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PILOT STORIES: Culver and Webb

Two of Major Fleet's most outstanding pilots were Howard Paul Culver and Torrey H. Webb.

Howard Paul Culver was born in Eau Claire in 1893 and grew up in Ashland, Wisconsin. Paul, as he preferred to be called, graduated from St. John's Military Academy in Delafield and received a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He learned to fly at the Curtiss School of Aviation in Newport News, Virginia. Culver was a test pilot and flying instructor during the first World War and was an army airmail pilot from May 15 to August 9, 1918. Of the first airmail pilots, Culver was the only one who had more than four months of flying experience. During his airmail service, Culver flew over 3,000 miles, logging 48 hours of flying time and suffering only one forced landing in 36 trips.

After graduating from Columbia and serving in the army, Lieutenant Torrey Webb completed his aviation training at Ellington Field, where he came to Major Fleet's attention. His good record spoke well for him, and Fleet hired him for the airmail service. Webb flew over 3,500 miles as an airmail pilot, spending 45 hours in the air. As did Culver, Webb suffered only one forced landing in his airmail career.

Click here to learn more about Culver and Webb.

Webb receiving bag of airmail May 15, 1918 Webb on top of his wrecked Jenny aircraft
Culver receives first mail May 15, 1918 Webb taking off from Belmont Park May 15, 1918
Click on the photos to view a larger image.

(top left) Webb receiving bag of airmail May 15, 1918

(top right) Webb on top of his wrecked Jenny aircraft

(bottom left) Culver receives first mail May 15, 1918

(bottom right) Webb taking off from Belmont Park May 15, 1918
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