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Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Smith, CS-678500-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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LEE HARVEY SMITH

Lee Harvey Smith, 1937 (Source: SDAM)
Lee Harvey Smith, 1937 (Source: SDAM)

 

Lee Smith landed once at Tucson, Sunday August 14, 1932. He three unidentified passengers in the Stinson NC12179. Based at Wayne, MI, they were eastbound from Yuma, AZ to El Paso, TX. They offered no purpose in the Register for this flight.

According to his NASM biographical folder, Smith was the Sales Manager for the Stinson Aircraft Corp., Wayne, MI from 1930-31. He held commercial license #16538. From 1932 to 1934, with Eugenio Lopez, he established and operated the Ilcilio Air Express at Ilcilio, Philippine Islands. These jobs might explain some of the context of his flight through Tucson in the fall of 1932.

In 1935 he was Sales Manager in charge of sales and demonstrations of commercial transport aircraft abroad for the Vultee Aircraft Corp., Glendale, CA. From 1936-1940 he moved on as Sales Manager for the Waco Aircraft Corp., Troy, OH. Photograph, right, from the San Diego Aerospace Museum (SDAM), captures Smith during his employment with Waco.

From 1941-42 he was Vice President in charge of sales and engineering at the Aeronca Aircraft Corp., Middletown, OH. As WWII deepened, he took a hiatus from Aeronca according to the letter below.

 

Press Release, Aeronca Aircraft Corp., July 11, 1942 (Source: NASM)
Press Release, Aeronca Aircraft Corp., July 11, 1942 (Source: NASM)

We learn from the letter that he did have military experience during WWI. He was a captain in the Air Corps Reserve. Smith was born at Rushville, IN on November 14, 1891. He was barely a teen when the Wright Brothers first flew. He died during February, 1976 at San Diego, CA, at age 84 barely a score of years after the U.S. entered space. He was a member of the Quiet Birdmen and The Wings Club. Through his work career, he was employed by some of the premier manufacturers of Golden Age aircraft.

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Dossier 2.1.147

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