|By Carmelo Turdo|
"Chub" Wheeler with son Jim and
Daughter Mary Kay
"Chub" Wheeler with Mark and Elaine Harter
Mark Harter taxis out from the museum ramp with "Chub" Wheeler,
son Jim and daughter Mary Kay
Guests gather around the Lockheed Jetstar once owned by
Museum Founders "Chub" Wheeler and Fred Roos
Birthday cake with Ford Trimotor topping
Wheeler receives photo of Union Electric Ford Trimotor that he serviced
as a line boy in the early 1930s at Curtiss-Steinberg Airport
- On September 1, 1930, Chub takes his first airplane ride at Curtiss-Steinberg Airport. A pilot named Giggs took Chub up for a 10 minute ride, reaching at one point an altitude of 2,000 feet in a Travel Air 2000, C9986. Chub still has that ticket in his possession.
- Once in high school, Chub would walk to Parks (3 miles from his home) and Curtiss Steinberg to see the aircraft and with frequent visits, came to be accepted at the airports and was able to freely roam the airports and hangars. All the visits and time spent at the airports led to Chub being hired as a line boy at Curtiss-Steinberg, making $14/week servicing aircraft such as Union Electric’s Ford Trimotor. His work there led to a friendship with Earl Hayden who in turn taught Chub to fly in Earl’s OX-5 powered Curtiss Robin (NC341K), soloing on September 2, 1935 and earning his pilot’s license on October 6, 1935 (Pilot Certificate #34908). In his first year of flying, he had a total time of 81 hours. Later, after taking a job at Mobil Oil, Chub saved enough money to buy the Curtiss Robin from Earl for $450.00.
- Chub was a primary flight instructor throughout the war and served at all four of Parks Air College flight schools during the war, at the end of the war being responsible for operating the flight school at Cape Girardeau, MO. Aircraft types he flew for training were the PT-13, PT-17, PT-19 and PT-23. Chub was flight leader for the “Thunderbolts” which was a demonstration team showing off the capabilities of the flight trainers being used at the time.
- Aircraft Chub has owned include the Curtiss Robin, Fairchild 22, Travel Air J-5 Speedwing, BT-13s, PT-23, J-3 Cubs, Piper Pacer, Aeronca Champ, Aeronca 7AC, and his final aircraft, a 1946 Ranger powered Fairchild 24.
- Awards & Recognition: FAA Wright Brothers’ “Master Pilot Award” (2009), Experimental Aircraft Association’s “Timeless Voices of Aviation”, OX5 Aviation Pioneers 2012 “Legion of Merit” Award