Please don't be confused by this one. The Register entry for this pilot simply says "Bob Wolf." Bob Wolf arrived at Tucson Wednesday, September 6, 1933 at 8:15 AM. He was solo in NC11440, a Waco QCF-2. He was westbound, arriving from El Paso, TX headed for his home base of Los Angeles, CA. His airplane was, at the time, owned by Mid-South Airways, Inc. Memphis, TN. There is no indication in the Register of the purpose of this flight, or if Wolf worked for Mid-South.
There is only one Robert A. Wolf in the biographical files at the NASM (dossier number cited, left sidebar). Given that his is a common name, our "Bob Wolf" may not be NASM's "Robert A. Wolf". Hopefully someone will be able to review this page and give us a "yay" or "nay" if our Register pilot is, indeed, Robert A. (right sidebar).
On March 17, 2008 I was contacted by Robert A. (Alban) Wolf's niece. She corroborates the information below. However, to her knowledge, her uncle was not a certificated pilot. And her examination of his signature in the Register fails to compare favorably with a known signature of her uncle.
Further, in October 2017 I was contacted by an historian researching Bell Aircraft. He corroborates the Bell information for Wolf, but not his status as a pilot or his signature. While it would seem unusual that an aeronautical engineer wouldn't have an interest in being a pilot, the uncertainty about his uncertainty is concerning.
Regardless if Bob Wolf was Robert A. Wolf, the NASM information on Robert A. Wolf is sparse, consisting only of an entry for the Directory of Aeronautical Engineering that was published January 1, 1943. According to the entry, Robert A. Wolf was born in Appleton, WI, September 4, 1907.
Wolf-Hannel Wedding, 1935 (Source: ancestry.com)
He attended Lawrence College from 1926-1928, the University of Michigan from 1928-1932 (B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering and M.S. in 1932). He went to work immediately for Consolidated Aircraft Corp., the parent company of which was founded by Register pilot Reuben Fleet. Wolf was put to work on stress analysis and structural research.
I found no 1910, 1920 or 1930 U.S. Census information for Robert A. Wolf.
In 1935 he moved to the Bell Aircraft Corp. as and engineer in control systems design. He worked for Bell at least until 1943, the date where the NASM record ends. Census records also document his work as an engineer in the aviation industry.
He moved through the ranks at Bell from group leader and section chief to design engineer and Chief Research Engineer. This last assignment involved new aircraft development for Bell, which may have included jet technology. He was a member of the "A.F.I.Ae.S." Does anyone KNOW what that abbreviation means?
Wolf married in 1935 (right, undated news article) Alice W. Hannel (1905-1991). They had a daughter, Virginia, in 1939. According to the Census for 1940, Wolf was 32 years old and Alice was 35. Virginia was 7 months old. They lived in Buffalo, NY. Wolf was employed as an "Aviation Engineer" in an "Airplane Factory." His salary was $3,900 per year.
Robert & Alice Wolf, Grave Marker (Source: findagrave.com)
According to ancestry.com, Robert Alban Wolf flew West November 5, 1998 in Columbia, SC at age 91. His parents, two brothers, a sister and Alice predeceased him. He and Alice had been married 56 years at the time she passed away in 1991. Their grave marker is at left.
Interestingly, in 1997, a year before he died, he married Clover Morrison Holly Gatling at the age of 90 (she was 83), a neighbor at the retirement community in which they lived. Clover was an achiever all her life, earning her Ph.D. in comparative literature at age 66.
Although their partnership was only a year, Clover lived another 17 years and passed away in 2015 at age 101. Her previous marriage, which ended in 1989 with the death of her husband, had lasted 57 years. Wolf and Clover had track records for fidelity. In the end, even if the Register signer Bob Wolf was not Robert A., we have explored an interesting life.
UPLOADED: 01/25/08 REVISED: 04/14/08, 10/17/17