Aviator portraits at the Curtiss School, 1916.

An unknown aviator sits in a Curtiss flying boat for a portrait.

The lead photo is not captioned, and I don't really recognize this face among the rest of the photos.  I do love his combination goggles and face mask, though.  The goggles are actually sewn right into a mask that covers his nose.

Next is a photo of Steve Mac Gordon (L) and Warden Leonard Bonney (R).  I've previously written nearly all that I could find regarding Steve Mac Gordon.  By accounts he was a likeable gentleman and excellent instructor.  I have a few more photos in the collection of Mr. Mac Gordon, but the two in this post will be all I'll publish.

Warden Leonard Bonney learned to fly under Orville Wright in 1910 and flew in the Wright Exhibition Team.  He was killed on May 4, 1928 when his experimental Bonney Gull suddenly pitched down and crashed shortly after takeoff.  A tribute film to Bonney may be found here.  I've made references to an unknown aircraft which I will post in the future, which may have influenced Bonney in his theories.


This next photo has Walter Lees (L) and Howard Wehrle (R) in the Curtiss Twin JN.  Walter Lees was Ivan's instructor in the Model F flying boat, but here he is in a Curtiss Twin with Howard Wehrle. Lees' son in law has written a great deal about his life and exploits at this site.

Howard Wehrle was a student at the Curtiss School who joined at the same time Ivan was training there.  He went on, as Ivan did, to Mineola, New York with the Aviation Section Signal Corps.  He served at the Handley Page Training Station No. 1, according the the Who's Who in American Aeronautics of 1922.


Finally, an iconic photo of aviators Steve Mac Gordon (L) and Max Goodenough (R) in front of a Curtiss model R.  Max Goodenough was the second member of a team who attempted to break the world's record time aloft in 1921, but beyond that I was able to find little regarding this man.  I believe I have photos of him at Mineola in another album.  Perhaps some facts will surface as I find more photos and newspaper articles.

More aviators from the Curtiss school in the next post...


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  1. Very nice early aviation photo collection and comments. Fantastic that you have them and are sharing them.

  2. Thank you Mike G! I had no idea how much fun it was going to be learning all that I have about my grandfather's flying days. I'm glad folks are enjoying the collection.

  3. Looking through your great work of publishing your grandfathers notebooks (scrapbooks) I noticed just for accuracy that the picture of Walter Lees and Howard Wehrle could not be taken from a Curtiss Twin Jenny. One of the handicaps of this type was 'crew efficiency was greatly handicapped by the wide separation between the pilot's cockpit aft of the wing and the observer in the nose'. The quote is from the book of Peter M. Bowers (1979) - Curtiss aircraft 1907-1947, page 165.
    It would take some time to identify in what machine the two were actually sitting.

    1. You are absolutely right! In looking back over the photos of the Twin JN, the cockpits are a mile apart! I may have a clue in another photograph as to what it was, but give a bit to find it. And thanks for the diligence... I'll get this corrected.