In the summer of 1929, at age 16, Tip saw his first barnstormer land in a field in Ohio. He was captured, enraptured, with flight from that day on. Like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, Tip learned to fly in the plane that landed in his hometown. Unlike them, he lived his life of record-setting aviation accomplishment away from public attention. He pursued his American dream in classic American fashion, with hard work and by being willing when opportunities arrived.
Tip grew up in a working class family during the Great Depression. He became an instructor within the civil aviation movement, was involved in the early days of the Flying Tigers, and taught the Tuskegee Airmen what they needed to pass their pilot certification tests. He was accused of spying on South American governments during WWII while working to establish civil aviation standards, but didn’t let it interfere with his reports back to his Embassy contacts. Tip flew the first helicopters in commercial applications and in doing so, established many of the first helicopter records.
He collected celebrities of the era as easily as he logged flight hours. His friendships with leading actors, military representatives, and South American elite brought glamour to his already high-flying lifestyle. Traveling from Washington DC to South America for the United Nations, the Civil Aviation Administration, and the US Air Force (Army Air Corp), Tip made extraordinary record-setting flights over the Amazon Jungle in conditions and aircraft that would make headlines even today.
For a non-famous person, Colonel Cloyce Joseph Tippett touched so many famous people and events that reading his story is like taking a walk through history from the point of view of a single man with a single purpose: to fly – as far and as long as he possibly could.