The visit of Charles M. Taylor on May 6, 1929 has a wonderful
context. According to the Nichols reference at left, he was
participating in the Aviation Country Clubs Tour that spring.
Look at this page
for his signature, and two other members of the Tour, Ruth
Nichols and Robb Oertel.
He was flying a Command-Aire, number 609 (no indication of
NC, NX, or NR). He arrived at 3:05 PM and departed for Yuma
at 8:30 the next morning. Follow the Ruth
Nichols link for a tour map.
This vignette is unusual, in that I have two sources of information
with actual quotes by pilot Taylor. The first is from the
Nichols book referenced at left. The second is from a 1987
letter (see below) shared with me by an acquaintance of Taylor's,
which corroborates the sense of his good-nature as expressed
A third reference, from the Fayetteville Branch of the Arkansas
Air Museum, outlines some of Taylor's civic and other aviation
activities. Image, above, is from the Arkansas Air Museum.
Apropos his landing at Tucson, he had joined the Aviation
Country Clubs Tour late on the westbound leg, as recorded
in Nichols' book:
|"At Dallas we were joined by another
member of Aviation Country Clubs, Charles Taylor of Little
Rock, flying a new Command-Aire. He had just started flying
and wanted some cross-country experience. So we welcomed
him to our caravan, and this keen-witted, good-natured
southerner proved a happy addition, keeping us in gales
of laughter along the entire route to Los Angeles."
After the Tour visited Midland and Pecos, they landed at
El Paso after a long and exhausting day. Nichols went on to
"Nothing seemed to dampen the high
spirits of Charlie Taylor, and his uproarious accounts
of his feelings as he tried to push his plane over the
Guadalupe Range that afternoon soon had us all relaxed
"'I've handled some rough broncos in my day,'
said Charlie, 'but this confounded plane can out-buck
any of 'em. I was about ready to trade her in for a
harp and a pair of angel wings when blamed if she didn't
take the jump, nice as you please!'"
This is a passage from a history kept on Mr. Taylor at the
Arkansas Air Museum:
"Charles M. Taylor of Little Rock,
Arkansas was one of the original members of the 154th
Observation Squadron of the Arkansas National Guard.
He had just graduated from Princeton where he was a
member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps.
"He served many years as Executive Vice-President
of the Little Rock Chapter of the National Aeronautic
Association. This association...sponsored the Annual
Arkansas Air Tours starting in 1928. These tours did
much to stimulate interest in aviation, and the construction
of airports in the state. In 1929...stunt flying was
added to the tours. Lts. Taylor, Ellis M. Fagan and
John D. Howe, billed as 'The Blue Devils" thrilled
the crowds flying...Command-Aire aircraft.... This served
a double purpose as Taylor was involved with the Arkansas
Aircraft Company that built the Command-Aire in Little
Rock, and these demonstrations helped in the sale of
"In 1932 Taylor was the winner of the Amateur
Pilots Race from New York to Cleveland during the National
"On December 5th , Charles M. Taylor was
appointed Airport Supervisor for Arkansas. This began
the first concentrated effort by Federal, State and
local governments to develop airports in the State of
Arkansas. Taylor's report showed that 13 new airports
were built, 9 existing airports were improved, bringing
to Arkansas a total of 35 airports in 1934.
"Taylor went on to serve with distinction as a
Colonel in the Air Corps during World War II, where
he served in the office of the assistant chief of Air
Staff Plans in England. He contributed materially to
the plans for the conduct of the air war, particularly
He went on to be a successful real estate developer in Little
Rock. And he continued to fly. Below, from site visitor Joe Kranz, are two undated articles that describe his victory in the Second Annual Air Pilot's Cruise from New York to Cleveland.
Charles Taylor, Air Pilot's Cruise, Date & News Source Unknown (Source: Kranz)
Likewise, he signed the U.S. postal cachet, below, on September 2, 1932 at the National Air Races in Cleveland.
U.S. Postal Cachet, National Air Races, Cleveland, OH, September 2, 1932 (Source: Kranz)
In the letter introduced above, Taylor extended sympathy
to the widow of McKinley A. "Mack" West. In 1928
Mr. West established the aviation enterprise, including
the West-Nash Airlines airport in Paragould, AR. He was
an early friend of Mr. Taylor. The text of the letter follows:
"March 11, 1987
Dear Mrs. West:
I have just read in the paper about your husband's
I used to know Mack back in the 1920's and 1930's when
I was flying airplanes and landing at his Airport in
Paragould. I was also in the old 154th Observation Squadron,
Arkansas National Guard and was called to active duty
in 1940 for World War II and quit flying when I came
home after the War in 1946 so since then I have missed
Mack and my occasional landings at Paragould.
Mack was a fine man with sound judgment, a good operator
and credit and benefactor to the aviation industry in
its early days. When we were operating the old Command-Aire
Airplane factory here in Little Rock, we always routed
pilots taking delivery of new airplanes who were flying
North so that they would land a Paragould, knowing that
Mack could and would solve any problems that might develop
on an initial cross-country flight.
I realize that there is nothing I can say that will
lessen your loss, but you can take solace in the fact
that your loss is shared by the host of people who admired
and respected Mack for his leadership, integrity and
Please accept my personal sympathy.
Charles M. Taylor"
UPLOADED: 05/05 REVISED: 04/09/06, 06/28/11