Air Show Coming Saturday, Sunday

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Originally Posted in 1938

Will Take Dozen Passengers at a Time on County Tours

What is expected to be the most spectacular and thrilling air show in Door county will take place Saturday afternoon and Sunday.  August 10-11, when a fleet of planes from Curtis Wright airport, Milwaukee, will put on a program of stunt flying at the Cherryland airport three miles north of this city on Highway 57.

Featured on the program will be Henry Salmon of Detroit, one of the nation’s most sensational delayed parachute performers, who fall 8,000 feet before the parachute opens.  Other features are ribbon cutting, aerial dog fights, and inverted flight acrobatics.

One of the largest planes ever to land on the local field, a 14 passenger Ford tri-motor air liner, weighing 17,000 pounds, will take up passengers, and will specialize in carrying of twelve on sigh-seeing trips around Door county to the tip of the peninsula, returning along the Green bay shore.  The rides will last an hour.

The Ford plane is the only type that President Coolidge ever rode in and is also the same make of ship flown by Byrd in this record long hops over the Antarctic.

It was naturally, also, the first ship to take Henry Ford aloft.  When the plane comes to sturgeon Bay, it will be flown by Colonel E. H. (buck) Leighton, veteran air mail pilot, who has 8,000 hours of flying to his credit and was commander of federal air forces during the Mexican revolution.

There will be six or seven planes I the fleet, all in charge of U. S. government licensed pilots.  E. B. Mulick is the general manager.

The exact time of the stunting program has not yet been determined, but it is expected to be early Sunday afternoon and will take place over the Cherryland airport.

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Night Flying

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Originally Published in 1932

Scenic flights over St. Paul after nightfall attract hundreds of “joy hoppers” to Holman Municipal airport each evening.  The photograph from the top of the municipal hangar is a snapshot over the floodlight showing a tri-moored transport being prepared for a takeoff with an open biplane in readiness.  Headlights of moving cars mark the road at the edge of the flying field.

(Ford operated by E H Leighton 1932)

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Leighton To Perform Stunts in Tri-Motor

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Originally Published September 7, 1935

Col. Leighton will stunt in a giant Ford tri-motor all-metal plane, the only ship of its kind that can be put through maneuvers.  Inverted flying, loops and spins are some of the stunts on his program during the afternoon.

Among the distinguished guests who will attend the dedication are Dr. William P. Donovan and two other pilots from the reserve corps will fly here Sunday morning from St. Louis in three army pursuit planes.

As officers in the reserve corps, the three are required to spend a certain number of hours I the air each month.  The trip from St. Louis to Merrill will fulfill their official requirements.

Mayor to Give Address
Mayor W. H. AuBuchon, Merrill, will deliver the dedication address before the opening of the circus.  Others who will speak include Mayor Borowitz, Wausau; Garnett C. Powell, Tomahawk world war flyer, who supervised construction of the airport when it was a SWA project; Mayor Mark Raymond, Tomahawk; Ted Dvorak, Tomahawk, and W. B. Chilsen, Merrill.

Officials from other cities who will take part in the ceremonies include Mayor C. O. Miller, Antigo; City Manager Wardell, Rhinelander, the village president of Eagle River and many others.

Planes of the air circus performers will begin to arrive at the airport this afternoon.  Those from Associated Aviation corporation include a Ford Tri-motor plane, already at the field; a Curtiss-Wright pusher, two American Eagles, two Waco F’s; two fleet airplanes, a Miller special and a Pitcairn Mailwing.
Visiting pilots include Bob Heidl, Col. Leighton, James Hansen, Ben White, Abfalder Rivers, Ralph Brichta, G. Jackson, Herb Holtz, Frank Pettrusha, Irv Miller and Harvey Fielbach.

Novelty Race to Open Show
The show will open with a novelty race over a designated course.  Six entries are expected in this event, including a pilot of the name of Neumann, who is said to have taken a prize at Cleveland.

Pilots Hansen and Col. Leighton will stage an aerial dog fight.

Herman Salmon, 23 years old, aerial stunt performer, will make a delayed parachute jump from an altitude of about 10,000 feet, falling more than a mile before opening the chute.  Since he has been performing with air circuses, Salmon has made over 200 jumps.

