1. Educational Projects
Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship Winter 2022
The Aviation Foundation will award a $2,500 Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship to a Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics student, residing in Western Pennsylvania. The awardee becomes eligible for an additional $1,000 in their 7th quarter from P.I.A for a total grant of $3,500.
Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship Fall 2021
The Aviation Foundation awarded the $2,500 Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship to Braden Brunson on November 24, 2021. Congratulations to Mr. Brunson, the new Aviation Maintenance Technician, currently in the 6th quarter at Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics.
Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship Spring 2021
TAF awarded the March 2021 Clifford Ball Memorial Scholarship to 6th quarter P.I.A. student, Brian Saylor, Bridgeville, PA, Mr. Saylor graduated as an A.M.T. in June 2021 and received several job offers prior to program completion!
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.
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.
“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.
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. It's 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.
Significance: Contract Airmail Route
History: Miss Pittsburgh Biplane
3. Providing First Flights to interested youth.
4. Presenting aviation seminars to interested high schools
Projects for 2022
5. Sponsoring 12-14 and 15-18 age groups for the Space Camp, Fighter Pilot Training, and Cyber Camp Programs in Huntsville, AL.
6. Sponsoring high school aerospace science projects through the Carnegie Science Center