Percy Barnes' dock at Lake Union, Seattle.
Below: Seattle Flying Service OX-5
Travel Air on exhibit at the (7929)
boat show.
Flying Service Inc. trip.
--.. .... ---.
in a
pilot. His
E a g l e   ~  
By: Robert G. Elliott (Assoc. Editor)
7227 Oakwood Ave.
Daytona Beach, FL 3207 4
My first introduction to Captain Clinton E. Herberger
occurred during the production of an Air Force training
film at the Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, California.
I t was late in 1943. The First Motion Picture Un it
had been organized primarily by gathering together all
varieties of studio talent already in military service. As
an Air Force motion picture studio, our prime function
was the production of training films, ...and in so doing,
on a certain picture, I was a production camera assistant
and Captain Herberger was pilot-technical advisor.
During the months that followed, until
September, 1945, it was my good fortune to have been
assigned as an aerial cameraman on numerous
with Capt. Herberger as pilot. Whether we flew
Beech AT-11 or our old B-17, "Allez Oop", none of us
were ever concerned with Capt. Herberger as
unblemished reputation as a motion picture stunt and
camera pilot was known to all, but was overshadowed by
his calm, friendly serene nature.
The passing years now found Clint and I visiting and
reminiscing about the past. ..Clint's aviation career...
unique to the extent that most of his years were spent in
aviation for the motion picture studios in Hollywood.
So it was, during June of 1975, in Orlando, Florida,
Clint's retirement home ...that he unfolded a view of his
aviation career.
"I was ten years old, when, at the Boise, Idaho, State
Fair, I saw my first airplane in 1912. The fact is, there
were two planes on exhibition, a fourth generation
Wright and a Farman boxkite. Both were peculiar by
today's standards. The Wright had no ailerons...wing
warping effected similar control that later was provided
by ailerons. The Farman, of French design, had fabric
between the front and rear wing struts hopefully to
provide more directional stabil ity.
One of the feature attractions at the San Francisco
Pan-Pac ific I nternational Exposition, was to be the
appearance of Lincoln Beachey with f:lis mid-wing mon-
oplane. We visited that Exposition as did thousands of
others, in 1915.
I had an opportunity to examine his plane. The single
wing was wire braced from the landing gear to a cabane
Hell's Angels Pilot.
Clinton E. Herberger, Lt. Col. U.S.A.F. (Ret.),
J une 7975, Orlando, Florida (Photo by
Robert G. Elliott).
strut, but in spite of this design feature, the wings
collapsed on what became his final flight. The plane had
a tri-cycle landing gear, and if I recall correctly, it was
powered by a LeRhone rotary engine.
Beachey's crash was an unfortunate quirk of luck, in
that he survived the impact upon the water, but was
drowned before he could free himself from his safety
I n order to continue the aerial attractions, Art Smith
was engaged to fly what was known then as a clip-wing
Martin biplane. Being such an awe struck kid, I was
hanging around the plane doing any odd job necessary,
from polishing wings to carrying gas, for Art Smith was
my idol.
One day, shortly after having overhauled the engine,
he was about to take it up on a test hop. He turned to
me and said .. . "Hey kid want to go up with me?"
darn near flipped right then and there and
said... "Sure". Well was a single seat plane, so he
strapped me on the leading edge of the lower wing next
to a strut, tying me to the strut . ..and that's the first
ride I had in the air ... right out in front. I never told my
mother of that first ride until much much later.
Like so many others of that era, I learned to fly in a
JN-4, and later graduated to a great big bomber. ..the
DeHaviland ...which incidently was the first airplane
with a 400hp engine. This particular subject really gripes
me, because, when I was an active military pilot in the
1940's or shortly thereafter, the Air Force decided that
any time under 400hp wouldn't count on your I lost about 3000 hours flying time right
then. And I asked them... "When in the Hell did you
think we got 400hp?"
"While in high school during WWI, they inaugurated
a military training program called ' Hi gh School Cadets' .
It was the forerunner of the ROTC. As it happened, our
school had no instructor, so I volunteered. What success
I had, was directly related to the fact that I immediately
went to the Army-Navy store to buy an Army Drill Man-
ual, and by diligent study and no little amount of manip-
ulation, I managed to stay one step ahead of the class.
My rash gamble paid off later, because our school won a
military competition. This must have been in mid 1918.