Dead stick landing, ribbon cutting and various other exhibitions of precision flying will take place during the afternoon.

E. B. Mulick, general manager of the Associated Aviation corporation, said that the circus will put on as many other stunts and exhibitions as time will permit after the end of the scheduled program.  All planes will carry passengers of flights over the city during the day.

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Air Tour Finally Underway

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Originally Published September 20, 1938

Eddie Hartfel, secretary of the Wisconsin chapter of the National Aeronautic association, gave the long-awaited order to take off at 3 o’clock Monday afternoon and five planes of the 40 expected in the flight left the Manitowoc Municipal airport on the third annual Wisconsin Good Will Air Tour.  In this picture, Hartfel is starting one of the motors on the Ford Tri-Motor ship piloted by Manager Buck Leighton of the local airport.  Leighton is at the controls.  Other planes joined the group in Milwaukee for a flight to Jamesville.  The “queen” of the tour, blonde Martha Hayes of Lake Delton, is flying in the tri-motored ship.  Leighton is the only Manitowoc pilot in the tour.  Business affairs prevented E. J. Nelson from taking part.

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Flying Circus, Postponed Last Sunday, Scheduled To Be Held This Weekend

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Originally published in Manotowoc, WI, September 16, 1938

Postponed one week because of inclement weather, the air circus and welcoming program for between 40 and 50 state aviators will be held Sunday at the Municipal airport.

The same features as arranged for last Sunday will be offered Milton Boucher, president of the local chapter of the National Aeronautic association, will attempt to break the world record for loops in a Taylor Cub, a small plane.  He will try to make over 48 consecutive loops.

Bud Fisher and Buck Leighton will stunt and there will be a 5,000 foot parachute jump by Harvey Mueller of Cleveland.  Leighton will stunt a big Ford Tri-Motor ship.

Planes will be arriving all day Sunday for the start of the third annual Wisconsin Air Tour, scheduled for 10 o’clock next Monday morning.  Announcement will be made over the public address system as the various fliers comply with the department of commerce regulation requiring them to circle the air field before landing.

Local aviators show will take part in the tour of 14 Wisconsin cities include Buck Leighton and E. J. Nelson.  Mr. Leighton will fly a Ford Tri-Motor and Mr. Nelson his new Fairchild monoplane.

A banquet for the fliers will be held Sunday evening in the hangar.  Mayor Martin Georgenson will welcome the visitors and the response will be given by Howard Morey, governor of the Wisconsin chapter of the National Aeronautic association.

Other speakers will include Edward Nelson, who will act as master of ceremonies, and President of the local flying club.

Scooter rides on the airport will be a feature of the entertainment for the aviators.  There will be many concessions on the grounds.

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Wauwatosan, 94, Has First Ride

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Originally published in Milwaukee Journal, August 13, 1938

ONE of the newest converts to airplane travel is Mrs. Emmaline Detgen, 94 year old great-grandmother who lives at 2564 N. 80th st., Wauwatosa.  “Flying is wonderful,” she exclaimed when she stepped out of a plane recently after her first ride. 

She is pictured here with the pilot, Elmer (Buck) Leighton.  Mrs. Detgen and her husband, Jacob, are now planning a longer flight.  It will be his first ride.

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Boucher To Seek World Record For Loops at Airshow Sunday

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Originally posted in 1939

An attempt to set a new world record for consecutive loops in a small airplane will be made by Milton Boucher, president of the Manitowoc chapter of the National Aeronautic association, as a feature of the air circus at the airport Sunday.

The air circus will be a feature of the entertainment arranged for some 30 or 40 visiting fliers here for the start of the annual Wisconsin Air Tour on Monday, Sept 12, at 10 a. m.

Record Is 48 Loops
The record for a plane the size of Boucher’s Taylor Cub is 48 loops.  Larger ships have made up to 100 loops.  Boucher, a local business man whose hobby is flying, has several times been close to the record.  On Labor day he made over 40 loops when the pilot’s seat broke and he was hurled into the rear cockpit.  Boucher scrambled back to the controls and pulled the ship out of a nose dive.

