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better in the middle west so they shipped the machines to Chicago and opened a school in the Spring of 1915. This venture did not prosper so the airplanes were moved back to Long Island, and next Spring they established the Eastern School of Aviation at Sheepshead Bay, Long Island, with both Diehl and Hild as instructors. The school was a success and a goodly number of students were taught to fly. Later that year, an announcement was made of their new Eastern tandem tractor biplane, using an 8 cyl. 120 H.P. Maximotor. This airplane was designed to government specifications and was offered to the Army Signal Corps for military service at that time, but was not accepted. Diehl remained with Eastern until war clouds thickened in 1917, when he volunteered his services to the government as an instructor. Up to this time he had not obtained his pilot license, and since that was a requirement, he went to the Atlantic Coast Aeronautical Station at Newport News, Virginia where he took about two and one-half hours' dual flying time on a Curtiss JN-4. Diehl obtained pilot license No. 877, dated October 17, 1917 and was accepted for service, starting with the Signal Corps at Mineola, Long Island. From there he was sent south to the winter school at Gerstner Field, Lake Charles, Louisiana, and in the Spring of 1918 was sent to Chanute Field at Rantoul, Illinois. While stationed there, Diehl flew to Cleveland War Exposition during a Liberty Loan Drive, visited the new Glenn Martin airplane factory, and met pioneer aviator Martin. Diehl served as Signal Corps' instructor about one year. After the war, to make his way in the civilian world, he bought a government disposal Avro 504 with a LeRhone rotary engine and started barnstorming in the New York area. In early 1919, Diehl was issued civilian flying license No. 403 by the newly formed Joint Army and Navy Board of Aeronautical Cognizance at Washington, D.C. and became among the first to establish a commercial flying service in the east, located at Springfield Gardens, Long Island, on the Merrick Road. Today he is credited with being the first person to carry passengers for hire in that vicinity. About this time he was also the first to land an airplane on site which is now the Teterboro Airport, New Jersey. During the early summer Diehl flew from Central Park, Long Island to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he carried passengers for a time. After returning to Springfield Gardens his services were engaged by the movie industry at various periods and he featured in the spectacular flights in Fraud starring Irene Castle, for Fox Movies of Fort Lee, New Jersey, and knew Pearl White in connection with some of her early movies. During 1919 Diehl was also engaged to do some flying for Pathe News, carrying wing walker and stunt man, Morton St. Clair. They took off from Teterboro in the Avro and were to fly around the Battery and up the East River under the Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges with St. Clair doing his stunts for the cameraman. While flying under the bridges the LeRhone engine rapidly lost power. Diehl headed for Teterboro the quickest and shortest way possible - up 42nd Street and across Manhattan, with St. Clair standing on the top wing waving to people in the skyscrapers. Fortunately, he landed safely at Teterboro before the engine quit entirely. On September 8th, Diehl had the pleasure of a most noteworthy assignment for the New York Aerial Police when the City of New York welcomed the triumphal return of General Pershing from overseas. Diehl was engaged to fly over the parade of vessels as they came up the harbor, where he put on a great show, looping and rolling in honor of the returning hero. Diehl continued to barnstorm well into the 1920's and made friends with many renowned figures in the aviation fraternity, including Frank Hawks and Mr. and Mrs. Walter Schirra, air pioneers themselves who are today known as the parents of Walter Schirra, Jr. In 1927, Diehl became an engine flight test pilot for Wright Aeronautical Corporation of Paterson, New Jersey, flying their stable of test planes at Teterboro Airport. He was with them about three years, during which time he contributed much to the first air testing of the celebrated Wright J-5, Cyclone and Whirlwind series engines, each of which went on to establish a long and enviable reputation in the aviation industry. Diehl continued flying until 1945. During his flying career Diehl taught several airline pilots who are flying in service today. Since retiring from flying he had devoted considerable time to the study of mufflers to reduce noise of airplanes over cities, and has also developed and patented several valuable items for the plumbing industry. Early Bird, Flying Pioneer William C. Diehl had devoted the major part of his active like to aviation. He has a worthy and sizable niche in the history of its early American development. See Morehouse, "The flying Pioneers," J-AAHS Spring 1968, for the biography of Fredrick C. Hild. National Air & Space Museum Funding Appropriation Looms At Hearing(all caps title) As the Journal went to press we were advised that the appropriations bill including funds for the National Air & Space Museum building on the Mall in Washington was coming before Senate and House Appropriation Sub-Committees for hearing. The A.A.H.S. has continuously supported the proposed new building ever since its conception over fifteen years ago and we urge the Members be aware of the need, and to take action by writing to Congressional representatives at the proper times. The following letter was sent to Senator Alan Bible and Representative Julia Butler Hansen, respective, chairmen of the Senate and House Sub Committees on Interior and Related Agencies of the Appropriations Committees on 3 March 1972: Dear Senator Bible: The American Aviation Historical Society wishes to urge you to give favorable consideration to the appropriations bill coming before your committee in the near future which will include funding for the National Air & Space Museum building. A National center for aviation and aerospace history has long been needed, and the collection of the priceless group of artifacts now in the inadequate facilities of the Smithsonian Institution buildings in Washington and those at Silver Hill must be accorded a proper place for exhibit. It is a matter of record that a major proportion of the visitors to the Nation's Capitol each year, and especially to the Smithsonian Institu- tion, go particularly to see such famous aircraft as the Wright Brother' original airplane, Lindberg's "Spirit of St. Louis," the "Winnie Mae," and representatives of our magnificent space effort. This Society's 7,780 Members are very much interested in the progress of the National Air & Space Museum. We have supported its growth and purposes actively ever since our founding in 1956. We hope that you will personally vote for passage of the funding for the new building on the Mall, and that you will report the appropriation favorably to the full Senate. Sincerely yours, (signed) Harry S. Gann, Jr., President
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