Capsule Biographies

A : B : C : D : E : F : G : H : I : J : K : L : M
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WALTER VARNEY

19


ALFRED VERVILLE

Born 1890. Died 1970

Alfred Victor Verville was an aviation pioneer and aircraft designer responsible for a number of important innovations in aircraft design, including welded-steel-frame fuselages and retractable landing gear. He began work with the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Co in 1914 and by the end of WW1 had worked for a number of manufacturers, including Thomas-Morse Co (1915), General Airplane Co (1915-17), and Fisher Body Corp Airplane Division (1917-18).

In 1918 he became involved in military aviation at the Army Air Service Engineering Division at McCook Field OH (1918-25). He co-founded the Buhl-Verville Aircraft Co (1925-27) before striking out on his own with the Verville Aircraft Co (1928-31). Through the '30s and '40s he was a consultant at the Bureau of Air Commerce (1932, 1939-41) and Department of Commerce (1933-36), at Douglas Aircraft (1937-38), at Curtiss-Wright (1941-42), at Snead Aircraft (1942), and at Drexel Aviation Co (1942-45). In 1945 he served as a member of the Naval Technical Mission to Europe and later joined the USN's Bureau of Aeronautics (1946-61). He retired in 1961, but continued to support aviation until his death.


CHANCE VOUGHT

Born 1888. Died July 25, 1930.

A young Chance (neé Chauncey) Milton Vought first applied his basic mechanical engineering skills to the 1910 McCormick-Romme Umbrellaplane and the 1911 Blaney Monoplane at Cicero (IL) flying field, neither of which, unfortunately, failed to fly.

However, his craft improved after he learned to fly, earning pilot license #156 in 1912, and gained first-hand experience both in advanced schooling in aeronautical engineering and as an instructor pilot for the Max Lillie School of Aviation, where he was involved in the design of an aircraft of Lillie's concept. He then went on to work for several other aircraft manufacturers for the next five years as a designer, including the Mayo, Curtiss, Wright and Wright-Martin companies, until opportunity suddenly knocked on his door.

When the USA entered WW1 in April1917, Vought decided to take advantage of the need for trainer aircraft by our fledgling Air Service and, with Birdseye Lewis, formed the Lewis & Vought Corp in June that year. It turned out to be a wise and profitable decision as the company, under various names, would remain in continuous operation ever since then—it was the second oldest airframe manufacturer in the nation, close behind Boeing Co.

Sadly, his participation ended abruptly in 1930 when he died of blood poisoning after a tooth operation at age 42, but the name of Vought stayed on as his monument.


GERARD VULTEE

19