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16  Early Curtiss Pilot - Instructor

James M. Johnson was born at Helena, Arkansas, July 19[[strikethrough]]th[[strikethrough]], 1885. He attended a private school at Helena and later public school at Oberlin, Ohio, and graduated with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University in 1907.

He became interested in aviation and entered the Curtiss Flying School at North Island, San Diego, California, in late 1914, and after completing the course became an instructor at the school, remaining there until [[strikethrough]]into[[strikethrough]] late spring of 1916. On February 23, 1916, Johnson became a member of the Aero Club of America, and while at North Island he obtained F.A.I. Pilot License No. 329 on June 23, 1915.

In 1916 Johnson was transferred to the Newport News, Virginia Curtiss School where he remained as an instructor until June, 1917. He was one of those who taught then-Major "Billy" Mitchell to fly. Johnson obtained Aero Club of America Expert Aviator License No. 178 on March 21, 1917. 

In June, 1917, Johnson became civilian test pilot for the United States Government at Langley Field, Hampton, Virginia, and was there until October, 1917, when he was transferred to McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio, where he served as a civilian test pilot until April, 1921.

At that time Johnson became associated with the Johnson Aeroplane & Supply

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