Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vance Breese 1904-1973

Vance Breese was born in Keystone, WA, April 20, 1904. He states his education as, "Various engineering extension courses." With those, he spent his life in aviation. Between 1927-34 he was president of Breese Aircraft Company (which went through several iterations of geographic location, name and organizational structure during those years) and the Detroit Aircraft Company.

Two of his airplanes were famous. The Breese named "Aloha" took 2nd place in the 1927 Dole Race from California to Hawaii. It was painted yellow and red. The "Pabco Pacific Flyer" was also a participant in the Dole Race, but crashed upon takeoff. During 1933-34 he moved to California and worked for Northrop Corporation as test pilot. He demonstrated the Northrop Navy fighter, and performed test flights for Fokker. In 1937 he worked for Bennett Aircraft Corp. as VP and test pilot.

He was the test pilot at North American Aviation when the P-51 Mustang was developed and was its first test pilot on October 26, 1940.