Pilot Eyes

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This information comes from the biographical file for pilot Foster, CF-447000-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.


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Paul L. Foster

Paul L. Foster

Army, Corporate and Transport Pilot, and Fuels Researcher

Paul Foster went directly from high school to Kelly Field where he received his flight training in the Army Air Corps.  He graduated as a Lieutenant in 1928 with 280 flight hours to his credit.  He went to work with his father, Fred L. Foster and Dr. George G. Brown in aviation fuels research. 

Foster landed twice at Tucson, on October 3, 1928 flying Ryan B-1 Brougham NC3578, and on December 22, 1928 flying Ryan B-1 Brougham NC7672.  See the link for his passenger and itinerary details.

Image, below, of Foster ca. 1934 in the uniform of Eastern Air Transport. This photo is shared with us by Capt. S.S. McDonald (EAL, Ret; see below).

Paul L. Foster, Circa 1934
Paul L. Foster, Circa 1934

Father and son became associated with Richfield Oil Corporation of NY, and Paul was appointed Chief Pilot.  He piloted their flying air laboratory, one of the first ever completely assembled, and assisted in test work.

To secure the necessary fuel rating information it was often necessary deliberately to seek and fly into stormy areas.  Foster accumulated 1,000 flight hours piloting this mission.

Foster disregarded tempting offers by foreign governments to accept commissions with their air forces as a flight instructor, preferring to remain with Richfield. I have no further information. Do you?


From Capt. S.S. McDonald, Eastern Airlines (Ret) on November 1, 2008 comes this information:

"Paul L. Foster was hired at Eastern Air Transport 6 February 1932. His seniority number on the first published Eastern Airlines seniority list was 33. He flew out of the Miami Base and was Chief Pilot before retiring as a DC8 Captain (circa 1962). After retirement from Eastern, he continued flying freight in a DC6 to South America from MIA [Miami International Airport]. He was well into his 80's before he left flying behind. His hobby of repairing vacuum tube type televisions and electronics from his home/garage in Coral Gables, FL lasted well into the late 1970's. He died in 1987."

Thanks to Capt. McDonald for sharing this anecdote and image with us.


Image below is from Auburn University, Accession Number 101-96-066-2009, and is dated July 25, 1935. It shows Foster, right, with Eddie Rickenbacker.

Paul Foster, Right, With Eddie Rickenbacker, July 25, 1935
Paul Foster, Right, With Eddie Rickenbacker, July 25, 1935

The caption on the back of the photograph reads, "Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, left, World War ace and now general manager of Eastern Air Lines, congratulated PILOT PAUL FOSTER on the latter's arrival at Newark airport with the first of a fleet of Lockheed Electra low-wing, twin motor planes. These planes will shortly be put in service between New Orleans and New York on Eastern Air's night flight. Each accommodates 10 passengers, pilot and copilot, together with mail and express, and has a top speed of approximately 210 miles per hour. Shortened schedules are expected to become effective October 1. Improved service will also be available to other points."

See the large collection of Rickenbacker correspondences with fellow Register and Eastern Airlines pilot Lee Willey in the Willey Collection.


Dossier 2.1.88

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 07/19/06 REVISED: 02/17/07, 11/03/08, 07/08/09

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I'm looking for additional information and photographs for pilot Foster and his airplanes to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.
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