Charlie Meyers, Date Unknown
Charlie Meyers was born May 29, 1896 in Columbus Junction, IA. As a teen-ager he built gliders big enough to carry himself. His first solo flight with one of them was on June 29, 1913, which qualified him as a member of the Early Birds. Additional information and images are available at the link.
His application for Early Birds membership is in his NASM biographical file (cited, left sidebar). It includes a brief autobiography as follows:
"Building Gliders 1911, 1912, 1913. Aero Marine Plane and Motor Co. 1914 to late 1916. Royal Flying Corps. and AAF 1917 to spring 1919. Barnstormed to 1924. Engineering test pilot Waco Aircraft Co. to 1928. Engineering test pilot Great Lakes Aircraft Co. to 1931. Eastern Air Transport and Eastern Air Lines [he held seniority number 30 with Eastern, having joined the company on November 11, 1931]. Was Capt for 25 years on those Lines. Retired Nov. 1956. Hold First Class Airman Certificate #1142. Scheduled Air Transport Rating, on DC3, DC4, DC6 and 7 and all Lockheed multi-enting Transports. Won 1st place Class B New York-Spokane Air Derby, National Air Races Sept. 1927."
Indeed, in an article from the Montclair Times of May 5, 1913 we find him, "...pinned under the wreckage...." of one of his monoplane gliders. "Meyers was quickly freed from the wreck, and to the relief of all it was found that, although stunned by the fall, he had sustained no serious injury." At an altitude of 40 feet, a wing bracing wire broke, causing the glider to plunge into the ground. Meyers was 17 years old. Asked if he would fly again, he said, "You bet I will, just as soon as I can make a new one."
The undated image, above left, from Meyers' NASM file, is identified as being from Scope Magazine. A brief Web search finds there are many different magazines with that name, so it is impossible to know which one this photo is from.
Charlie Meyers (Source: Heins)
However, the photo caption mentions the "late" Frank Hawks, which would date the article to after Hawks' death on August 23, 1938. The accompanying article states that he was retired from Eastern Air Lines, which further dates the article to post-November, 1956.
Regardless of the date of the article, the date of this photograph is unknown. His cloth "helmet" has the Kendall Motor Oil logo on the front. Kendall was a common sponsor of air racing events during the Golden Age, so this image is probably from the late 1920s-30s when he participated in races.
At right, another undated portrait of Meyers. Meyers visited us twice at Tucson. Based at Troy, OH, both times he was flying Waco ATO NX5673 (he was the test pilot for the Waco company, where he had interactions with Waco VP Lee Brutus). His first landing was on Tuesday, September 11, 1928. He was solo westbound from El Paso, TX to Yuma, AZ. He was competing in the National Air Races (NAR), Class B Event, from New York to Los Angeles. The NAR were held September 8th-16th that year.
He was in good Waco company in the NAR. Two other Register pilots flew two sister
ships, NX5533 (flown by Register pilot John
P. Wood) and NX7527 (flown by Register pilot John Livingston). As a group they placed first (Livingston), third (Wood) and fifth (Meyers) in the Class B.
Below, another image of Meyers posed in a (late 1920s?) Hupmobile in front of an (OX-5?) Waco. The other gentleman is unidentified.
Charlie Meyers, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Heins)
We find Meyers landing at Tucson again on Saturday, September 22, 1928. He was eastbound this time from Los Angeles back to Troy, OH. He carried two passengers, Frank Clewers and Bob Herrin. We can safely assume this was his return flight to home base after his success at Los Angeles.
Charlie Meyers, Date Unknown (Source: Heins)
In his NASM folder we find a two-page autobiography written by Meyers in his retirement. The date is sometime between 1956 and 1972. He gave his address at the time as 2418 Country Club Prado, Coral Gables, FL. According to Google Earth, this address still exists on a sleepy cul de sac about three miles due south of the Miami International Airport. At the time of writing his autobiography he had accumulated 26,600 flight hours, and stated, "I fly now for fun and convenience." During his tenure with Eastern Airlines, he undoubtedly knew fellow Register pilot John Miller.
Charlie Meyers flew West October 1, 1972, age 74.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/21/10 REVISED: 01/28/10