PILOT STORIES: Culver
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.
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