Cloyd Peart Clevenger was born in Rumsey, CA February 14,
1898. He was educated through high school. He learned to
fly at March Field, CA in 1918 and held commercial pilot
certificate number 141 (a pretty low number).
He scrambled from flying job to flying job during the teens,
20s and 30s, stopping long enough to become 2nd Lt. in
the U.S. Army Air Corps, 1918-19.
For example, he built and flew gliders from 1910-12 and
barnstormed in 1919 after his time in the U.S. Army. In 1921
he was a pilot for the Walter Varney Flying Circus (covering
16 states in that year alone). From 1922-23 he was a demonstrator,
instructor and skywriter; 1924-25 a pilot for the Gates Circus.
In 1926 he was a demonstrator and instructor
for Robertson Aircraft, St. Louis, MO. During 1927-28 he
was chief pilot for the Alexander Aircraft Factory, Colorado
Springs; pilot in the For National Air Tours 1927-28, and
pilot for Garland Aircraft, Tulsa, OK in 1929.
Image, right, of Clevenger in 1927 is from the collection
of Ruth Richter Holden and daughter Susan Holden Walsh. Their
Web site about Paul
Richter can be found here.
Water damage on left margin of image.
His flight on July 10, 1928 that brought him to Tucson was
as part of the 1928 National Air Tour. He was flying NC6505,
a brand new Alexander Eaglerock A-4, S/N 564 with Hispano-Suiza
engine. He carried one unidentified passenger. See the links
for a pictures of the airplane. His home base was Denver,
CO, indicative of his employment with Alexander Aircraft
at the time. They placed 18th in the 6,300 mile Tour that
About the time he was chief pilot for Alexander Aircraft,
he authored a 48-page manual on practical flying entitled Modern
Flight. It was published by Alexander Industries. Image,
below, from the Hudgin Family
In 1930 he was in Mexico. He operated Clevenger Flying School
in Mexico City. He was an instructor and salesman from1931-32,
and pilot for Mexican Airlines 1932-35. Back in the U.S.,
he was ferry pilot for Charles
Babb and skywriter in Los
Angeles in 1936. Back in Mexico, he was pilot for the
Spanish Embassy in 1937. He performed aerial mapping for
Pan American Aerial Surveys in Mississippi in 1938. Also
in 1938 he was jailed for a year and a day on charges of
violating the United States Neutrality Act by smuggling planes
out of the country for use in the Spanish Civil War.
In 1939 he was a skywriter for Skywriting Corpration in
New York City; in 1940 instructor for Deane Flying School,
NYC; in 1941 instructor for San Marcos Flying Service, San
Marcos, TX. When WWII opened, he became director of flying,
Air Corps Training Detachment, Ballinger, TX. I don't know
about you, but I'm exhausted now, just from going through
his resume. Can we deduce anything at this point about his
He estimated he had flown about 1.3 million miles in his
career. He moved to Mexico permanently in 1957.
Here's a short biography from this link:
|"Cloyd P. Clevenger began flying gliders
as a high school boy in Oakland, California. He was an
instructor at March Field in the World War, then for
the next forty years he had every kind of flying job
imaginable: teacher and text writer, stunt man, skywriter,
transport pilot in World War II. He flew in the 1927
and 1928 tours, retired a long time later in Mexico,
died in 1964, when he was sixty-six. Clev was a gay and
charming fellow, beloved by women, liked by men; a great
trial to loyal friends who were often called upon to
bail him out of “one damfool scrape after another.” Veteran
air mail pilot Leon Cuddeback recalled a ride with Clev
during an air show in the early days at the Varney Field,
near San Francisco. The ride ended with a very low pass
across the field, with Clevenger holding the ship in
a very difficult “knife-edge vertical” bank,
followed by a slow-roll. Leon had no safety belt and
back on the ground, still frightened and mad he offered
to give Clev the thrashing he deserved.
“Well gee, I thought you’d bear with me just
this once,” Clev replied, smiling. “What
would all those
spectators have thought if I’d just come in and
made a plain ordinary landing, like everyone else? How’d
they know who it was flying the ship?”"
His impulsiveness shines through.
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