As high school ended, our Cadet group became Reg-
ular Army. We spent about a month and a half in Army
training and were actually entrained for Europe on
Armistice Day. I then returned to high schoo l, but the
following May I en li sted in the Signal Corps for Air.
My first actual military organization was the Second
Aero Squadron. For our Primary Training we were
assigned to March Field. Here, we were exposed to the
workings of an aircraft in the one and only tried and
true way. We had to disassemble the plane engine,
overhaul it by hand, scrape and polish bearings, fit it all
back together after completely going over every piece.
Then it was a re-assembly job, climaxed by the best test
of al l. .. we had to get in and fly it.
After Primary, we moved to Mather Field for
advanced flight. Mather was just a plain dirt field with
no runways, in fact not much else either. Part of our
advanced training was participation in the first forest
fire aerial patrol in northern California. Our planes, five
of them, were old DH-4B's. The patrol schedule called
for one round trip daily from Mather Field to Yreka,
California and back ...but it wasn't that simple. Yreka
was quite high in elevation, and with the heat of mid
day... we couldn't get those DH-4B's off the ground as
they didn't have the power. So ...we'd wait until the
afternoon began to cool off some, then we'd make the
return fl ight."
"Flight training concluded in 1920. For several
months we had been at North Island in San Diego,
training in Navy flying boats. The reason for this was
that our first tour of duty was to be on Corregidor.
Being a rugged island with no space for a landing strip,
the Second Aero Squadron was assigned HS-2L flying
boats to be used from anyone of the numerous small
Our whole Squadron had about ten of these flying
boats. They were large single engine pusher biplanes with
a three-man crew.. . pilot, co-pil ot and gunner/radio
operator.. .my job. Mine was the best seat in the
plane . . . right out front in the nose."
"Clint".. . 1 asked, "how did your Squadron planes
come to have that familiar nose design?"
Smiling and laughing, Clint responded .. . "You've no
doubt heard that the Flying Tigers of WWII were
supposed to have originated the menacing sharks teeth
design on the nose of their P-40's ... well, t'ain't
so...our planes had th is decoration in 1920, and here's
the picture to prove it."
With that exclamation Clint launched into a brief
description of how it all came about.
"The design and idea were mine. As it happened, the
ground crew was planning to refinish the hulls, so...on
this particular plane I created my masterpiece after the
basic refinish was completed. There was the mouth with
the sharp white teeth, towards the rear was an eye on
both sides, with scales to the rear completing the
dragon-like creature.
When it was finished the Commander came down for
Above:  Clinton  E.  Herberger,  upon entry 
in  Regular  Army,  just prior  to  Armistice 
Day,  7978. (Photo  courtesy  of  C. E. 
what he supposed was a routine paint inspection. He
took one surprised look at our plane and quickly
asked ..."Who did that?". which I responded ..."1
did, Sir". Directly to me, he said ..."Well, I like
it. . . paint the others", meaning the rest of the Squadron
Our operation was somewhat hampered by the fact
that a tractor was necessary to launch and retrieve each
plane from the water. Makeshift hangars and work areas
were higher on the beach somewhat in the jungle.
Some years ago, my wife Virginia, and I, were visiting
the Smithson ian Museum and we observed an HS-2L fu-
selage. I n checking the Serial number, I was surprised to
learn that it had been one of the planes in our old that I had flown."
"Clint.'ve told me in time past that your even-
tual association with Howard Hughes in the production
of 'Hell's Angels' began in an odd manner ."
"It sure was an oddity. I was working for an aircraft
company in Glendale. You see...strangely enough
all these years.. . 1 've never owned an airplane. I've
always been paid for all my flying. So ...1 was flying one
of this company's aircraft, then known as a
'Thunderbird'. I think there were only about three of
them built, and they never received CAB flight certifica-
tion. This was about the time that the licensing agency
was formed . The inspectors were not engineers, just
former pilots.
I had been scheduled to fly the spin tests one day and
these guys incorrectly loaded my plane, as I later discov-
Well spun alright. ..the flattest spin you can
imagine...seventeen turns in 3000 feet. I bailed out. It
was a free jump from open cockpit, not a pullout.. . and
as I rolled out and dropped, the wing rotated above me
as I pulled the ripcord. I did ONE ...TWO...THREE ...
swings and hit the ground . That emergency jump ad-
mitted me to the Caterpill,ar Club.
