John Montijo, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Underwood)
Born May 25, 1891, John Montijo was an early player in the Long Beach, CA aviation scene. He spent time instructing in the Army Air Corps, where he met fellow Register pilot Earl Daugherty. He tested airplanes and taught aerobatics at Long Beach.
At Long Beach, Montijo completed Amelia Earhart's flight training. She had received a few lessons from Neta Snook, who is commonly identified as the person who taught Earhart how to fly. But it was Montijo who qualified her for her first solo, and certified her in aerobatics and advanced aeronautics.
Montijo landed at Tucson Sunday, March 10, 1929. Based at Long Beach, he carried three unidentified passengers on what appeared to be a round-robin flight from Phoenix, AZ. Montijo and his passengers flew in NC5278, which Montijo identified as a Belmont.
Indeed, the Belmont was designed and built by Montijo. The Belmont Cabin monoplane, S/N M-1, was constructed during April, 1928. Please direct your browser to the link for the airplane to learn more about it.
Montijo died May 1, 1935 at Wallenburg, CO. He was flying mail between Pueblo, CO and El Paso, TX and crashed a mile or so from a school yard when he was making a turn to fly over the school to drop a letter to the children (no children were hurt). The Deparment of Commerce accident report is at the link (PDF 21Kb).
Montijo left flying behind in his family. During WWII, Montijo's son, John, Jr., "Jack," was assigned to the 353rd Fighter Squadron in Europe. He flew the P-51 Mustang. Born in 1920, he passed away in April, 1966. Another son, Jim, flew extensively as an instructor, charter pilot and crop-duster. His father was killed on Jim's 12th birthday.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/11/10 REVISED: 03/28/13