|Charles M. Shoemaker, Early Bird, as he appeared in the passport photo attached to his 1912 flying license at the right.||
Callan, Clark, Dunlap, Takeshi - May, 1912
US Naval Historical Center, collections of T.G. Ellyson and J. L. Callan
From WALDO: Pioneer Aviator
courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir
'New Fangled Stuff In the Flying World'
Early Bird Who Flies No More Finds It's Pretty Soft for the Fliers of 1937
By GERALD CROWLEY
Times Staff Writer
Glenn H. Curtiss,
Ever hear of them? Pull your streamlined chair over this way, folks. Yeah, I know you'll start talking Lindbergh and Hawks and Earhart and Williams. That's okay by me. But listen!-- And Charles (Charlie) Shoemaker, Olean Early Bird--one of the men who first beat the air with wings, slips into high gear about his favorite subject.
"I'm just a kid kicking around back in 1916 when I see one of thoes old pusher type planes flying. I'm bit immediately, if not sooner. First thing I know I'm sitting out in front of one of those babies with the wind streaming in my face and scared stiff.
"It's on the west coast. We're flying on North Island. North Island now is a naval training base. I work hard for three months. And I think as much of that license I won then as I do of my right arm."
Tail of a Kite
Mr. Shoemaker proudly fingers the leather-bound credentials given him by the Aero Club of America, recognized by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale as the governing authority for the United States. The card bears license number 93, which got him under the wire seven ahead of the first hundred licensed fliers in the country.
"This new-fangled stuff is a cinch. Soft cushions and control and two-way radio. Great stuff--but in those days if you could get a two-way look you were lucky. Not that I'm knocking present day flying."
"On the contrary, I think the men who are at the controls of planes today are so far ahead of those days there's no comparison. A point I make though is this--aviation has bounded ahead from the days of the old pushers to the present luxury liners of the air."
"The type of man who sits at the controls is a trained type. He is a flying machine himself. And he has a co-pilot, if he doesn't function right."
"I like flying. Always will. I haven't flown myself in several years. Last big trip; I made was with the other Early Birds in the country who were invited by American Airlines to fly to New York to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first air mail line last September."
Mr. Shoemaker follows closely the progress of aviation. Believes firmly in its great future, theorizes ship;s in the not-too-far-off will be as different from today's are from yesterday's.
He concurs with the aviation prophet who recently predicted the plane of the future will te tailess and will carry scores of passengers on long-time flights.
He feels the oceans will be conquered easily. And that weather conditions will lose their grip on consistency of flight.
He sweeps back into the old days with a sigh.
"I'm sitting here telling all about this stuff but I won't ever forget how close I came to not doing it. When I decided to quit the West Coast in 1912, I turned over my flying contract with Rutherford Page in Los Angeles."
"A few days later I pick up a paper and read where Page is killed racing Lincoln Beachey. Yeah, I'm an early bird all right, but I often thank my stars I wasn't too early."
From The Early Birds of Aviation
Roster of Members
January 1, 1993
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