Tag Archive: early aviation


Tom Berto creates aviation paintings, both beautiful and accurate.

Tom Berto creates aviation paintings, both beautiful and accurate.

There is an added dimension to the history of aviation, a thread that runs throughout stories of aviation pioneering. It is passion.

Colonel C. J. Tippett’s passion was for flight, and for aviation safety. While he admired the planes, he was enraptured by the process of flying. I can’t tell which aircraft as his favorite, although I’d guess it was the Beechcraft C-45.

And that admiration was not left behind as time, and technology, moved forward. Restoration, study, photography, modeling… and artwork, all keep the aircraft flying in our present day imaginations. Often, tangibly.

Tom Berto’s passion is for the aircraft themselves. The individual ships, or the models and types, and he expresses it through his art. His aviation paintings bring the aircraft back to life with exquisitely accurately detail.

Tom writes:

“I started painting in the late 70’s.  It was a natural offshoot of modeling – I already had the paints, thinner, X-acto knives, brushes, airbrush, and compressor.   In addition, I had developed airbrush and masking skills that are fundamental to making paintings.   Paintings are obviously different from plastic models, but they have some technical processes in common.  With “Mustang”, which I finished this year, the subjects matched, too.   Here’s the what, why, and how of “Mustang”.

The performance, looks, and positive historic roles of the Mustang and Spitfire have made them my favorite airplanes for as long as I can remember.   The range and performance of the P-51 gave the pilots of the 8th Air Force the bomber escort they needed to break the back of the Luftwaffe in early 1944.  This hastened the end of the most horrible war in human history.  My painting is based very closely on a WWII USAF black & white photograph of a P-51. The subject is “Tika IV”, flown by Vernon R Richards, an ace pilot of the 374th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, 8th Air Force.  The photo shows off the wing planform and radiator scoop of the P-51, as well as the elegant drop tanks and four-blade propeller churning out power. The black/white invasion stripes have historic and moral significance as a symbol of the liberation of Europe from Hitler and his Nazis – as well as being a striking graphic element.  The clouds and receding fields of the background help convey the height and space of the scene.  There is also some “abstraction” to the image, in that the canopy is not visible – very unusual for aircraft photos!   It’s a unique, spectacular, and beautiful photo – a great starting point for a painting…… read more about Tom’s process…”

Tom’s articles, on www.modelingmadness.com, step through the process of creating two of his paintings.   They are symphonies of specialized knowledge, vision, historical perspective, and then there’s the paintings themselves: “Hurry Home Honey” and “Mustang”

I was already fascinated by Tom’s landscapes and flowers, and now I am an even bigger fan of his aviation paintings. Visit Tom’s site to see all of his paintings, including the B-17G, “Floogie Boo and Little Friends”.

 

Colonel C. J. Tippett and Bob Hope in the early 1980s.

Colonel C. J. Tippett and Bob Hope in the early 1980s.

It’s true; Bob Hope met my grandfather, Colonel Cloyce Joseph Tippett.

My grandfather, Tip, was the Civil Aeronautics Authority’s pilot of the only government owned DC-3 in the country and Bob Hope needed a ride. For his whole band.

The story, which took place on May 15th, 1942, is delightfully told in Tip’s memoir, When No One Else Would Fly,  soon to be available on Amazon.com.

Bob Hope was touring to entertain the troops, and the DC-3 was the only available aircraft big enough to take them all to their next stop. Tip and Bob stayed in touch and became good friends. By the 1980s, Tip was hosting aviation related diplomatic functions, and Bob Hope would attend whenever possible.

At the time of their first flight together, each man was actively pursuing the activity that would define their lives.

Bob Hope was famous not only for his performances in movies, radio, television, and on the stage, but also for his dedication to the United Serivce Organizations (USO).

Colonel Tippett was famous for his civil aviation accomplishments and directorship in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Contact us to be notified when the book is made available or check back soon. It is in final draft and the Bob Hope story is one of the best in the entire book… it was a good thing that Bob had a good sense of humor!

 

Col. C. J. Tippett at his ICAO desk in 1956. His window looks out over Limatambo Airport, in Lima, Peru.

Col. C. J. Tippett at his ICAO desk in 1956. His window looks out over Limatambo Airport, in Lima, Peru.

The International Civil Aviation Organization was formed in 1947 by the United Nations to standardize civil aviation worldwide, primarily for increased safety. In most books about aviation history, or the history of planes, there are few details about how ICAO achieved that mission.

Col. C. J. Tippett was the first Director of the South American Office of ICAO. He had already made great progress standardizing civil aviation in South America, primarily by increasing safety. As he performed his daily work, he knew that he was contributing to the history of aviation, and he kept things. He built an archive.

