EDUCATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP
PRESERVING HISTORY

CURRENT PROJECTS

 1.  Educational Projects 2022-2023

Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship Program

Upcoming Award: January 2023

 

October 2022 Recipient: DeAndre Allen, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

School/Program: P.I.A; Aviation Maintenance Technician 

The Aviation Foundation presented DeAndre Allen with the $2,500.00 Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship.  In DeAndre’s own words, “becoming an Aircraft Maintenance Technician has been a dream if mine since I was a child.” TAF extends its most sincere congratulations to Mr. Allen, who graduated on October 4, 2022, and has accepted an AMT position with Delta Airlines in Atlanta, GA.

March 2022 Recipient: Jereme Thompson, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania 

School/Program: P.I.A; Aviation Maintenance Technician

 

Mr. Thompson determined he didn’t enjoy his chosen career field and chose to retrain as Aviation Maintenance Technician.  The Aviation Foundation presented Jereme Thompson with the $2,500.00 Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship on March 21, 2022. Jereme is an AMT with United Airlines.

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November 2021 Recipient: Braden Brunson, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

School/Program: P.I.A; Aviation Maintenance Technician 

Mr. Brunson wants to build a reputation and leave a legacy of maintaining aircraft to the highest standards!  The Aviation Foundation presented Braden Brunson with the $2,500.00 Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship on November 21, 2021! Braden works with GE.

Braden Brunson

March 2021 Recipient: Brian Saylor, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania

School/Program: P.I.A: Aviation Maintenance Technician 

Mr. Saylor determined he had chosen a career field he didn’t enjoy and decided to retrain as Aviation Maintenance Technician instead. The Aviation Foundation was pleased to present Brian Saylor with the $2,500.00 Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship on March 18, 2021! As of October 2022, Mr. Saylor has worked with Republic Airlines for over two years!

Brian Saylor
 

Preserving History

2. Miss Pittsburgh

TAF donated $5,000 to The Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, PA, to fund and display one of the original five airmail aircraft, “Miss Pittsburgh,” a Waco 9 single-engine tailwheel aircraft that is currently suspended from the ceiling of the (KPIT) Pittsburgh International Airport Passenger Terminal.

 

The Weaver Aircraft Co. began in 1920 in Troy, Ohio. Not long after the name was changed to the WACO Aircraft Company, that company lasted until 1947. Miss Pittsburgh is a WACO 9 biplane. This model first flew in 1925 and incorporated some design improvements over previous models. A major improvement was that the fuselage and tail were constructed using steel tubing rather than wood, providing better strength and rigidity. 270 Model 9's were built from 1925 to 1926.  They had two cockpits, one two-place cockpit in the front and the pilot's single-seat cockpit in the rear. They were powered by the venerable Curtiss OX-5 eight-cylinder engine, producing 90 HP.  The top speed was 90 MPH, and the cruise speed was 65 MPH. Its handling characteristics found it sluggish in roll control due to the fact that it only had ailerons on the upper wings. Pilots compensated for this by leading with the rudder when banking to make turns.

 

These early aircraft had only rudimentary flight instruments and no radios. Pilots navigated by following roads or railroads, and they also used dead reckoning for cross-country travel. Forced landings were not an uncommon occurrence. When bad weather set in, pilots were forced to land on any suitable terrain available. The engine only had a single magneto to fire the spark plugs. Modern aircraft have two for redundancy. 

 

There are only a handful of these planes in existence today.  We are fortunate that one of these rare airplanes from a bygone era is displayed at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Records indicate that there may be only two Model 9's still flying today.

History: Miss Pittsburgh Biplane

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Significance: Contract Airmail Route 

Clifford Ball (November 29, 1891 – June 2, 1972), a native of McKeesport, PA, was the owner of the airline which flew the first regular airmail route in the United States.

Ball started Clifford Ball Airlines, Inc. in 1927 with seven biplanes based out of Bettis field, near Pittsburgh. He was awarded Contract Airmail Route 11 by the Federal government (on March 21, 1926), and Ball sent the first airmail flight off on April 27, 1927.
The route was Pittsburgh -> Youngstown -> Cleveland (a distance of 121 miles) and back.

The pilot on the first airmail flight was named Merle Moltrup, and the name of the plane was Miss Pittsburgh.

“Miss Youngstown” was destroyed in a crash, leaving four original Waco 9’s airmail planes. 

This marked the birth of commercial aviation and ultimately led to air travel as we know it today.

Luscombe A

“The Luscombe 8 is a series of high-wing, side-by-side-seating monoplanes with conventional gear, designed in 1937 and built by Luscombe Aircraft”. 1

 

This LUSCOMBE A fuselage, serial #801, was donated to The Aviation Foundation and kept in dry storage for over twenty years.  Myles Lilley diligently worked to find a proper home and met Mark Anderson, Anderson Aviation in Missouri in 2020.  Since Mr. Anderson was searching for this serial number, he made the trip to retrieve this fuselage and is currently in the process of a full restoration.

 

The update per Mark Anderson as of June 2022, “We are to the point of making the 4 lower skins for the fuselage. They are different from the later ‘normal’ Luscombe’s.  We have to make them from 2024-0 and then get them heat treated. I have the metal cut to size, just need the time to make them.  The tail and ailerons are completely rebuilt, and the wings are close to covering”.

 

The Luscombe is planned for current production!  “June 19th, 2019, is a very interesting day to look back on. I think at least ten people asked Steve Testrake … if we were sure we wanted to take on the challenge to bring back the Luscombe production. The answer was a definite yes and yes”. 2

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luscombe_8

2 https://www.luscombeair.com/post/the-new-luscombe

PROJECTS 2022-2023

1. Providing First Flights to interested youth.

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2.  Sponsoring 12-14 and 15-18 age groups for the Space Camp, Fighter Pilot Training, and Cyber Camp Programs in Huntsville, AL.​

3. Providing local high schools with professional aviation-related STEM programs

4. Preserving Western Pennsylvania's rich aviation history by interviewing local aviation legends for a documentary/ documentary series.