Elmer (Buck) Leighton, manager of the Municipal Airport, will give the crowd some thrills when he stunts a huge Ford Tri-Motor ship in addition to his speedy Cessna Monoplane.  Leighton will give an exhibition of upside down flying.

Wittman To Come
Steve Wittman of Oshkosh, who place third in the Thompson trophy event at the National Air races, will be among the visiting fliers present.

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Airplane Back

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Originally published May 28, 1939

The 144-passenger (sic) Ford tri-motor airplane of the International Flying School, which has been in Corpus Christi the past few weeks carrying passengers there on sightseeing air trips, is back at the Laredo municipal airport.  It was flown back here the past week by Art Donahue (sic), instructor of the flying school, accompanied by Bob Hoseck and Melvin Seaman.

The big ship is again being used to carry passenger on sightseeing flights over Laredo in order to advertise the flying school here ad build up interest in aviation.  It is the largest commercial airplane based anywhere in South Texas.  Passengers will be carried Sunday afternoon and there will be some stunt lying (sic) and other entertainment provided by instructors and students of the flying school.

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Tri-Motored All-Metal Transport Is Latest Addition to Cliff Maus Airport’s Planes

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Originally published March 12, 1939

The latest and largest addition to Cliff Maus Airport’s private planes, a Fort tri-motored all metal ship.  While these planes are the granddaddies of the ultra-modern air liners of today, they still carry the NC before the license number, which means the government inspector has found then to be airworthy.  Most of these Ford air liners are now operating in South America on air line service where speed doesn’t count.

Cliff Maus Airport has added another airplane to its growing list of permanent lanes.  The latest is a tri-motored, all-metal Ford transport plane.

The big 10-passenger ship is owned and operated by Buck Layton (sic), veteran pilot.  Layton (sic) now operates a flying school at Laredo, where he has also operated the tri-motor for passenger flights, until this past Tuesday, when he flew it to our airport. In addition to operating the big ship here, on passenger flights over the city and charter trips, Layton (sic) is considering the possibilities of establishing the “shortest air line I the world” from corpus Christi to port Aransas, making two round trips a day during the summer.  It also seems that he has his eye on the proposed air mail feeder service between here and Laredo should it be put into effect.

Layton (sic) received his first flight training at Kelly Field in 1920.  Since that time his experiences in flying have varied from teaching students to test flying, air line pilot and exhibition flying.  His log books show many thousands of hours spent at the controls of aircraft both large and small.

Ace Corben, airport manager, received his tri-motor instruction from Layton (sic), when he bought the familiar red and yellow tri-motored plane that many Corpus Christians enjoyed their first flight in.  Ace sold his big plane a year ago, but it looks like Cliff Maus airport is again one of the few airports that has a tri-motored plane available for private flying.

Pilots Meet
Tuesday evening a meeting of local licensed pilots was called at the airport to discuss the possibilities of forming a pilot’s acociation (sic)) to include all pilots in Corpus Christi and nearby towns.  To date there are 33 pilots holding active licenses I this vicinity.

At the meeting, which was attended by some 15 birdmen, plans were suggested for the proposed organization.  However, nothing definite was arrived at and the future meeting is to be held at an early date.

Two years ago a local chapter of the national Aeronautics Association was formed here.  Due to lack of activity, interest soon dwindled and the members dropped out one by one.  Some of the local fiers (sic) still feel that there is need for some kind of local pilot’s association, since the number of pilots here is increasing so rapidly.  The proposed association will admit only fliers holding pilot certificates issued by the Civil Aeronautics authority.  However, an honorary membership will be available to those interested in the development of aviation.  A good organization would no doubt be a fine thing and it should help to create interest in flying.  While I have seen several such organizations prove successful, I have seen 10 times as many turn out to be failures.  Here’s hoping this new one will be the best.

