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There is no biographical file for pilot Blaufuss in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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WILLIAM BARWIG BLAUFUSS

William Barwig Blaufuss was born December 15, 1898 in Illinois. He appears four times in the Tucson Register. He flew the Keystone bomber (see below) and mostly unidentified Douglas aircraft.

The 1900 U.S. Census, his first, placed him at age one living with his parents in Chicago, IL. His father, William, age 41, was identified as a "Pressman." His mother (age 38) was Olga. He had an older brother, Walter (16) who was identified as a "Musician." An older sister, Meta (13) was "At School."

In the 1910 Census, William (11) and his family lived at 2153 Flournoy St. in Chicago, just northwest of what is now the Illinois Medical District. His father was still a "Printing Pressman" and brother Walter worked for an orchestra at age 26. By 1920, his older sister and brother had moved away and William (21) lived with his father and mother and was unemployed (but probably in school).

W.B. Blaufuss in U.S. Army Retired List, Ca. Late 1930s (Source: Web)
W.B. Blaufuss in U.S. Army Retired List, Ca. Late 1930s (Source: Web)

 

Blaufuss was a 1924 graduate mechanical engineer from the Armour Institute of Technology (Chicago), now IIT. At right is his military record from the U.S. Army retired list, ca. late 1930s. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1917, achieved the rank of 2nd lieutenant and was honorably discharged in 1919. He rejoined the Air Corps as a flying cadet in 1926 and graduated the Air Corps primary and advanced flying schools in 1927. 

The 1930 Census found Blaufuss living in Riverside, CA in a $30 per month rented home 2040 Blenheim St. He was cited as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He had married about three years earlier to Ruth I. (24). They had an 8-year-old daughter living with them, who appeared to be Ruth's by an earlier marriage. The Census form identified the age of her first marriage as 15. A city directory for Riverside dated 1930 corroborated his address and his wife's name.

He became a 1st lieutenant in November 1933 and retired in July, 1934 with a disability in the line of duty. In 1938 the House of Representatives passed a private relief bill, to reinstate him from retired status to active service as a first lieutenant, but it died for want of the President's signature.  

When he flew as a lieutenant for the Army Air Corps, among other craft he flew the Keystone LB-5A bomber. Indeed, at his first landing at Tucson, Friday, September 7, 1928 1:30PM, he flew an unidentified Keystone as part of a flight of nine. The arrival of the Keystone bombers at Tucson was captured in a motion picture film exhibited at the link. Based at Hampton, VA, Langley Field, Blaufuss carried two passengers, corporal Siebert and sergeant Simms. They arrived at Tucson from Langley Field, remained overnight, and departed the next day back to Los Angeles. Blaufuss wrote in the remarks column of the Register "Hot place!"

The reason for the flight which stopped at Tucson was explained in the Air Corps Newsletter of September 13, 1928 as follows. All nine bombers are visible in the film.

Air Corps Newsletter, September 15, 1928 (Source: Webmaster)
Air Corps Newsletter, September 15, 1928 (Source: Webmaster)

They did arrive in time for the National Air Races (NAR), and were documented in the same Air Corps Newsletter as follows (this is the first page of a 5-page article in the Newsletter describing the military contributions to the NAR. The flight of the "Dealers in death and destruction" flown by Blaufuss, et al, is described in the last paragraph.

Air Corps Newsletter, September 15, 1928 (Source: Webmaster)
Air Corps Newsletter, September 15, 1928 (Source: Webmaster)

Blaufuss was based at March Field for a time and also flew Douglas aircraft. He flew the Douglas O-32A, 30-217 and landed at Tucson, Wednesday, June 18, 1930 at 1:45PM. He carried lieutenant F.J. Lauer. Based at Riverside, CA (where March Field is located to this day), they arrived from Yuma, AZ. They remained on the ground for 45 minutes and continued eastward to El Paso, TX. According to Joe Baugher's site, 30-217 was wrecked on takeoff from Menard, TX, September 25, 1935. He flew two other, unidentified Douglas airplanes, plying the skies between the west coast and west Texas and beyond between 1928 and 1932.

In 1934 he left the military and went to work as a pilot for a phosphate company in Trona, CA. The 1940 Census placed him at age 41 living in Los Angeles with what appears to be his second wife, Helen M. (age 29) and their year-old son, William A. I could find no divorce information for him and first wife Ruth, and no marriage information for him and Helen. The Census form did place him in 1935 living in Trona, CA. Blaufuss did land once at Clover Field, Santa Monica, CA while living in Trona. Please direct your browser to the link for information about that landing.

In 1944 Blaufuss moved from Los Angeles to Hartford, CT where he worked as an engineer for Pratt & Whitney. Blaufuss traveled a lot during 1947-48 from his home base in Connecticut. He traveled from Miami, FL to Puerto Rico on January 22, and on February 26, 1947. He flew the first trip on Pan American NC88901, a Douglas DC-4. His second flight was on Pan American NC88939, a Douglas C54B-DC manufactured in 1944. Neither of these aircraft are registered today. Interestingly, the records at ancestry.com capture his return from San Juan to La Guardia Airport on January 25th. Likewise, his return from Buenos Aires, Argentina was cited on March 28, 1947. His address was given as 54 Coburn Rd., Manchester, CT.

On May 19, 1948 he departed Honolulu, T.H. for Sydney, Australia aboard Pan American NC88958, a Douglas C54-DC. He traveled to Hawaii May 12, 1958. He gave his address as Encino, CA. Although he was identified as married, on none of these flights was he traveling with his wife. No purpose was cited on the immigration forms for any of his trips.

Blaufuss flew West on December 4, 1981 in Placerville, CA.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/01/16 REVISED:

 
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