One of the many fascinating things about Tip’s document archive are the letters, memos, and reports that describe his daily civil aviation work. This letter, written on March 13, 1956, to his air force reserve commander, is one of those details.

(In a previous post, I included the final paragraph, deleted here, which talks about being at the Cabo Blanco Fishing Club during an exciting fishing day.)

The letter, along with some background information gleaned from other documents, gives us an inside look at the workings of ICAO in 1956.

“To Col. Samuel Galbreath,
Director, Operations Headquarters
Caribbean Air Command
Albrook AFB, Panama CZ 

Dear Sam,

I had expected to be up to see you before this but we’ve been overwhelmed by work. We’ve just completed drafting plans for the new communications system for Peru as well as a SAR unit (search and rescue) and ATC procedures (air traffic control). Everyone got the fright of their lives here a week or so ago with a couple of near air collisions between jets and the commercial carriers. Anyway, I’ve been working for CairC through the mission whether you were aware of it or not.

I’m wondering if you are planning to attend the Caribbean Regional Air Navigation meeting at Ciudad Trujillo commencing April 3rd and continuing for about three weeks. I plan to attend for only a few days and I thought perhaps you might be able to go along. It’s a real important meeting for CairC. I plan to come to Panama on an official ICAO mission (and some active duty I hope) arriving about the 7th of next month leaving for Ciudad Truijillo via Miami about the 12th. I can make my schedule very fluid so if you can go we could leave anytime. How’s about setting up a T-bird!  

Hoping to see you soon, best wishes,

CJ Tippett
3 13 1956 ”

The near air collisions that Tip refers to were the result of a new military technology, jet aircraft, crossing paths with established commercial traffic. Tip had already successfully standardized a language for international aviation. He was directly involved in getting South American countries to agree to use English in air traffic communications. He was now working on standardized altitudes for routes in and out of airports throughout his region. But military jets were often using the same airports as the commercial air liners, and their altitude needs were very different.

The speeds that jet aircraft could achieve and sustain threw a loop in air traffic patterns. Several commercial pilots had to unexpectedly change course to avoid jets that were flying any way the pilot chose.  To prevent a mid-air collision, Tip had to develop air traffic procedures not only for multiple civil governments and military installations, but now also for aircraft with hugely different capabilities.

ICAO headquarters had mandated that the worldwide offices focus on solving the safety issue posed by jet aircraft immediately. Tip complied by going to Albrook Air Force Base in the Canal Zone, Panama, and becoming certified in the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. It was his is first jet aircraft certification.

More details and stories of his flights in the T-bird are in the book, When No One Else Would Fly. Tip’s first person account, surrounded and supported by history and research will be available very soon. Sign up here to get the book release announcement – we never sell contact information and we don’t hammer our list with spam of our own.

 

General Hap Arnold met Col. C. J. Tippett

General Henry H. Arnold was Col. C. J. Tippett’s commanding officer, and pleased with Tip’s work with the CAA in Brazil, as well as his new special pen.

General Hap Arnold was also an aviation pioneer. He was one of America’s first pilots, literally. He learned to fly from the Wright brothers and was one of the first American military pilots. He was Chief of the Air Corps and then Commanding General of the US Army Air Forces – leading aviation before, through, and after World War II.

General Arnold was 58 years old on December 20th, 1944, when he wrote a letter to my grandfather, Mr. C. J. Tippett, of the CAA Mission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

General Arnold was already one of Tip’s commanding officers, but since Tip was in a civilian post in Brazil at the time, he omitted Tip’s military salutation.

At the State Department’s request, Tip was using civil aviation to improve diplomatic relations between Brazil and America,  and General Arnold was pleased with Tip’s progress, and “… the way the Air Forces and the CAA are working together in Brazil… ”

General Arnold was also pleased with the novelty pen Tip had sent. He wrote: “I still haven’t tried using it under water, as I’m not quite sure of the best method to test this rather “unique” quality.”

How Tip came to be in a position to gift General Hap Arnold with a “Super Stratopen” is deep within the greater story of Col. C. J. Tippett’s aviation life.

Tip moved between his civilian and military roles with a flexibility that was ideally suited to this time in history – a time of political strategy and influence. His skills were useful to both the state department, and to the air force. Tip’s work in Brazil, which came to Hap Arnold’s attention in a series of Army Air Force memos, would lay the foundations for his future work in South America.

Tip would meet General Arnold again, within three years of receiving the letter, when the “The Chief” was facing a South American issue that only Tip could solve….

The book will soon be ready for release. Please contact me to be added to the release list!

 

Col C. J. Tippett flew the Sikorsky OA8

Col. C. J. Tippett flew the Sikorsky OA-8 on February 14th, 1939… on his 26th birthday!