Strangely enough, years later a lad came to the house
selling Capitol brushes. He looked at me kinda funny
and said to me..."Didn't you used to be a pilot?" . ..
and I said, "Yes". He continued, "Didn't you bailout of
a plane over the Baldwin Hills?" ...and I said, "Yes" ...
he says, "I've got the stick of that plane . .. wou Id you
like to have it?" I've still got it today was about the
only piece of that plane which hadn't been smashed.
This Thunderbird was one of the first planes that had
an adjustable stabilizer. It was powered by an old WWI
Hispano Suiza. You could land it very slowly.. . or set
the stabilizer and it was hotter than a pistol. It would
have made a great training plane, but it was never cer-
Above: Fokker D- V/I, similar to those flown
by Clinton E. Herberger during his participa-
tion in the filming of Hefl's Angels. This
particular plane, when photographed, was
part of the Tallmantz Collection. (Photo by
Robert G. Elliott).
Below: Launching and retrieval of the
HS-2L's from the beach was accomplished
with the aide of a tractor and manpower.
Lack of sufficient flat, clear land on the is-
land, demanded the use of the water-based
planes. Note the 'shark nose' design. (Photo
courtesy of C. E. Herberger).
"That was the plane I was flying when Hughes con-
tacted my Company to rent it for Hell's Angels. A deal
was agreed upon which included the plane with me as
pilot. After I arrived on the filming location, they
discovered I was the only military trained pilot. My first
assignment then, was to spend over a month teaching all
those other film pilots how to fly formation. Frank
Clark was Chief Pilot, and he had introduced me to
Howard Hughes after I'd been there about a week.
Howard said ... "How much are you getting,
Herb?"...and I told him . . . he said "I'll double it"...
and he did. I collected two salaries all through that from my Company and one from Hughes.
I was with them for just over a year, until all the
flight sequences were finished . You know .. . the first
version was silent, but when sound came in, Hughes did
it allover again.
Hughes had two fields, at first, which represented the
German and Allied home bases. Caddo Field was the
All ied Squadron Headquarters and was close to Van
Nuys in the San Fernando Valley. His other field was up
near Newhall from which the German Squadron flew."
Because Clint had numerous opportunities to fly WWI
aircraft, I asked if he thought any single aircraft was
superior . To this he responded ..."Well, the Fokker
O-VII was very definitely a superior plane. Incidentally, I
logged more time in a Fokker O-VII than most any
individual German pilot had during WWI, and it was
logged while making Hell's Angels as well as other pic-
tures later on.
I considered its design to be superior. It was a very
maneuverable airplane. You see...actually, the O-VII
was one of the first full cantilever wing aircraft, but the
pilots wouldn't trust it, so they put struts in it. I've seen
it flown without them.
Above: Clinton E. Herberger, in nose of
HS-2L, during tour of duty on the island of
Corregidor with the Second Aero Squadron,
in 7920. (Photo courtesy of C. £.
Below: Clinton E. Herberger, third from left,
during his advanced flight training at Mather
Field, California. This was one of the five
DH-4B's which were used in the first forest
fire aerial patrol. (Photo courtesy of c.£.
Nieuport 28, similar to those flown in the filming
of Hell's Angels, earning a reputation for being
hazardous to fly because of the characteristics of
the LeRhone rotary engine. This particular plane,
when photographed, was part of the Cole Palen
collection. (Photo by Robert G. Elliott).
Group photo showing some of the 87 planes and
78 pilots who were engaged by Howard Hughes for
the filming of Hell's Angels. In the center is the
Sikorsky S29A, converted to resemble a German
Gotha bomber. Included in the photo are British
SE-5's, Fokker D- VI/'s, Nieuports and converted
Travel Airs. (Photo courtesy of C. E. Herberger).
I he wreckage of Stuart Murphy's plane laying in a
cow pasture, after the mid-air collision with Ira
Reed. (Photo courtesy of C. E. Herberger).
An outstanding characteristic was its ability to fly
very slowly and still retain sensitive control response. It
could literally hang on its prop in a steep climb, a
deadly maneuver against the underside of Allied planes.
Conversely, a plane that ruined many a pilot was the
French Nieuport 28. Garland Lincoln owned the
Nieuports flown in the picture. One day Garland said .. .
of one Nieuport. .. "There's a little vibration here"
we took off the cowl and looked. Of the fourteen bolts
that should have secured the LeRhone rotary to the
motor mount, there were only three left. wonder
there was vibration.
