James D. Hill, Pilot
Collection of Walter E. Lees
James D. Hill, 1928
Collection of Lester Bishop
     J. D. Hill, fourth of the pilots, entered aviation with Glenn Curtiss in 1912, and was one of his first pilots. He has flown continuously ever since, with the record of never having damaged a plane or injured a passenger. In 1916, he was appointed civilian instructor by the government, and was in charge of the St. Charles School and Scott Field. He has flown in every known variety of plane, not only American, but all foreign makes. At one time, he was the holder of the air record between Buffalo and New York, a distance of 440 miles, made in 3 hours and 20 minutes. It is Hill whose airy ramblings total seven times the girth of the globe.
From The Challenging Skies by C. R. Roseberry,
Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966

     If you search for "James DeWitt Hill", using the Google search engine, (12-23-04), you will find about 18 links. Many of them are well worth visiting.l

James DeWitt Hill: Scottdale's Aviation Pioneer
by Mary Ann Mogus
From the Westmoreland County Historical Society Journal
     This page, which is found on the Air Mail Pioneers website of Nancy Allison Wright, offers perhaps the most complete, definitive story of his life and career available online. You can access that page by clicking on the title above.
     If time permits, I heartily recommend that you take advantage of the many other features which Nancy has made available on her website.

J. D. Hill Portraits
     This page offers an especially beautiful photograph of Hill. It also includes a photo of his memorial plaque and a concise biography. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

  Farman Sport  
A Pictorial and Spoken History of the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport
and Aviation in Western Pennsylvania
ISBN: 1-885851-17-0

Biographies of the Pioneers: (Charles B. "Charlie" Carroll,
James DeWitt Hill, Carl Strickler, Raymond "Pappy" Elder, Lloyd Santmyer, Clyde Hauger, Dave Patterson, Lou Strickler, Russ Brinkley, Frank Fox, Joe Reedy, Earl Metzler, George Allen, Elmer Ashbaugh, Clifford Ball, D. Barr Peat, Ken Scholter, Dr Lytle Adams.
Airports: Longview Flying Field, J.D. Hill Airport, Latrobe Municipal Airport, Latrobe-Westmoreland Airport, Westmoreland County Airport, Bettis Field (Mckeesport, PA), Rodgers Field (Aspinwall, PA), Pittsburgh-Greensburg Airport.
Events: All American Aviation Air Mail Pick-Up, Path of Eagle, Pennsylvania Airlines, Pennsylvania Central Airlines, Founding of the OX5 Pioneers of America.
Format:250 Pages, 8x11, gloss paper, Smythe Bound. 390 Rare photos and documents. Scores of news items spanning ninety years of aviation history.
This website offers two Microsoft Power Point slide shows.
Prepared by Richard Wissolik

1. Lytle Adams, Air Mail Pickup System (25 slides)
2. Early Days, Planes, Pioneers, Barnstormers, Promoters (39 slides)
To visit the site, just click on: Place in the Sky
For imformation, send e-mail to Richard Wissolik

  Old Glory  
     The Fokker F.VIIA "Old Glory" that James DeWitt Hill and Lloyd Bertaud used for their attempted transatlantic flight. A note on the back of the photo indicates that it was taken the day before their flight, which occurred on September 6, 1927.
Photo & legend courtesy of Roy Nagl, 12-22-04
September 6.  James D. Hill was lost at sea during an attempt to cross the Atlantic from Old Orchard, Maine to Rome. The flight had been drummed up as a promotion stunt for William Randolph Hearst's New York Daily Mirror. The plane was a one-engined Fokker, the Old Glory. The pilot, Lloyd Bertaud, had brought Hill along to act as navigator, he having been a fellow airmail pilot

  Old Glory  
Old Orchard Beach
Here is a photo that you might enjoy, from my grandfather's collection:
Vintage Aircraft Photos
Photographs by Luther C. Leavitt, Jr.
     My grandfather was fifteen years old in 1927, and quite an aviation buff. He lived in Framingham MA, and he apparently spent much of his time at the airfield there. I do not know where the photo of "Old Glory" was taken.
      My grandfather's family spent vacation time in Maine in the summer, so it is possible that the photo was taken at Old Orchard Beach. However, the negative is not an original. So he may not have taken the photo himself.
I think that my grandfather probably did not take the "Old Glory" photo, mainly because he was a better photographer! I do not think that he would have chopped off the tail. But he must have known the photographer, because he was able to make a copy of the negative. I have the original negative for the autogyro and the other photos that my grandfather took.
Take care,
Mark Gendron, 6-23-06
via email from Dan Blaney, 11-19-06
Hi Ralph,
     The photo of Old Glory is at Old Orchard Beach. There are many photos of her here. The four square house in the background, is still standing there today.

  Old Glory  
Collection of Bob Francella, 6-25-08

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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