Tag Archive: history of aviation


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!

 

I'm pleased to be a new member of the American Aviation Historical Society!

I’m pleased to be a new member of the American Aviation Historical Society!

As I continue to pursue my aviation history interest – which is almost ready to result in a book about Colonel Cloyce Joseph Tippett, I’m very pleased to have found the American Aviation Historical Society – and I’ve joined!

As a member, I’ll receive their quarterly Journal, and newsletter. In this way, I plan to study, follow, and contribute to the history of aviation. My access to Col. C. J. Tippett’s amazing archive of documents, flight logs, memos, letters, photographs, reports, publications, articles, objects, and military correspondence is going to make this membership even more rewarding for everyone… but mostly for me, as I begin to meet people in the industry and who share this interest.

Tip was a great believer in organizations, clubs, and associations. He held membership in all the biggest aviation organizations of his time, including:

The book about Tip’s life as an aviation pioneer is almost ready for release (sign up here for where to find it once it is out), and I am looking forward to further sharing Tip’s experiences by writing articles that expand on the material included in the book. There simply wasn’t space in a single book for all of the details in Tip’s archive, and it is going to enrich our legacy of American aviation history as I have the amazing opportunity to share it.

 

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!

 

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!  

 

 

The Westchester Press and Cloyce Joseph Tippett and The Heath Parasol Airplane

The Health Parasol was a home-built kit plane, and Cloyce Joseph Tippett flew it in 1930 – or tried to fly it. Thank you Wiki for the photo!

Before he flew a Heath Parasol home-built, Cloyce Joseph Tippett learned to fly in a Curtiss JN4 biplane in 1929. He learned from a traveling barnstormer, and by the seat of his pants, which was enough to convince him that aviation was the life for him.

Both the Great Depression, and the fact that he was only sixteen, limited his options of extending his flying ability. He had to take any opportunity that came his way to keep flying.

In 1930, Tip was headed for college and accepted his Aunt’s invitation to stay overnight on the road trip from Port Clinton, Ohio, to Detroit, Michigan.

But when Tip discovered that Aunt Daisy’s husband, Mr. Laberdee, was a mechanic with a garage full of OX5 aircraft engines, the trip to college was put on hold. Tip had his hands on the engines and was getting experience he wouldn’t find in college.

In the back of the shop, Tip found dozens of motorcycle engines that Mr. Laberdee and his fellow flight enthusiasts were putting into Heath Parasol kit planes that they were building in their spare time. It was heaven for Tip, who was considered an experienced pilot among these kit-building mechanics.

Tip’s description of his first Heath Parasol test flight in a Michigan potato field is delightful. In the soon-to-be-available book that he wrote about his flying life, he says “The home-built plane was more agile than the lumbering old Jenny and responsive to the controls. It was quite stable for the short time we were airborne.”

And then he almost crashes when the Henderson engine quits mid-air.

Tip’s perspective of the home-built planes, and the other aircraft within his reach is riveting. He was involved in a time of aviation that is a fascinating side story to mainstream aviation pioneering.

The Heath Parasol was reportedly easy to build and easy to fly, and could be assembled with materials and tools commonly found in 1920s and 30s workshops or garages. When civil aviation became organized enough to require licensing of both pilots and craft, the Heath Parasol was the only kit built aircraft that could be licensed.

The wings were constructed of wooden spars, and the airplane cover was fabric. It was powered by the Henderson motorcycle engine, or equivalent, producing 25 hp and 19kW.

Tip found that the glide path, after that engine quit, was adequate for getting back down to a potato field if required. If you’d like to read more, contact us to sign up for the book release notification. We never share your information, and we have a lot of fun aviation stories!

 

 

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
Powered by WordPress & Web Design Company
Social Media Icons Powered by Acurax Web Design Company