That's another thing the youngsters of today don't
believe...the rotary engine. The engine rotation acted to
create a gyroscopic effect. ..a positive reason why you
never made turns to the right at low altitude without
being very careful to counteract that tremendous pull to
the right. Those old LeRhones could not be idled with
retarded throttle as was the custom on conventional
engines. So .. . on top of the stick was what we called a
blip-button, which cut out each alternate cylinder, thus
reducing power. Instead of the sharp staccato exhaust in
normal operation, the blip switch created a succession of
"Thrruupp...thrruupp . ..thrruupp, blasts. It was this
tremendous torque which caused a near fatal accident
during the fil ming of Hell 's Angels.
Howard Hughes decided he wanted to takeoff
I recall. . . either a Thomas Morse or a Nieuport, down
the line of hangars and do a right Chandelle up over the
hangars. When the flight crew was informed of his inten-
tion... we all tried to talk him out of it, judging that he,
being a novice pilot, would be attempting a very dan-
gerous maneuver.
There was no stopping Hughes however. The more we
cautioned him, the more excited he became...and in
those days his voice rose to a high pitch falsetto as he
finally cried ..."Oh bunch of damn pansy pilots
... "1'11 show you how to do it".
I was near him when he started to climb into the
plane and I said ... "Howard, don 't try it now . .. we
know the risk", but he said, "I'll do it".. _as he settled
himself in the cockpit.
Next thing we knew, his chocks were pull ed and he
went barreling down the field just in front of the hang-
"As Hughes lifted off, he began a tight climbing turn
to the ri ght and WHAM . .. he went righ t into the side of a
hangar. We were all running towards the wreckage by
then and thinking to ourselves ..."My God ... there goes
our Angel". All there was to see was a pile of fabric,
splintered wood, tubing and lots of smoke. We just stood
there momentarily stunned. Fortunately there was no
Suddenly the pile of junk erupted and out staggered
Hughes with hardly a scratch. We were so shocked with
his sudden appearance that Hughes broke the silence
with his falsetto voice, remarking ... "Well. .. 1 guess you
knew what you were talking about".
As I was leafing through Clint's collection of pho-
tographs, a group photo of many Hell's Angels planes
prompted Clint to continue.
"That group photo included many of our 87 planes
and our 78 pilots. Across the front are the pilots, guess I
was somewhere near the middle. Behind, in the center
was the converted Sikorsky S29A, made to appear as a
German Gotha bomber. The two light colored planes
near the front were authentic SE-5's. Behind are four
Fokker D-VII' s, while the rest were not only authentic
Nieuport 28's but also converted Travel Airs.
Filming another Hell's Angels couldn't be done
today, I'm sure. In the first place there wouldn't be
enough old planes that could be made airworthy, and
the newer ones, converted, would fly too fast. At one
time during the main dog-fight sequence, we had fifty
planes within camera view ...all milling about, one upon
the other's tail_ . . or spinning down out of action."
Interrupting Clint for a moment I questioned how
they communicated the complicated directions to each
pilot from the lead camera plane.
To wh ich Clint repli ed ..."Each scene was di-
agrammed on a blackboard with all participating pilots
present. Much the same as football plays are planned.
Each plane's move was thoroughly planned before we
went up. As a backup, we'd all memori ze an alternate
scene, just in case the clouds weren't exactly right for
camera, or something else had prevented our following
the original plan. We would communicate by hand sig-
nals in such an instance and change to the alternate
scene, which indeed ... we did frequently.
During the filming of Hell' s Angels we had relatively
few accidental crashes. There was one though that stands
out in my memory . . . as I very nearly became a part of
it" ... chuckled Clint.
He had flipped through the photo co ll ection and had
stopped to study a pil e of wreckage on a hilly field.
"That wreck is the resu lt of a near fatal mi shap and it
happen ed over the foothills near Oak land, Cali fornia.
Actually, this pil e of junk was in th e middl e of a cow
The day's shooting was pl anned around a dog fight
with 50 planes. Stuart Murphy and I were German, and
Ira Reed was the Briti sh. Stuart, ahead of me, was
making the proper attack on Ira, when suddenl y, he
dove down and went right t hrough the upper and lower
left wings of Ira's plane. It all happened right in front of
me and I damn near was the third vict im, but luckil y
managed to pull up over them as they split apart. As I
came abo ut I saw Stuart bailout so I fo ll owed him down
to make sure he safely landed.
