Charles F. Blair Jr.
(July 19, 1909 – September 2, 1978) was a United States Air Force Brigadier General, United States Navy aviator Captain, a test pilot, an airline pilot, and airline owner.
Blair was born in Buffalo, New York. He learned to fly in San Diego and made his first solo flight at the age of 19. In 1931, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Vermont, and the following year was commissioned an Ensign as a naval aviator. He served with the Naval Reserves at the same time as flying for United Airlines for seven years. In 1940, Blair became a chief pilot at American Export Airlines, later renamed American Overseas Airlines, where he trained the pilots.
In World War II Blair flew with the Naval Air Transport Service and the Air Transport Command as well as being a test pilot for Grumman Aircraft, testing the Grumman F6F Hellcat, Grumman F7F Tigercat, Grumman F8F Bearcat and the Martin Mars flying boat.
Following the war, Blair commanded testing and the first scheduled flights of the Lockheed Constellation and Boeing Stratocruiser airliners of American Overseas Airlines as well as owning and operating Associated Air Transport, Inc. American Overseas Airlines merged with Pan American World Airways in 1950, with Blair becoming a Pan Am pilot.
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Solo Flight Over The North Pole
Red Ball in the Sky -
Charles F. Blair's story of his early flying career. An excellent read!
VI Daily News Supplement May 14, 1979
TROPIC - The Miami Hearld 10/7/73
Charlie & Duke at the St. Croix house on the hill.
Aero Digest / Sept. 1939 ad
Eclipse Aviation's engine accessories.
American Export Airlines where Charlie Blair was Chief Pilot.