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       “Pioneers In Aviation: The Race to the Moon”



Aviation Pioneers:

                    William Boeing
                    Donald Douglas
                    Dutch Kindelberger
                    James McDonnell



Filmmakers:

                  William Winship— Producer/Director/Writer/Editor
                  Robert Douglas—Associate Producer
                  Brad Curtis—Narrator


                         William Edward Boeing
                                  1881 – 1956


      Perhaps the greatest visionary among the pioneers of the aviation industry,
William Edward Boeing foresaw a national air transportation system a full decade
before any of his contemporaries—and promptly set about creating it. In 1903,
Boeing left Yale University for the Pacific Northwest to make his mark in the
timber business. Emerging from the woods in 1908 with his fortune intact, he
became smitten by the new science of aviation.


       By 1916, William Boeing had founded his own company and had begun
manufacturing seaplanes for the U.S. military. Following the aviation industry‟s
collapse at the end of the First World War, Boeing kept his employees busy
building furniture and speed boats. His perseverance paid off. By the late 1920s,
Boeing was carrying thirty percent of the nation‟s airmail and the majority of U.S.
airline passengers across the western United States. The company was no longer
simply building planes. William Boeing was now running a thriving air transport
service and maintaining a fleet of airplanes—along with a school for pilots and
maintenance crews.


       At the height of the Depression, the government ordered the aviation
holding companies to break up—leaving Boeing‟s corporation in pieces and his
vision of a national transport system dashed. In 1935, he sold all his stock in the
company he had built and left the industry. As the „40s dawned, however,
President Roosevelt called upon the captains of his aviation industry to become
“the arsenal of Democracy”—and William Boeing returned to lend his counsel
and expertise to American military and aviation leaders as they scrambled to
prepare the country for World War II.
                               Donald Wills Douglas
                                    1892 - 1981

       In 1908, at the age of sixteen, Donald Douglas witnessed the Wright Brothers‟
famous U.S. Army Signal Corps demonstration at Fort Myer, Virginia—an event that
shaped his life. In the following year, as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy,
Douglas began building model planes and testing them secretly in the Academy
armory. By 1912, he had transferred to M.I.T., becoming the country‟s first graduate
student in aeronautical engineering. In 1915, he accepted the position of Chief
Engineer at one of America‟s foremost aviation companies. By 1917, Donald
Douglas had been appointed to direct America‟s aviation manufacturing effort in
World War I. He was twenty-five years old.


       Moving to Los Angeles in 1920, Donald Douglas founded the Douglas
Aircraft Company. In 1924, U.S. Army aviators electrified the world as they piloted
four Douglas World Cruisers in the first “Around-the-World-Flight.” In the 1930s,
Douglas produced the legendary DC-3, the most popular commercial airliner of the
20th Century. In the 1940s, as the recognized leader of American aviation
manufacturers, Douglas organized a coalition of American plane builders—whose
extraordinary production of warplanes ultimately gave the Allies air supremacy in
World War II. In the 1950s, Douglas‟s DC-8 battled head-to-head with the Boeing
707 for leadership as the world‟s premier commercial jetliner. And in the 1960s, it
was Douglas engineers who built the upper-stage of the massive Saturn V rocket that
carried the Apollo astronauts to the Moon.


       In a moving reminiscence, captured on film in the 1950s (see Episode I),
Donald Douglas recounts the moment in 1908 when Orville Wright climbed into his
fragile craft in the fading afternoon light, started the engine, and sent it down its
wooden launching track.
                 James Howard (“Dutch”) Kindelberger
                                   1895 - 1962

      James Howard Kindelberger was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1895,
the son of a German-American steelworker. In 10th grade, he quit school and
followed his father into the Wheeling steel mills—then immediately began plotting
his escape. Working by day and studying at night, Dutch managed to pass the
entrance exams to Carnegie Tech. From 1917 to 1918, he served as a World War I
pilot. At the end of the war, Kindelberger was hired as a draftsman for the Glenn L.
Martin Company—and found himself working under the country‟s foremost
aviation expert, Donald Douglas.


      Forging a lifetime friendship with Donald Douglas, Kindelberger served as Vice
President of Engineering at Douglas Aircraft—where he led the development of the
DC-1 and DC-2. In 1934, North American Aviation asked him to take over as
president—and Dutch rapidly built the company into one of the world‟ leading aircraft
manufacturers. In the 1940s, North American Aviation produced two of the Second
World War‟s most storied warplanes: the B-25 Mitchell bomber and the P-51
Mustang.


      Following the war, Dutch built America‟s first swept-wing jet fighter, the
legendary F-86 Sabre Jet—which overwhelmingly defeated the Russian-built MIGs
as they battled in the skies over Korea. But it was Kindelberger‟s visionary foresight
that distinguishes him as one of America‟s greatest aerospace pioneers. Reshaping
his company‟s mission in the post-war era, Dutch pioneered U.S. rocket research in
the 1950s. In 1958, North American Aviation rolled out the X-15 Rocket—the
critical step between the domain of jet aviation and manned space flight. And in July
1969, under North American leadership, the Apollo Moon Landing was successfully
achieved.
                           James Smith McDonnell
                                    1899 - 1980

       James Smith McDonnell was born in 1899, in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he
delivered copies of the Arkansas Gazette on horseback every morning before school.
In 1917, he enrolled at Princeton University—and promptly traded his money for a
winter coat for his first ride with a barnstormer in a rickety biplane. His passion for
aviation was kindled at that moment.


       By 1925, McDonnell had earned a Masters Degree in aeronautical
engineering from MIT and enlisted in the Army Air Service to learn how to fly.
He was awarded his pilot‟s wings at Brooks Field, Texas, and was one of six
volunteers to make the first airplane parachute jump—leaping off the wing of a
DeHavilland biplane.


       By 1939, James McDonnell was ready to start his own company. Settling
down in St. Louis, he founded McDonnell Aircraft on the 2nd floor of a building
at Lambert Field. Surrounding himself with first-class engineers, McDonnell
proceeded to develop a series of the finest jet fighters in the world—with names
like Phantom, Voodoo, and Banshee.


At the same time, McDonnell plowed more than 80% of his company‟s profits
back into research & development. By the late 1950s, when NASA officials
announced competitive bids for the first manned space capsule, McDonnell
engineers already had one on the drawing boards. Mr. Mac personally oversaw
every element of the Mercury and Gemini Space programs—superintending the
critical early stages of America‟s Race to the Moon.
Producer/Director/Writer/Editor — William Winship
       A veteran of ten years in professional theatre before he made his first film,
William Winship has won numerous awards as a playwright and stage director on
both sides of the Atlantic—staging plays in Seattle, Edinburgh, and London. As a
playwright, he received the prestigious Stanley Kramer Award, and served artistic
residencies both in the U.S. and in England—serving as Seattle Arts Commission
“Artist-in-Residence” in Seattle, and as “Playwright-in-Residence” at the Trinity
Theatre in Kent.
       As a screenwriter and film director, William Winship has garnered major
awards at two international film festivals (“Silver Award” at the Victoria
International Film Festival, and “2nd Place” at the Northwest Film Festival) for
his first film, the 30-minute drama, WINDOWS—which was later aired on
PBS. (WINDOWS was co-produced/directed/written/edited by William
Winship and Seattle filmmaker Susan McNally. The screenplay for
WINDOWS was adapted from Susan McNally‟s biographical short story,
“Windows.”)
       Working as a documentary filmmaker, Winship was honored with a 2002
EMMY nomination as Writer/Director of the original 90-minute PBS
documentary “PIONEERS IN AVIATION.”


Associate Producer — Robert Douglas
      Robert Douglas has worked as a licensed attorney—with seventeen years‟ legal
experience and ten years in production and production law. Mr. Douglas served as
Producer for the original 90-minute documentary, “PIONEERS IN AVIATION,” and
as Associate Producer on the short film, “WINDOWS.”


Narrator — Brad Curtis
Brad Curtis is an actor and singer who, for the past 20 years, has appeared in
major roles in regional theater productions from Seattle to Houston. Mr. Curtis
makes his home in Northern California. For more information, visit
www.bradcurtis.net.

				
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posted:10/18/2011
language:English
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