Ira, in the meantime, was limping along down coun-
try looking for a likely land ing place. Darn if he didn't
make it too ...and all the more miraculous because his
converted Travel Airhad a broken mai n spar in his top
"Talking it over with Ira soon after he landed I as ked,
" Ira. . . why in heck didn't you bail ouP", to which he
responded in a murmur.. ." 1 was afra id to". But he
never ad mitted it to anyone else", chuckled Clint .
We all went back to that pasture to pick up the pieces
of Stuart's plane. The whee ls were about all we cou ld
fi nd that were useable. I mpact had been on top of a low
rise in the pasture fu ll of cows. When they saw this
monster fal ling upon them, they took off with tails high
and not a one was hurt.
The Unit manager and all of us, for that matter, fully
ex pected we'd find an irate farmer ready to sue, but
instead . . . he came to meet us laughing way down in his
boots. "You know" .. . he gasped .. . "every one of those
darn cows will go dr y fro m th at scare". He really thought
it was hilarious ... much to our rei ief.
"For the record , Clint" . .. 1 continued as he fell silent
a moment.. ." 1 suppose the background of that Sikorsky
should be clarified somewhat. Your photo of this
re-constructed pl ane shows it in its final configuration,
that of resembling a German Gotha bomber.
The Sikorsky S29-A was built in 1924 by Igor
Sikorsky, his first aircraft built in America after im-
migrating from his native Russ ia. Igor struggled for
months to finance and build that 14 passenger, 100 mph
commerical aircraft. He flew it successfully on more
than 200 flights, carrying both passengers and freight,
I."" ,th",,!",.t

• '\.:J ..
. I' 141-e 14
Group photo of a number of pilots who figured prom-
inently in the filming of Hell 's Angels standing beside the
conllerted Sikorsky S29A. Clinton E. Herberger is first to
the right of the skull. (Photo courtesy of C. E. Herberger).
proving its commercial worth to many skeptics. TO BE CONTINUED IN MARCH ISSUE
In 1926 Roscoe Turner bought the S29-A for
A Sillier Eagle
$11,000, a sizeable sum in those days. Roscoe flew it on
Clinton E. Herberger
various money mak ing ventures for nearly two years
until he entered into the sales agreement with Howard
Hughes in 1928. The Sillier Eagle series is an honorary deSignation of the
The S29-A was to star in the picture, though in doing Florida Chapter, the series being researched and written
so... its career would be ended." by Robert G. Elliott, Associate Editor.
Above: A typical "pick-up" on an early air mail flight.
Note the Model T Fords.
(Continued from Page 6)
The pilot of the first airplane out of New York was E.
J. Leonhardt. He discovered that his aircraft could not
develop full power, and with the prevailing bad weather,
he chose to execute a forced landing somewhat south of
Du Bois, Penn. The second fl ight made it to Ch icago
where weather conditions also forced its termination.
The second eastbound fl ight was piloted by F arr
Nutter. He broke the earth's bonds at 4:29 a.m., San
Francisco time. His cruising altitude reached 12,000 feet
so that he could clear the peaks of the Sierra Mountains
and landed at Reno as the sun was rising, 6:45 a.m. With
the mail loaded onto another plane, pilot Jack Eaton left
Reno at 6:55 a.m. for the second leg of the flight. He
reached Elko at 9:24 a.m., refueled, and departed at
9:31 a.m. His leg was completed upon his landing at Salt
Lake City at 11 :30 a.m. Pilot James Murray, also with
another DH-4, throttled up his 400-horsepower Amer-
ican Liberty powerplant, and took off at 12: 37 p. m.
The DH-4 these pilots were flying at this time were
reconverted Army armed observation planes used during
World War I. They were constructed of wood, their
fabric coverings replaced by natural finish birch plywood
for use by the air mail service. The open-cockpit biplane
had been lightened during reconversion. As a result, it
could carry 500 Ibs of mail in the area where the observ-
er's seat had been. The limited fuel capacity, 100 gal-
lons, gave the workhorse a range of only 350 miles max-
imum. This meant that the refueling stops were too fre-
quent to please the pilots. The alternative, however, was
even less desirable.
Instrumentation consisted of a compass, airspeed in-
dicator, tachometer, altimeter, ignition switch, and
Above: jack Knight beside his plane, with his
name stenciled on the wooden side.
water temperature gauge. Only the latter two could be
considered reliable. Although it wasn't much, it was a
Jimmy Murray touched down at Cheyenne, Wyoming
at 4:57 p.m. From Cheyenne, pilot Frank Yaeger took
over, and left that field at 4:59 p.m. He made North
Platte, Nebr. by 7:48 p.m. Jack Knight was waiting to
begin his segment .
