Class of 1913, June-July, Glenn H. Curtiss in front of engine.
Back row, standing; 1. F. D. Lawrence; 2. Frank Thalman; 3. Mohan Singh; 4. J.L. "Lanny" Callan, instructor; 5. Francis "Doc" Wildman ; 6. John Van Vleet, instructor; 7. Frank Auckerman; 8. Leon Englehardt; 9. Steve MacGordon.
Seated, middle row: 1. L. Sperry; 2. Z.T. Barns; 3. M. Bates; 4. Leon "Windy" Smith; 5. Fred S. Gostenhofer; 6. H. Figelmessy;
Front row, seated: Charles C. Witmer, Ray Morris, Leon "Windy" Smith, J.A.D. "Jack" McCurdy, naval constructor, H.C. Richardson, Lt. Bellinger, John D. Cooper
       Editor's Note: This picture and legend can be found in the AAHS Journal, American Aviation Historical Society, Volume 29, Number 3, Fall 1984. It is one of many interesting pictures which serve to illustrate the extensive article about Jack Vilas, "Jack Vilas' 1913 Aerial Yacht', by Merrill Stickler. The picture is credited as a Curtiss Museum Photo. If you can find a copy of the journal and are interested in pursuing the story of Vilas and the other aviators in the Class of 1913, I heartily recommend it to you.
You can visit the webpage of the AAHS by clicking on:"
American Aviation Historical Journal.


Courtesy of Tim M. Jacobs
     Leon D. (Windy) Smith of Pine City was one of Chemung County's more picturesque men, one of the original mail pilots and veteran of the barnstorming era. He died at the age of 70 in 1960.
     His flying career started when he graduated in 1913 from Curtiss' Aviation School in Hammondsport. Earlier he had been a football player at Cook Academy. In World War I, Windy instructed pilots at Chanute Field, Chicago, Ill., and Park Field, Tenn. After the war he joined the airmail service. On the morning of December 18, 1918, he left Belmont Park, L.I., in the first flight of what was to become regular daily mail service between New York and Chicago. Smith's destination was Bellefonte, Pa., where another plane took the mail to cleveland. A third plane carried it to..............

     If you search for "Leon (Windy) Smith", using the Google search engine, (11-18-04), you will find about six links. Perhaps the most helpful are the following.
Tri-County Obituaries and Newspaper Clippings
     This page on the Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice, Tri-Counties Newspaper Clippings, offers a very nice biography of Windy written by Thomas E. Byrne. This is an especially valuable source of some detailed notes on his life and career. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.
Fad to Fundamental: Airmail in America
     This page on the Smithsonian National Postal Museum website offers a very nice revue of Windy's career in the Postal Service. You will find some detailed and interesting stories of his experiences as one of the pioneers of the Air Mail Service. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.
     If time permits, I heartily recommend that you go to the homepage of the site and take advantage of some of the other features which are available. Of special interest is the exhibit of the Pich's Collection: "Explore Cuba's postal and aviation history in an online exhibition of the Roberto Pichs collection."

Windy died at the age of 70 in 1960.
Courtesy of Tim M. Jacobs
Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Flier
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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