HAT TRICK: A CLEVELAND ("POP"), IN
WORKING FOR CLEVELAND (PNEUMATIC
E.W. Cleveland was born in Naples, NY on November 5, 1889
(some sources give 1890 as the year). He was a decade or
so older than the cohort of pilots who passed through Tucson,
therefore the nickname "Pop." He was a part of
the stuff and lore of general aviation during the Golden Age: air
races; air tours; flying businessman; aviation event official;
a real booster of the art.
He learned to fly in 1911 at Glenn Curtiss' facility at
Hammondsport, NY. During WWI he was a civilian instructor
for the U.S. Army at Rantoul and Ellington Fields.
After leaving the Army, he barnstormed throughout the country
from 1919-23. He took a job from 1923-27 as manager of the
Mayer Aircraft Company in Pittsburgh, PA. He managed the
He is particularly
well known for his activities during the National Air Races (NAR),
the Ford Reliability Tours, and as a flying salesman for
the Cleveland Pneumatic Tool Company, Cleveland, OH. He went
to work for Cleveland Pneumatic in 1927.
Cleveland Pneumatic was one of the first companies
to embrace aviation as a business tool. "Pop" was instrumental,
beginning in 1927, in making that so. The company first bought
a Waco, which Cleveland flew in the Reliability Tour of 1927.
He placed 12th.
Then the company bought a Ryan B-1 Brougham, NC1159, with
a Wright J-5C engine. He flew to Tucson twice in that airplane,
on July 10th and September 20, 1928.
On July 10, he was involved in the Ford
Reliability Tour for 1928, westbound from El Paso, TX, he
carried three passengers, J.F. Wallace, Robert Nesbit and a Mr. Sagel, a member of the Cleveland
Press. They placed 20th. It is unclear what he was doing
a couple of months later on September 20th, when he visited
Tucson with L.H. Burr and J.F. Wallace (again) as passengers. They
were eastbound from San
Diego to Cleveland, OH.
He also landed earlier as a passenger in 1927. It's a long-shot guess, but we might have seen NC1159 landing at Tucson as a new airplane with J.F. Wallace as pilot and Cleveland as passenger. They brought a Ryan "M1" through Tucson Thursday, September 8, 1927. They did not identify it by registration number. They were eastbound from San Diego, CA to Cleveland. The NAR that year was held at Spokane, WA from September 21-27, so this was well before the races, and they might have had enough time to reach New York, turn the airplane around, and fly back west again to Spokane in the Class "A" event.
Beginning in 1933, he was a member of the Institute of
Aeronautical Sciences. This PDF file shows the application
paperwork for his induction in 1933, and for his advancement
in grade in 1952. This vignette into his professional life
is even more interesting, because, as you'll notice at the
bottom of pages 1 and 4, the paperwork was signed by his
good friend Jimmy Doolittle (who signed our Register on October
His work with Cleveland Pneumatic spanned 1927-1952. He
reached every corner of the country by air on behalf of his
sales obligations with the company. He rose to VP and Director
of the company, and along the way accumulated 10,000 flight
hours. Below, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr Stream (SDAM), is an undated photograph of Cleveland.
E.W. Cleveland, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)
On August 6, 1952, during a combined business/pleasure flight
in the Pacific Northwest, Cleveland, his wife and his secretary
were killed instantly when the Beech Bonanza he was piloting
struck the base of Mt. Baldy southeast of Seattle, WA. There
was heavy fog.
The color photograph, below, is shared with us courtesy of site visitor Dale Endle. His aunt, Anna Belle Elmslie, was Cleveland's secretary who lost her life in the fatal crash at Seattle. "Cleveland Pneumatic Tool Co." is painted on the fuselage of this Beech Staggerwing, as is what looks like the airplane's name, "Miss Aerol Struts".
E.W. "Pop" Cleveland With Beech Staggerwing, Date Unknown (Source: Ende)
Mr. Endle recalls his visit with Cleveland, "I was only about 8 years old when I met "Pop" (circa 1949-50) on a visit to my aunt's office. She took me to his office where he was sitting - model planes everywhere - he gave me two (Saber Jet and commercial plane). It was several years after that when they perished."
The advertisement, below, from Aero Digest, December, 1930
shows Cleveland standing next to a Travel Air. The registration
number of his airplane is not clear, but the first numeral is "5". The airplane is painted
in the livery of the Cleveland Pneumatic Tool Company, including
"AEROL STRUTS" writ large on the bottom of the
wing. Another, smaller, example of Cleveland advertising
can be seen on Ruth Nichols' page.
This ad is for Heywood starters, and uses the reputation
of Cleveland as a "starter" for the National Air
Races to sell them. I wonder what he and his company were
paid for this endorsement.
Cleveland had a presence at Parks Airport and Pitcairn Field as well.
UPLOADED: 03/22/06 REVISED: 04/20/06, 12/20/11