Eddie Hedeen was born May 25, 1895 at Dalbo, MN. He completed
high school and spent two years at the Dunwoody Institute,
a private, non-profit technical college founded in 1914 in
Minneapolis, MN, still in operation today.
He worked in logging
camps in northern Minnesota until 1917, then enlisted in
the U.S. Navy. He served as Aviation Chief Machinist's Mate
and learned to fly. He served at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola,
FL during 1918-19. He left the Navy and barnstormed
through Minnesota in the usual Jennies and Canucks until
He joined the Naval Reserve Aviation Unit, Great Lakes and
served from 1923-1926. He left the Navy again and founded
the National School of Aviation, Minneapolis, MN in 1927.
Sometime in 1928-29 he moved to Racine, WI and took charge
of Air City Airport, which he managed until at least 1937.
The New York Sun of Monday, November 12, 1928 reads, "Wisconsin
Flyer Sets barrel-Roll Record". On that day, over the
Racine airfield in front of 5,000 people and officials, he
rolled his airplane 283 consecutive times for a world's record.
When he started instructing at Racine, his only equipment
was described as, "one lordly, OX-5 Swallow." In
addition, he was an instructor at the Aviation State Vocational
School at Racine. He was reputed to be the most experienced
flight instructor in the mid-west, with 5,000 hours total
flight time, 3,000 of that as an instructor.
Eddie Hedeen spoke, read and wrote Swedish in seven dialects.
As well, he spoke Danish, Norwegian and English. He was married
and had four children, two boys and two girls. He flew in
every state in the Union, including Arizona.
We find him
at Tucson three times flying Waco aircraft each time. On
February 20, 1930 and January 25, 1931 he lands with NC8584.
This Waco, owned by Johnson's Wax Company of Racine, is a
model ATO, S/N A-98 manufactured in 1929. Below is an image
of the airplane as it is today on display at EAA
Chapter 838 in Racine. This link to our MOTION PICTURES page has a video clip of the airplane as it appeared on September 28, 2009. The film features dialogues with Tom Kalina, the last Johnson's Wax corporate pilot to fly NC8584, and with Roy Stewart, who, at the age of five, flew in the airplane with pilot Hedeen in 1930.
1929 Waco NC8584
Hedeen flew the airplane around the United States for Johnson's
Wax on marketing tours. These tours occurred during 1929
and 1930. Just imagine this beautiful, yellow-winged airplane
landing at Tucson on those brisk winter days! He would have been carrying a selection of Johnson's products like these, below, including the applicator at center.
Vintage Johnson's Wax Products
A listing of his stops and a map of his itineraries for 1929-30 are below. Notice that his landing at Tucson on February 20, 1930 places him on his way from Midland, TX to San Francisco, CA. He noted in the Register that he was inbound from El Paso, TX on his way west to Los Angeles, CA. He had allowed about three weeks to get from Texas to northern California, and Tucson was probably a fuel and rest stop during that leg of his trip.
List of Johnson's Wax Promotional Itineraries, 1929-30
These two images are from the EAA Museum (linked above) exhibit for the airplane in Racine. Below is the map showing his itineraries. Note that his 1929 tour did not take Hedeen out west.
Map of Johnson's Wax Promotional Itineraries, 1929-30
On his second visit to Tucson, he was in Waco RNF NC137Y, S/N 3314,
manufactured in 1930. When he landed on December 18, 1930,
the airplane was owned by Northern Airways, Inc., Wausau,
WI. There's no indication in the Register of the reason for this visit, although it may have been a charter trip, as he carried as passenger W.C. Hinkle.
His final visit, in NC8584, was on Sunday, January 25, 1931. He carried one C. Fox as passenger. There was no reason given in the Register for this trip.
Edwin Hedeen held Department of Commerce transport license number 164. In 1937
he was the only surviving member of the Waco stunting team
at the 1929 National Air Races at Cleveland. I do not know
when he died. Does anyone know?
Another, brief, biography is available here (scroll down
January 1, 1937 US Airport Descriptions
Friend of dmairfield, Tim Kalina, sent this along. "I
recently purchased a small book entitled 'Descriptions
of Airports and Landing Fields in the United States'
published January 1, 1937 by the U.S. Department of Commerce,
Bureau of Air Commerce. Since Ed Hedeen managed the Air City
Airport at Racine I thought you might enjoy the book's description
of this airfield.
''Racine — Air City Flying Field, auxiliary. Six
miles W. of Racine on State Highway No. 120, just NE. of
Sturtevant. Lat. 42°41'; long. 87°53'.
Alt. 633 feet. Square, 2,640 by 2,640 feet, sod, level, natural drainage; two
graded runways N./S., E./W., both 2,300 by 600 feet; entire field available.
RACINE on hanger roof. Pole line and buildings to N., trees and hanger to NW.,
trees to NE. Facilities for servicing aircraft, day only."
Mr. Kalina has since made a gift ot this 222-page book to
the Davis-Monthan Register project. Thanks to him for that!
Image of the cover is at left.
UPLOADED: 05/15/07 REVISED: 06/01/07, 11/13/07, 10/08/09