Cleve T. Shaffer

Air Pioneers Honored At San Francisco Meet
(San Francisco News-Call Bulletin
September 8, 1961)

It was undoubtedly one of the last great meetings of one of the world's most exclusive organizations in the world here yesterday.
     A score of the "early birds" who pioneered aviation in this nation were honored at San Francisco's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of California aviation.
     They heard one of the great all-time aviation figures, helicopter and airplane inventor Igor I. Sikorsky, discourse upon his own experiences in his native Russia and in this nation.
     But first they rose to hear brief narrations of their own exploits and accept the plaudits of a capacity audience at a Society of California Pioneers' luncheon at the Sheraton-Palace Hotel.
     National Aeronautics Assn. "Early Bird Plaque" was presented for aviation achievements prior to 1917 to:
     Cleve T. Shaffer was honored for a balloon flight here on Dec. 23, 1907, an aircraft flight in 1930, for the operation of an airplane factory here, 1910-11, for the founding of the first Aero Club in 1910 and for co-founding the first national air reserve in 1910.

  Cleve T. Shaffer, an inventor and somewhat of a prophet, who saw into the future but did not always profit by it, died on October 27, 1964, six weeks before his 80th birthday. He lived at the Fontana Apartments luxurious tower in San Francisco and he developed "Tai Shan", his country estate near Los Gatos, California, into an astonishing showplace.
     He was recognized by "Janes Airships", the authoritative British journal, as the leading aviation figure in the United states in 1911.
     He foresaw the tank, the bazooka, and the moving sidewalk, though he failed to win fame from any of them.
     Mr. Shaffer concentrated on the airplane and the rocket. He made his first solo flight in a glider under the instruction of Professor Montgomery, on December 23, 1907, and his first solo flight in an airplane, on December 17, 1910, at Palo Alto, Calif., in a field near the Bay. He was a member of many organizations. He was one of the first five members of the International Planetary Society, honorary President of the San Francisco Soaring Society and founder of the National Tank Defense League. He wrote a book "The Idiot Hope In The Night" and he had two exhibits in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C.
     Surviving him is his sister Mrs. John C. Parsons of San Francisco.

From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP, December 1964, Number 71

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