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From the Flying Pioneers Biographies of Harold E. Morehouse

John w. McClaskey 
Pioneer Curtiss Pilot - Instructor

John W. McClaskey was born at Toledo, Iowa, February 15th, 1877. Information is lacking concerning his early life and education, but he eventually enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where in due course he advanced to Lieutenant. This continued until he had served his period of enlistment, when he resigned from the Service. After a period in civilian life he re-enlisted for recruiting duty.
While in this duty he became interested in aviation when he was detailed to attend the San Francisco Meet held at Selfridge Field January 7 to 16, 1911. This meet was of his military nature and McClaskey was to assist with the preparations for Ely's attempt to fly out to the U.S.S. 'Pennsylvania" in the harbor, land, then take off and return to the flying field. At that time McClaskey determined to learn to fly.
In June McClaskey obtained a leave from his Navy duties to learn to fly, and attended the Curtiss Flying School at Hammondsport, New York starting in July. There through the summer and fall months he took both land and water instruction and became a careful, well trained pilot. At that time the school was using the side-by-side seating for instructor and student, with the shift over control arrangement, and much of McClaskey's training was by Mr. Curtiss himself. In November the school moved to their North Island base at San Diego, California.

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