Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Magnificent Fliers and their Flying Machines

Foot-Hill Flying Field, later referred to as the Monrovia Airport, operated from 1928 – 1953. Leroy Criss (1925 – 2008) learned to fly at the Foothill Flying Field. This training inspired him to become one of the crack pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII. After the war, Criss returned to the Los Angeles area to teach flying and later became a schoolteacher. Ellenor and Frank Bell were siblings who lived near the airport and couldn’t get enough of flying. Ellenor first soloed on March 6, 1940 and later took the Civil Pilot Training course which allowed her to join the Woman Air Force Service Pilots in 1943. Her brother Frank enlisted in the Army Air Corps and piloted bombing missions until 1945, when his plane was shot down over Germany. He became a prisoner of war. Fortunately he was released after only 17 days.

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