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Early Curtiss Pilot - Instructor

Lawrence Leon was born in Torino, Italy, June 15, 1889, but information is lacking concerning his early life, education and occupations. He came to the United States in 1913, and in early 1915 was employed by Curtiss at Buffalo, New York, when the Curtiss Company moved some of their operations there to expand facilities.

During the summer of 1916 he decided he wanted to learn to fly and received instruction on a JN-4D airplane at the Curtiss Buffalo Flying School. Phil Rader and Walter Lees were instructors at that time. Leon was one of seventeen students to complete the course, and obtained F.A.I. Pilot License No. 589, dated September 27, 1916. He was then assigned to the Curtiss Newport News, Virginia, flying school as an instructor in October. 

Leon remained there until August, 1917, when he joined the civilian flying instructor service of the Signal Corps, Aviation Section, United States Army at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas. Later he was transferred to Call Field, Wichita Falls, Texas, where he remained until the Armistice ending World War I. 

Returning to the Curtiss Company he soon became engaged in airplane sales demonstrations. In April, 1919, he delivered a new Curtiss flying boat to pioneer aviator Earl Ovington at Atlantic City, flying to New Jersey from Rockaway Beach, Long Island.

In July the Curtiss Company sent Leon, C. W. Webster, and Orton Hoover to South America to set up sales and demonstration agencies at various points for the Curtiss Airplane Export Company. In August Leon was stationed in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He remained there for some time where his work was very successful. He sold many planes, taught scores of students and made a host of warm friends. He remained with the Curtiss organization in various capacities until 1940 when he gave up flying and moved to Palo Alto, California, where he 

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