Jack had already flown his usual day flight from
Omaha to Cheyenne. He had to depart immediately
from Cheyenne for North Platte to meet Yaeger. Knight
was to fly the important payload on to Omaha. He had
had no sleep and no supper when he met Yaeger after
the latter landed at North Platte.
Although Yaeger was there at 4:48, there were
complications with Knight's plane. Three hours of
Above: Jack Knight after arriving in
Chicago on the 20th anniversary of
his epic flight.
mechanic's time was required to get the engine started
and running properly. Also, a tail skid was being
The pilot also had problems; he had a broken nose
and other injuries sustained in a landing mishap seven
days previous.
The North Platte-to-Omaha leg finally began at 10:44
p.m., in the dark. Knight climbed to 2,200 feet. "I
didn't dare go any higher because land markings were
barely discernible from this level ," he said. "Through
occasional slits in the clouds I caught glimpses of the
Filling the radiator
dim silver thread of the Platte River. It was my guide."
The other major navigation aid was bonfires, which were
lighted by enthusiastic farmers and chambers of com-
merce along the proposed route. The postal service had
requested the fires, and cooperation was enthusiastic.
"All along the route were bonfires built to serve as bea-
cons and I fel t as if I had a thousand friends on the
grou nd . . . Lexington, Kearney, Grand Island,
Columbus, Fremont slipped by, warm glows of well-
wishers beneath the plane's wings," Knight said. "And
then I saw the lights of Omaha. The field was magnif-
icently illuminated. There were at least 2,000 persons at
the airport to welcome me -- indicating the true enthu-
siasm for the mail." Blazing gasoline drums guided Jack
to his touchdown at 1 :10 in the morning of the 23rd. " I
climbed out of the ship thinking only of supper and
So much for routine. Inside was Bill Votaw, Omaha
airport manager , who related the news that Knight's
relief pilot had failed to make the trip from Chicago to
Omaha. Also, he found out that the westbound flights
Below: Jack Knight ready to take off on U.S. air
mail route. Note the poor forward visibility.
Above: Reno, Nev., U.S. air mail stop.
were both snowbou nd. Jack m uttered to Votaw, "I t's
too damn bad to get halfway across the continent and
have the flight fizzle out. I'm going to take this mail on
to Chicago." Votaw felt the fli ght should be terminated
and Jack pleaded to be allowed to continue. Against
continuing were the facts that: 1) no bonfires would be
available along the route, 2) the weather was atrocious,
3) Knight had never flown the route before .- even
during the day, 4) Knight was already exhausted, and 5)
the on ly map available was an old railroad map. The
only factor for continuation was that this flight was
required to secure the future of the air mail service. Jack
won his point. He studied the map and his plane was
refueled. "It was one minute before 2:00 a.m. when I
opened the throttle and skimmed away from the Omaha
A strong crosswind from the north compl icated
navigation. "From here on I was flying over territory
absolutely strange," he said. "I knew nothing of the land
markings', even if they had been visibl e. I had to fly by
compass and by feel. I passed over Des Moines." Des
Moines was scheduled to be a refueling stop. In addition
to poor visibility, snow was deep on the Des Moines real
estate. Too deep to land. The fuel selector was switched
to the emergency tank. "By this time I was dead for lack
of sleep," Knight recalled. "I wanted to doze off. The
throbbing rhythm of the motor didn't help matters. It
was almost a lullaby. I gripped the control stick with my
knees and began slapping my face to keep awake. I stuck
my face over the side of the cowl and let the rush ing
zero air bite my cheeks almost raw.
" It was a new danger that restored my wakefulness,
however, fog. I dropped to low altitude trying to catch
a glimpse of some kind of marker. The landing gear
grazed a treetop. I tried again, praying that this time it
wouldn't be the ground. Luckily, I spotted a railroad
track. I followed it because I thought it would lead me
to Iowa City.
"There was a break in the clouds and I saw lights
which I thought to be I.e. but I couldn't find a field.
