Les Bowman landed at Tucson either April 21 or 22, 1932,
as a flight of two with his wife, Martie
Bowman (date inferred
from the Register, as neither of them cited their arrival
date or time). They were westbound from El Paso,
TX to Los Angeles, CA. Both flew Waco airplanes: Les in Waco
UEC NC12456; Martie in Waco UBA NC12449. Les carried one
passenger, Mrs. Jerry Brutus. At the time, Lee N. Brutus was VP at Waco. Mrs. Brutus may be a relative.
Image above, courtesy of Andy Heins (right sidebar), shows
Les Bowman, left, Martie Bowman and an unknown individual
in front of NC12456, location unknown.
Les and Martie's grandaughter has put a nice website online
at this link.
Check there for additional images of Les, Martie, friends
and family. A brief quote from that site about Les and Martie
"They started their flying careers
in the 1920's when Les decided to become a pilot
instead of a preacher. He spent his years as a
test pilot and once tested 165 new models in one year.
made over 300 forced landings, but never cracked up
or was injured in any of them.
He was a charter member of the International Engineering
Society. He had
one of the earliest commercial pilot's licenses signed
by Orville Wright.
the 1930's he was an airplane motor designer. W.
B. Bert Kinner and Les developed one of the first five
cylinder-radial type airplane motors. In order to sell,
the engine had to be approved by the "Bureau of Standards" in
Les took the first engine by
train to D.C. and had to plan and help build the first
test stand for aircraft engines. The engine had
to run for 500 consecutive hours. It did, and
revolutionized the private aircraft industry. He was
also a barnstomer and racer and performed aerobatics.
The photograph below is shared with us by friend of dmairfield.org, John Underwood. Les Bowman is posed beside a Monocoupe aircraft, which states on the door, "Les Bowman, Kinner Factory". The airplane and date are unidentified, but the engine is a five-cylinder model, thus placing the date during his tenure with Kinner.
Leslie Bowman & Monocoupe; Date & Location Unknown (Source: Underwood)
Les was born December 9, 1899 at McKinleyville, CA. He spent
two years at Pacific Union College (1916-18). From 1923-28
he worked for the W.B. Kinner company, first in engineering,
then in charge of field sales and service.
the time he visited Tucson, he worked for the Waco Aircraft
Company as western factory representative. He and Martie
were probably ferrying these new Waco aircraft west for delivery.
From 1926-39 he was sales manager for Southwest Airmotive
Corp., based at Dallas, TX.
Beginning in 1939, he was President and General Manager
of Service and School Operation, Aircraft Sales Co., Ft.
Worth, TX. This second quote from the link above summarizes
"War came to America and the Bowman's
[sic] participated in a very active way. Les was president
of the "Aircraft
Sales Company and Fort Worth Aviation School of Fort
Worth Texas. The company was one of the primary
and advanced civil pilot training schools, where he taught
and tested planes. The company was one of five civilian
schools picked to train U.S. Navy pilots for the war
effort by the War Training Service.
The Bowmans went on to other careers before their deaths.
Les was a ballistics consultant and expert for many
gun companies and both were big game outfitters in
Wyoming. They also owned a
manufacturing company for
horse trailers. Les wrote and photographed articles
for many outdoor and gun magazines. Marty was the force
behind the force, editing the articles and managing
the big game outfitting business. They were married
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 03/10/06 REVISED: 10/08/07, 01/22/10