A Bit of Flying History

My grandfather was born in 1898 in the Oklahoma Territory. He spent his childhood riding a horse, wearing a gun on his hip and creating havoc on the ground, but he had a fascination with the sky. He made his way to Prescott, Arizona and caught the eye of my grandmother when she saw him working as a mechanic on automobiles. By 1925 my grandfather mail ordered a Curtiss-Wright Airplane and put it together himself. In the same year he married my grandmother in Northern Arizona. My grandmother, who was just 18, held claim that she parachuted out of his plane after they were married.

In 1939 my grandfather flew his way to the World Fair in a single engine plane from Arizona to New York. He and my grandmother obviously survived their crazy antics or I wouldn’t be here telling this story. (and you thought your kids were crazy) My grandparents had two daughters, one being my mother.

World War II broke out and my grandfather and his brother went to Dallas Texas for one lesson in flying and my grandfather became the Director of Southwest Airways. He was commissioned by the government to train flight instructors for the military and put on a military uniform. I could go on about all the famous people who enrolled to take flight training under the instruction of my grandfather during W W II, like Gene Autry, John Paine and Norma Shearer, but that is another story.

By 1946 my grandfather opened the first Flying Service in Arizona on Sky Harbor Airport. It was called Davis Flying Service. He taught many people how to fly airplanes, one of those people was my father. My father married my mother in 1947 and new world opened up to a man who fought on the ground as a sniper shooter in W W II in Europe. My father became a very successful and most respected Corporate Pilot in Arizona.
My grandparents were married for 62 years when my grandfather passed away and my parents were married for 56 years when my father passed away. Both men, are a legend in their own right and time to what they brought to the history of flying in this Country.


10 thoughts on “A Bit of Flying History

  1. Wow, amazing all the family history with your grandfather’s story already written on this page as history… Wonder what would be his take on your flights through cyberspace of today? I think he would be proud that you’ve kept up the family’s pioneering traditions. Nice work on your first world class WordPress blog, Kimberley. Best of Lucky:)

  2. I can hardly believe in my retirement, with not a whole lot to do I came across this blog about a man named Cliff Davis that taught me how to fly umteen years ago, written no less by his very own granddaughter. I also knew your father.

    It makes me sad that both of the best men on this planet are now gone.

    Will you please e-mail me with the details of the rest of their lives. I have always held them both in high regard. I am still dazed to find something on the internet about two people I knew and respected so well.

  3. I am still amazed that Cliff’s granddaughter is writing about his life. He taught me how fly when I was young. I am now retired and he has passed on, but I will never forget his dry sense of humor and not being shy about belting me one or two times in the plane. Thank you for the e-mail.

  4. Thank you Celtic Princess for attending my father, Jack’s funeral and speaking about the good ole days on the airport with your grandfather and father. That darn airport was Jack’s life.

    The most excitement he ever had since retiring was you asking him to help your daughter write a speech she had to give on flying. The most life I have seen out of him since his retirment was when your daughters teacher accused her of plagiarism after her speech and I had to take him to your daughters school so he could yell at her teacher. He told me that’s what your grandfather and father would have done. You brought life back into him he died happy knowing he got to give back to a child that is the Great- Granddaughter of Clifford Davis.

    Your an awesome lady and don’t ever let anybody think you aren’t.

    I have just one question. How did you ever tell such a great airport story at my Dad’s funeral, that made everybody cry even though it was so funny, and you maintained perfect composure until you walked outside?

    I also want to know how you can have all that fluid pouring out of your eyes and your make-up looks the same. You were the only female left with eye make-up in tact and I was wearing waterproof make-up that was smeared everywhere.

    Thank you a billion times over for being there.

    Love and Light to you and your Family.

  5. In days of searching the internet to help my son do a special interest report for school on the history of Flying, that wasn’t based on the Wright Brothers, I finally came across this blog.

    Celtic Princess is there anyway my son can utilize this history on flying for his report?

    I included my e-mail and will respect your wishes if the answer is no. Please let me know.


  6. John, you can’t change my family history, so you are more than welcome to use the historical information in this post that is also in the National Archives in Washington D.C. I will e-mail a newspaper article to include in your son’s report.

    If that isn’t enough, tell his teacher to read my blog, just so they know I gave your son permission to use factual History.

    Hope his teacher is more accepting than my daughters teacher was.

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