C. J. BRUKNER
"This just happens to be the photo that he used for his Waco Company official photo ID card, and one he favored.I have several file drawers of his personal records and Weaver/Advance/Waco company records and files. A major figure, and influence, to be sure.."
Contributed by Joe Gertler, 7-1-12
from Nancy Mess, 7-9-11
Niece of O. E. Williams
My book describes how the 1915-1916 members of my late uncle's flying school in Fenton included Clayton J. Brukner and Elwood J. Junkin, two of the three 1919 founders for WACO (Weaver Aircraft Co.) in Ohio. Brukner and Junkin with Ed Goff (included on your website) graduated together in 1915 from the Battle Creek, MI highschool. Together they experimented with gliders and then motored aircraft.
Brukner and Junkin only had enough money for one of them to attend formal training and chose the O. E. Williams Flying School. They tossed a coin and Junkin won so he attended my late uncle's flight school while Brukner worked to support them both, however Brukner's non-work time was almost entirely spent with activities of the Williams Flying School and Manufacturing Co.
Ed Goff may have been there with them, however, I've not been able to confirm that fact.
While at the Williams Flying school, Brukner and Junkin met Edward Gerald "E. G." Knapp of Fenton. From there they gained employment with the Curtiss Mfg. Co., in Buffalo, NY Soon after they were accepted into the US Army Air Service. After the war all worked for the AeroMarine Plane and Motor for the AeroMarine Plane & Motor Co. in New Jersey, where they met Charles W. "Charlie" Meyers and George "Buck" Weaver, brother-in-laws. (Weaver is currently listed on your website) After there they eventually all met up again in 1919 in Ohio. Ed Knapp continue his association with them as a sales representative for the WACO aircraft. Meyers, Knapp and Brukner all were involved with the annual air tours with WACO being the leading contender.
Simultaneous to Brukner and Junkin being at my uncle's flying school was Cyrus Bettis and J. Thad Johnson, both of which are included on your website. Bettis and Johnson also spent their careers near, or with each other until their untimely deaths.
All of these above mentioned men soloed long before Dec 1916.
Thank you for hearing me out. As you may recall the focus of my project was to ensure that facts are recorded as accurate as possible about these Early Birds. Getting documentation readied for Brukner's enshrinement nomination was intensely researched.
Have a good evening,
(7-9-11), you will find about 1,810 links. A good place to start is the following.
A Pioneer Aviation story of
O.E. Williams and His Associates
Nancy Lynn Mess
Paper: 406 pages; 230 B & W images
Size: 6" x 9" x .93"
Publisher: William Martin Press
MEN, WIND and COURAGE, A Pioneer Aviation Story of O. E. Williams and His Associates,” by Nancy Lynn Mess. Soon to be released, MEN, WIND and COURAGE, presents the characteristic spirit and accomplishments experienced by a number of pioneer aviators for man’s newest invention the aeroplane. Amongst them was O.E. Williams, whose pioneer contributions to the science of aviation are unknown today. Mr. Williams, a highly ambitious man, with his progressive efforts and strong enthusiasm, along with others like him are what transformed aviation from its infancy into its advanced science of today.
The career of O.E. Williams is revealed along with those who were affected by his passion for aviation. Mr. Williams, a talented engineer who changed his vocation to focus on aviation, was a strong advocate for safety with innovative results. Williams’s activities took place at Scranton, Pennsylvania; Fenton, Michigan; and Mobile, Alabama.
MEN, WIND and COURAGE offers many photos and text of the various Williams aircraft, flight schools, manufacturing facilities, hangars, flight-speedometer, patents, and the personal side of this remarkable man. Mr. Williams was the stellar attraction of the Patterson Aviators who were in popular demand throughout the midwestern states and lower Canada. To appeal to many interests this book focuses on description for events and experiences rather than technicalities. Many of the men lived beyond Mr. Williams’s lifetime. Elwood J. Junkin and Clayton J. Brukner evolved the WACO airplanes. A number of exclusive interior photos are presented of the WACO factory. Lt. Cyrus Bettis established many military aviation firsts. Others, such as Russell B. North, never lost the passion for aviation. And contracted pilots Elling O. Weeks, C. Ray Benedict, and Al Boshek all had their trials and tribulations with their exhibition flights in the Williams Aeroplanes.
Those featured are:
Advance Aircraft Co.
ROBERT T. ARMSTRONG
C. RAY BENEDICT
CLAYTON J. BRUKNER
WALTER H. DAVIDSON
First Aero Squadron
Fenton Historical Society
A. F. FERGESON
GEORGE M. FRENCH
ANTHONY “Tony” HOESEL
J. THAD JOHNSON
EDGAR L. KEULING
LUKE LEROY “Roy” LATSHAW
EARL B. LOPP
NEW YORK TIMES Aerial Derby
ALFRED F. NORENBERG
RUSSELL B. NORTH
Alderman RAY PARKER
JOHN T. PATTERSON
W. E. PRICE
SID (Alphonso, Miron, Myron) ROBBERTS
Waco Aircraft Company
ELLING O. WEEKS
OSBERT E. and INEZ WILLIAMS
Williams Aeroplane Company and School
SAMUEL GEORGE “BABE” WILLMERT
LEROY “Roy” WILSON
Although every effort is made to provide accurate information in this publication, we would appreciate readers calling our attention to any errors by writing us at:
Nancy Mess, author
William Martin Press
P.O. Box 3984
Ithaca, NY 14852-3984
Brukner died Dec. 26, 1977 at the age of 81
If you have any more information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper