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ROBERT H. HINCKLEY

Posted 5/15/2007 Printable Fact Sheet
 
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Robert Hinkcley
Robert H. Hinckley, started Pacific Airways in Ogden in 1927. Under his leadership Pacific Airways led the way in a number of innovations in flight, including the air-dropping of supplies to forest fire fighting crews and the airborne census of big game. The company also established an outstanding record of 10 years without a fatal accident.
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Civil Aeronautics Authority

Robert H. Hinckley was born in Fillmore, Utah, on June 8, 1892. He first flew in 1913 with famous aviatrix Melli Beese while in Berlin, Germany. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1916 and started Pacific Airways in Ogden in 1927. Under his leadership Pacific Airways led the way in a number of innovations in flight, including the air-dropping of supplies to forest fire fighting crews and the airborne census of big game. The company also established an outstanding record of 10 years without a fatal accident.

In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Hinckley to the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA), the forerunner of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). His first project was to oversee the construction of Washington National Airport in the nation's capital. (Under his leadership the airport was built by 1940, well ahead of schedule and in record time.) 

In 1939, the President appointed Hinckley Chairman of the CAA and called upon him to make a reality of Hinckley's greatest dream for aviation: an educational base from which aviation could grow. This vision was manifested in the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP).

The CPTP enlisted the support of colleges and universities to provide ground and flight training for young men and women in order to build not only the basis for military pilots, but for pilots to enter private and commercial aviation as well. By the end of 1939, there were more than 9,000 students active in programs at 435 institutions of higher learning. 

High school programs were also developed to give interested youth the necessary background and introduction to flight courses. By the end of June 1942 the CPTP had trained more than 98,000 pilots. Many of these went on to serve in World War II as frontline pilots, as well as ferry and transport pilots in non-combat areas. The program was instrumental in training a number of women as well as men. 

It also included members of all races and was the reason that the "Tuskegee [University] Airmen," the African American fighter pilots of World War II fame, came into being. Without the foresight and drive provided by Robert H. Hinckley, the United States would have been woefully short of pilots in the early years of World War II. The CPTP was largely absorbed by military pilot training by 1943 and ended in 1946.








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