|Ivan P. Wheaton, 1916.||Ivan P. Wheaton, 1962.||Ivan P. Wheaton, 1973.|
As I had very little experience on landings, I decided to go to the Curtiss School of Newport News, Virginia. Capt. Thomas Scott Baldwin, manager and friend of Glenn Curtiss, made me a proposition. --- be Walter Lee's mechanic and give him $150 and they would make me into a real pilot. So from early April until early June 1, I did hundreds of landings to a buoy and figure eights galore in another F boat with Glenn Curtiss' original control wheel to rudder, and shoulder yoke for ailerons. Also the boat had a foot throttle. They gave me a letter of recommendation as a careful pilot and a mechanic who could take care of his plane as well, signed by Walter Lees and Capt. Baldwin; also a beautiful diploma from the Curtiss School of Aviation.
Wilbur Wright Field began to grow as the war continued. We watched it as block after block of hangars, houses, barracks, and so on were completed and hundreds of men arrived daily to take up duty there.
The air seemed literally full of airplanes, a strange new experience for us. Up to a short time ago, the sight of more than one or two airplanes aloft at once was a rare occurance. Flying schools and training centers were springing up all over the nation and this one near Dayton, the first complete aviation training center to go into operation, was teeming with activity. As the need arose, civilian pilots were hired. Among them were Victor Vernon, Walter Lees, Ernest Hall, Ivan P. Wheaton, Earl Southee and many others.