New Beacon Lights
Notice has just been received at the airport, from the Civil aeronautics Authority, regarding operation of the new beacon lights which are to be put into operation between Corpus Christi, Houston, and New Orleans March 15.  Since I understand that Eastern Air Lines has been awaiting the completion of these lights be fore starting their new runs between Houston, Corpus Christi and Brownsville, it would be my guess that the new service will begin at an early date.  The new beacon lights now give our fair city three lighted airways, one going north, one south and the new one east.  In addition to the beacon lights, which are located approximately every 15 miles apart, there will be 3 lighted emergency landing fields between here and Houston.  These fields are installed and maintained by the government.

The new additional schedule which Braniff Airways started through Corpus Christi a short time ago, has met with such an increasing number of passengers it has become necessary to replace the 10-passenger Lockheed Electras with Douglas 14-passenger transports.  Corpus Christi now has four of the big Douglas Airlines through here each day and two trips using the smaller 10-passenger ships, every day except Sunday.

No Mishaps at Air Meet
In looking over a report of the Miami air Races and all the trimmings which went with it, I noticed one smal (sic) article which, to my way of thinking in terms of aviation, is something outstanding.  A flight of 600 privately-owned flivver planes migrated to the Southern Air Races from all parts of the United States.  Out of this number of sportsmen and sportswomen pilots there was not the slightest mishap of any kind.  To me, this was one of the greatest boots for private flying you could ask for.  However, very little publicity was given the event.

“Safer Aircraft”
Speaking of private flying, according to a statement from the Civil Aeronautics Authority at Washington, they have agreed to make it easier to obtain licenses to fly private planes, if the aviation industry will develop safer airpanes (sic).  Just what they mean when they say “safer aircraft” I could not tell you.  If the 600 private fliers and their Flivver planes don’t prove the safety of aircraft, I don’t know what does.  Several years ago the Department of Commerce spent many thousands of dollar strying (sic) to develop a foolproof airplane, but everyone who knows about it is still waiting for the startling results that were promised.  As yet, nobody has even built a fool-proof automobile, let alone such an airplane.

If the new Civil Aeronautics Authority wants to help stimulate and promote private flying, I would suggest (along with several others, that they translate the present set of rules and regulations governing private flying into plain English where the average person could understand them without having to take a law course first.  Very few people who have the desire to fly would object to taking enough flying instruction to develop the art of flying.  But when it comes to spending twice as much time thumbing back and forth through a volume of technical written do’s and don’ts – well, it a little more than the ordinary person cares to do.  I don’t think anyone who has looked over the big book of rules and regulations can blame them.

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Remembering my Father

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Remembering my Father, Colonel W. W. Maas U.S. Air Force
by Fred Maas, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Originally posted March 12, 2005

Col. W. W. Maas
Nov. 17, 1916 – Jan 13, 2005

My father, Col. W. W. Maas, US Air Force reserve, passed away recently. He loved to fly, and so I told this story at his interment at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The 1929 Ford Trimotor, 39-N9683-5ATB, was restored by American Airlines in the late sixties. My Dad, who worked for Bell Labs, did a lot of business with airlines, and he was offered a chance to fly in this plane before it went to the Air and Space museum in D.C. It was a huge thrill for him. This is his story of that flight.

As he left home he told us to watch for him, and he would try to fly over the house. Once in the plane, in the tiny cockpit and airborne, he was put in the copilot’s position.

The pilot leaned over toward him and shouted, “SORRY FOR HOW LOUD THIS PLANE IS, MR. MAAS.”


The pilot was surprised. “I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE IN THE AIR FORCE?”


“REALLY?” The pilot thought a moment, then said, “WOULD YOU LIKE TO FLY HER?”

My father all but did a double-take, and looking at the pilot said, “YOU’D LET ME FLY IT?”

“SURE!” the pilot answered.

So my father took the controls and flew the plane. After a bit of practice he had the hang of it, could bank it and so on, and, knowing the terrain, he headed toward our house. A while later we, on the ground heard an unmistakable strange sounding plane and knew it could only be our Dad in the Tin Goose. Just as it came over he wiggled the wings at us, then disappeared over our horizon and the drone faded.

My Dad was having the time of his life. They were circling back toward the air field when my Dad turned to the pilot and shouted, “YOU KNOW THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE EVER FLOWN A PLANE!”

“WHAT?” the pilot answered, “I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU FLEW B-29’S IN THE WAR?”


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