Cloyce Joseph Tippett was born on February 14th, 1913.

Twenty-six years later, on February 14th, 1939, he was at Kelly Field, Texas, flying a Sikorsky OA-8, also known as a JRS-1 or S-43.

Flying at Kelly Field was an accomplishment Tip had been trying to achieve since he was 16, flying his own Jenny biplane in the fields of Port Clinton, Ohio.

The amphibious twin-engine Sikorsky “Clipper” was only one of the many aircraft Tip learned to fly, at Kelly Field, and afterwards. This was a passenger craft and could hold up to 25 people in addition to the crew. Tip was learning every aspect of aviation, including navigation and communications.

Amphibious aircraft enjoyed the extended landing and take-off options afforded by waterways, but there were techniques specific to using those waterways that Tip had to master. Calm water was one thing, but any chop or waves presented a unique set of problems.

The extraordinary detail of Tip’s life as an aviation pioneer, described in the soon-to-be-released book “When No-One Else Would Fly”, was made possible by the flight logs and other documents that Tip carefully preserved throughout his life and travels.

Tip’s birthday flight in 1939 at Kelly Field, Texas was recorded in his flight log, along with every other flight he took as he studied with the US Army Air Corps. His descriptions of those times are a delightful read, and the book is almost ready!

 

Col. C. J. Tippett and the Beechcraft C45

The Beechcraft C-45, similar to the model pictured here, was Tip’s favorite twin-engine aircraft. He flew some amazing flights in it, and one of them is the inspiration for the book’s title.

The current leader for the idea of a title for my grandfather’s aviation biography is “When No-One Else Would Fly.”

It comes from a letter written to Col. C. J. Tippett by Dr. Gene B. Starkloff about a life-saving flight that Tip made in 1945.

Tip was living and working in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with his wife (my grandmother) and children. He had recently returned from flying a new Beechcraft C-45 from Washington DC to Rio on behalf of the US Government – the flight itself an amazing feat in that time in aviation history.

The Beechcraft was a gift, expanding the civil aviation mission in Brazil to twin-engine capability.

Dr. Starkloff was the Army Navy doctor assigned to the South Atlantic Command Headquarters in Rio, and on a dark and stormy night in June, he had received a desperate message from the American embassy in Paraguay. American personnel had been stricken with a wicked illness. They feared that it was polio, and several of the victims were children.

Dr. Starkloff needed both a pilot and a plane to fly him and his heavy load of equipment to Asuncion. There was hope if treatment could be applied soon, and Dr. Starkloff was the only doctor within reach who could deal with polio. But weather had grounded all flights; commercial, military, or private. The conditions were impossible, and the doctor could find no pilot willing to try.

The full story of Tip’s “flight of mercy” is beautifully detailed, in Tip’s own words, in the soon-to-be-released book. It is only one of the many record-setting flights that Tip made in the Beechcraft C-45 between 1945 and the 1950s.

Dr. Starkloff was able to help the children, and he credits Tip with extraordinary courage. He wrote: “We were the only airplane in or out of Rio de Janeiro that week… I will never forget that trip that you volunteered to fly – when no-one else would…”

“When No-One Else Would Fly” will soon join our cultural library of aviation history, and describe Tip’s life as an aviation pioneer.

Cloyce Joseph Tippett and The Westchester Press

What was Cloyce Joseph Tippett doing on January 11th, 1935? And who else was doing something remarkable just ten miles away on the same day? Aviation pioneer enthusiasts want to know!

(I was going to release this post right ON January 11th, but the system missed the post. So instead, let’s pretend today is January 11th.)

On January 11th, 1935, Cloyce Joeseph Tippett was doing something interesting.

Tip was 22 years old, in the Army, stationed at Luke Field, Hawaii, trying to get into the cockpit of just about anything that would fly – and on his way to becoming a legendary aviation pioneer.

As a private at the HQ detachment, 5th composite group, Luke Field TH (Territory of Hawai’i – because Hawai’i was not yet a state in 1935 – and they spell their state name like that, both now, and then… plus that’s how the military spelled it in 1935), Tip was busy doing KP and cigarette-butt detail, and studying hard.

In addition to night courses at the University of Hawai’i, Tip successfully completed a course titled “Military Law – The Law of Military Offenses” as well as “Military Sanitation and First Aid.”

He was making progress.

On the same day, less than ten miles away at Wheeler Field, another legendary aviation pioneer was taking off on a record-setting flight.

Amelia Earhart climbed into her Lockheed Vega and took off to begin the first successful solo trans-Pacific crossing. Not just the first solo crossing by a woman, but the first ever.

It was success all round at Pearl Harbor on January 11th, 1935.

Tip’s memoir is full of soaring stories like these, and more, and is coming soon!  

 

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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