Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Col Stanley M. Umstead 1895-1958

Col Stanley Milward Umstead was a native of Fleming Co., KY and entered the service in 1917 graduating from the first Air Corps officer training course; once called the dean of all Army pilots flying 350 different types of experimental planes, from jennies to the first trainer for jets. He was test pilot for the first B19 world's largest military aircraft in the early 1940s. He retired in 1951 and lived on a farm near Dayton, OH.

The first flight of the XB-19 took place from Clover Field in Santa Monica on June 27, 1941 with a crew of seven captained by Major Stanley M. Umstead. On its first flight, it was flown to March Field and turned over to the Army for evaluation. Such was the degree of popular enthusiasm aroused by the XB-19 "Super-Bomber" that President Franklin Roosevelt himself telegraphed congratulations to Donald Douglas for this achievement.
This original piece of mail was on board as the B-19 made its first flight from Santa Monica to March Field on June 27, 1941.