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This information comes from the biographical file for pilot Culver, CC-817500-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.

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Your copy of the "Davis-Monthan Airfield Register" with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.

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"Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936" is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.

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CLARENCE CURTIS CULVER

"Romeo" "Alpha" "Delta" "India" "Oscar":

The Man Who Enabled "Roger" and "Wilco"

An "Action" Shot of C.C. Culver!
C.C. Culver in the Water

Clarence Curtis Culver was born in Milford, NB December 25, 1872. He signed the Davis-Monthan Register three times between 1929 and 1932. He was one of the oldest military pilots to land at Tucson. At the date of his last signing, in 1932, he would be nearing 60 years old.

Clarence C. Culver, Date & Location Unknown (Source: LOC)
Clarence C. Culver, Date & Location Unknown (Source: LOC)

 

Regardless of his age, he was one of the early prolific contributors to the fundamental concepts and technologies of aviation radio communications. He attended the University of Nebraska and graduated in 1898 with a degree in electrical engineering. This is what set him up for his military achievements with air-to-air and air-to-ground communications. See this link for another action image of C.C. Culver in this regard.

Image, right, is from the Library of Congress (LOC). It shows Culver, date and location unidentified, with earphones in his helmet and a chest-mounted microphone around his neck. Note the wire looped past his left knee. I was unable to come up with an identification of the airplane behind him, and I saw no obvious antenna arrays attached to it for radio reception or transmission.

At the University, he was in charge of the University Weather Station as well as the electrical service system. The weather station at the time was important in providing farmers with weather information, not aviators. After college he joined the military and served in the 3rd Cavalry during the Spanish American War. He became a 2nd lieutenant in 1901 and served in the U.S. and Philippines. He entered the Signal Corps in 1907 and remained until 1911.

He began experiments in 1910 with airplane wireless communications. He personally designed and built the receiving apparatus used for these experiments, which resulted in successful air-to-ground transmission of code. In October 1910 he proposed the feasibility of developing airplane radio telephone and voice-commanded flying. The experiments continued.

During 1915-16 he accomplished long distance radio transmission from airplanes up to 140 miles with .20 kW power and developed a means of insulating engine magneto sounds from send and receive communications in flight. He successfully exchanged coded messages between airplanes in flight. Then he studied dictaphone recordings of speech made in flight and reported on the practicability of telephonic speech in the noisy environment of airplane engines under full power in the air.

In June 1916 he built with E.J. Simon, a New York radio engineer, a radio telephone set embodying results of his experiments of 1915-16. In February, 1917 this set transmitted the human voice for the first time from an airplane in flight. In May he was sent to Europe to demonstrate the radio equipment and to investigate the requirements radio equipment should meet in combat.

He was detailed to aviation duty and learned to fly in 1916, becoming a "Junior Military Aviator" in 1917, and "Airplane Pilot" in 1920. He was put in charge of matters pertaining to radio and communications through 1925 when he became Commanding Officer of Kelly Field, TX.

He received the Medal of Merit (1916), the Distinguished Service Medal (1919) and the civilian Certificate of Merit (1919) from the Aero Club of America, all for his activities related to aviation radio communications. By 1931, radio was used to control all 670 military aircraft of the Air Division then under the command of General Foulois. See also Register pilot Albert Hegenberger for one important utility coming out of Culver's work with radio communications.

He retired on January 31, 1934 having spent 34 years in continued commissioned service of which 18 years and 5 months were spent in aviation. He had soloed most of the types and models of military aircraft. He died June 19, 1946 and is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery, Plot Section 4, Site 3028-B.

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Image below of male members of the Culver family (see credit in right sidebar). The patriarch is Jacob Hazel Culver at center, himself a Brigadier General.

Jacob Culver is surrounded by his four sons, all in uniform. Clarence C. Culver is in the upper left corner; brother Elwin E. Culver is in the upper right corner; Register passenger Harry H. Culver is in the lower left corner; and brother Fred D. Culver is in the lower right corner. Although the image is undated, it is probably sometime in the 1890s-early 1900s.

Culver Pere et Frere
Culver Family

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Dossier 2.2.63

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/09/07 REVISED: 01/10/07, 01/12/09, 02/03/16

 
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A SPECIAL FEATURE
Pilot Culver is unique among our Davis-Monthan population, because his brother, Harry Culver, also visited the Airfield (albeit as a passenger). He is joined in this distinction (as far as I know) by only a couple of others, the Hunter Brothers and the duPonts.
The family group image comes to us from Robert Battle, great grand nephew of Clarence and great grandson of Harry Culver.
 
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