The gasoline was running low. I think it was good for
about five more minutes . . . I just kept circling. Then I
spotted a red flare. I t might have been for a railroad
train, but I had to take the chance and went down. The
flare was planted in the center of the field and I made a
rather rough landing." This was Iowa City. All the
ground personnel, thinking the flight was cancelled in
Omaha, had left the field. The one remaining person, the
night watchman, had heard the twelve pounding cyl-
inders above and lit the red flare. The landing was at
4:45 a.m.
The watchman helped Knight refuel the DH-4's tanks.
They waited for the snow to let up a little. "A ham
sandwich and I was in the air again," Knight continued.
"I didn't dare eat any more for fear it would put me to
sleep. It was 6:30 a.m., Wednesday. The rest of the way
I flew by instinct. I just pointed the plane's nose for
Chicago and kept going. Snow whirled around the ship
for a wh ile and the wi nd blew stiff from the east. I twas
hellishly cold. But as the day grew brighter, I saw the
grey smoke of Chicago mixing with the clouds and it was
the finest sight I have ever beheld. Within sight of the
field, the motor started to sputter. I guess I could forgive
it then because the job was done."
"Go ahead and quit," Knight told the engine, "we'll
make it anyhow." And that they did, he landed at
Checkerboard Field in Maywood at 8:40 in the morning,
February 23. The Buchanan native, had to have his
clothes cut loose to get out of the cockpit and was
greeted by a wild crowd welcoming a hero. It was a
jubilant scene, but his mod est statement to the news
medi a was, "I happened to be the man on the spot, but
anyone of the rest of the fellows would have done what
I did. We all knew how important this flight is, and we
are all deter mined to make it succeed. Too many pilots
have sacrificed their lives flying the mai l during the past
couple of years to let this thing fold up. This isn't just a
case of 'the mail must go through '; the whole idea of the
transcontinental airway is at stake."
The news immed iately began to spread nation-wide.
Head lines procl aimed him as a hero. From Chicago, pilot
Jac k Webster left at 9:00 a.m. and arrived at Cleveland
at 12:52 p.m. Ernest M. Allison took off from Cleveland
at 1 :03 p.m. and ended the transcontinental flight at
4:49 p.m. at Hazelhurst Field on Long Island.
It took 33 hou, sand 20 minutes to cover the 2,629
miles. Average speed was 104 mph (with a flying time of
25 hours and 16 minutes). The first night air mail flight
was mad e. The coast-to-coast time of delivery was more
than halved. One pilot had given his life.
As a result of the last two day's events, the American
public was sure that air mail was here to stay. Congress
was impressed and approved $1.25 million for the
continuation and expansion of the Air Mail Service and
for airway lighting. The Congress also began work on
legi slation governing civil aviation. The flight was a
terrific success -- a success made possible by the
determination, the skill, and, perhaps, the luck of Jack
For many years after his historic flight, Jack Knight
continued the battle to moderni ze the airways and make
the job of navigation less a life-a nd-death proposition.
Two-way radio communications was in the works, too.
In the fall of 1923, Jack flew the same route, at night,
but this time there were operating beacons and he had
radios aboard. It must have seemed like a milkrun.
Left:  jack  Knight  and  Henry  Ford  in  re-
enactment  of first  through  day  and night coast-
to-coast air mail flight. 
His long distance flights were not ended either. Also
in 1923, he made another important flight, flying 960
miles in 14 hours, from Cheyenne to Buchanan, to be at
the bedside of his dyi ng father.
Later, he became a pilot for United Airlines. He
retired from fulltime flying in 1937 to take the job of
Director of Public Education for United, after having
flown 2,400,000 miles without an accident. Retirement
followed several years later.
World War II brought Jack again into service. He flew
to South America to get rubber for war materials; he
contracted malaria while on this mission. After the war
had ended, Jack took a severe fall while at a lecture. The
injuries suffered in that fall precipitated his death from
malaria on February 24, 1945, in his mother's home. He
was only 53. At his previous request, his ashes were
scattered from an airplane over Lake Michigan.
His memory has lived on. In 1967, the city of Omaha
conducted a re-enactment of Knight's flight from
Cheyenne to Omaha. That city and North Platte had
declared Jack Knight Days. And now, the Jack Knight
Memorial Chapel in Buchanan will honor him for poster-
Because of Jack Knight' s outstand ing service and
because of the example he set, it is understandable that
his successor air mail pilots proudly took on the motto,
Civis Aerius Sum -- "I am a citizen of the air."
Below:  Crowd  at one  of the  stops  on  the  coast-
to-coast air mail flight re-enactment.