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Charles F. Blair Jr. (July 19, 1909 – September 2, 1978) was an American aviation pioneer who helped work out the routes and navigation techniques necessary for long-distance flights. He served as a reserve officer, early in his career for the United States Navy, reaching the rank of captain, and later for the United States Air Force ...
Charles F. Blair, Jr. (n. Búfalo, Nueva York, Estados Unidos; 19 de julio de 1909 - f. Antillas, 2 de septiembre de 1978) fue un general de brigada de Reserva de la Fuerza Aérea de los Estados Unidos, piloto de pruebas y de aviación civil, ingeniero mecánico, pionero de los vuelos transatlánticos y polares, además fue copropietario-fundador de la línea Antilles Boat Airline.
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Charles Blair learned to fly in San Diego and made his first solo at the age of 19. In 1931, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Vermont, and the following year was commissioned an Ensign as a naval aviator. He served with the Naval Reserves at the same time as flying for United Airlines for seven years. In 1940, Blair became a chief pilot at American Export Airlines, later renamed American Overseas Airlines, where he trained the pilots. In World War II Blair flew with the Naval Air Transport Service and the Air Transport Command as well as being a test pilot for Grumman Aircraft, testing the F6F Hellcat, F7F Tigercat, F8F Bearcat and the Martin Mars flying boat. Following the war, Blair commanded testing and the first scheduled flights of the Lockheed Constellation and Boeing Stratocruiserairliners of American Overseas Airlines as well as owning and operating Associated Air Transport, Inc. American Overseas Airlines merged with Pa...
Charles Blair's brother was Robert Noel Blair (1912-2003) acclaimed itinerant painter and art teacher noted for his Battle of the Bulge paintings, painted during the action as a soldier. His sister-in-law Jeannette Blair and nephew Bruce Blair are also noted painters in the Buffalo area, where Charles Blair was born. On March 11, 1968, Blair married for the fourth time the actress Maureen O'Hara, whom he had first met on a flight to Ireland in 1947.
On September 2, 1978, Blair was piloting a Grumman Goosefrom St. Croix to St. Thomas when the plane crashed into the ocean due to engine failure. He and three passengers were killed, seven passengers were severely injured. He is survived by his wife and four children from two previous marriages: Suzanne, Christopher, Charles Lee and Stephen. His remains are interred in Arlington National Cemetery.
In 2006, O'Hara attended the Grand Reopening and Expansion of the Flying Boats Museum in Foynes, Limerick, Ireland, as a patron of the museum. A significant portion of the museum is dedicated to her late husband Charles. O'Hara donated her late husband's flying boat (Sikorsky VS-44A) "The Queen of the Skies" to the New England Air Museum. The restoration of the plane took 8 years and time was donated by former pilots and mechanics in honour of Charles Blair. A reproduction of Blair's red P-51 used to be displayed on the roof of the Queen's Building at Heathrow airport. Charles Blair's Sandringham Flying boat VP-LVE "Southern Cross" has been the center piece of the Southampton Hall of Aviation since 1984. Although it has been repainted in its Ansett colours and registration number VH-BRC "Beachcomber"
29/05/2021 · Captain Charles F. Blair, Jr., checks his astrocompass shortly before beginning his transpolar flight, 29 May 1951. ( National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution) Captain Blair navigated by using a system of pre-plotted sun lines calculated by Captain Phillip Van Horns Weems, U.S. Navy (Ret.), as a magnetic compass was useless near the Pole and there were no radio navigation aids ...
United States Army Officer, Author. He served first in the the United States Army Air Corps, then the United States Air Force, rising to the rank of Brigadier General. His long career in military and commerical aviation was highlighted by his making the first solo crossing of the North Pole in a single engine plane. In...
- 2 Sep 1978 (aged 69)U.S. Virgin Islands
- Section 2, Grave 4966
Charles F. Blair, Jr. (July 19, 1909 – September 2, 1978) was a United States Air Force Brigadier General, United States Navy aviator Captain, a test pilot, ...
- 6 min
Charles F. Blair, Jr. (n. Buffalo, New York, Estados Unidos; 19 de julio de 1909 - f. Antillas, 2 de septiembre de 1978) fue un general de brigada de Reserva de la Fuerza Aérea de los Estados Unidos, piloto de pruebas y de aviación civil, ingeniero mecánico, pionero de los vuelos transatlánticos y polares, además fue co-propietario-fundador de la línea Antilles Boat Airline.