George Gay
George Gay

G-MAN OF THE AIR.George Gay's been flying for 38 years, knows planes inside out. On 24-hour call, he's first official to reach a crash scene.
by R. Magruder Dobie

     Ten thousand feet over central California the big transcontinental passenger plane disappeared into a dark cloud. All was well aboard. The radio operator had just acknowledged a routine message from the airline. Ship was in level flight. Engines working normally. No high mountains in the area.
     A few minutes later the cloud began raining bits of plane wreckage over a four-mile area. There were no survivors. Some of the bodies of the 24 passengers and crew were found a mile apart. The biggest piece of the ship consisting of center section pilot's compartment, part of a wing, landing gear and engines, plunged straight down and burst into flames as it dug into the earth.
     One by one every possible situation was assumed and promptly disproved. No indication of mechanical failure. No evidence of explosion, fire or collision with another ship. No sign of damage by lightining or hail. Perhaps fate had conceived the insoluble accident.
       Not quite. Like a criminal it had left its mark. Analysis of the charred seat belts indicated they had been torn by an upward force. Under the microscope, bits of the left wing showed it had given way in a downward direction with respect to the fuselage.
To read the rest of this fascinating article, click on:

Fledgling EBs Introduced to Society Old-Timers
     From the Secretary of the Early Birds there comes to Chirp a series of thumbnail sketches of some of the new members, taken into the organization since the last issue of this infamous sheet.
     Eastern EBs are tickled over the inclusion of George Gay, Department of Commerce inspector. And why not? George soloed in a single-seater airship powered with a twin Indian engine, at Wabash, Ind., in 1910. Then he switched to heavier-than-air, back to airships 1910-1913, back airplanes with the Navy 1913-1917, Army 1918, barnstorming 1919-1922, back to the Navy, and finally to the Bureau of Air Commerce doing engineering test work on new types. Hope he stays in the EBs longer than he has stayed in any one place before.
courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir

via email from James L. Dowsey 111, 11-27-06
     It was a delight for my dayghter to find this information on my Uncle ( through marriage) George Gay. He was married to my favorite aunt, Dorothy Dowsey. George Gay apparently died where I was born, 44 George Street, Manhasset, NY. My father was also born there, as were my children. It was my Grandfather, James L. Dowsey's large home, .
     I rembember as a young child George Gay taking me for a ride in a WWII jeep down a cobbleskill road and letting me drive down the hill, I was timid and he let go of the wheel. Since I had no other choice, I knew he investigated air crashes, but very little else.
Thank you so much,
James L. Dowsey 111
Ellicottville, NY

George Gay

Pioneer Flyer Often Was First Government Officer to Reach Crash Scenes.
     George Gay, fifty-six, pioneer aviator and chief of the New York-Middle Atlantic States region of the Safety Bureau, Civil Aeronautics Board, died Friday night at the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital, 120 Kingsbridge Road, the Bronx. He lived at 44 Goerge Street, Manhasset, L. I. He underwent an operation Friday for a lung congestion following an attack of pneumonia.
     During the last two years Mr. Gay usually was the first government official to reach the scene of a major air crash. He was on twenty-four-hour call and when news of an air accident reached him he would seize a brief case, camera and steel measuring tape and proceed by the fastest travel means available to conduct an investigation.
      He and several colleagues hiked over some of the roughest terrain in North America to make the initial inspection of the crash which killed thirty-nine persons in October, 1946, near Stephenville, Newfoundland. His work helped to solve the cause of many crashes.
      Mr. Gay was a personal friend of the late Wilbur and Orville Wright and took part in many pioneering dirigible Balloon flights with Frank Goodale from Palisades, N. J., in the early days of aviation. Mr. Gay became a heavier-than-air pilot in 1910 and was a veteran of both the Army Air Corps and the Navy Air Arm.
      During World War I he was among the first group of exhibition pilots to join the Air Corps. He served with the navy in the Pacific during World War II as a commanding officer of a carrier air-support unit, with the rank of lieutenant commander. Previously in 1927 and 1928, he had been on active duty with the navy Bureau of Aeronautics.
      Mr. Gay also was a flying revenue officer for the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 1926 and was an air safety investigator for the independent Air Safety Board and for the Department of Commerce for more than ten years.
      Among the organizations to which Mr. Gay belonged are the Quiet Birdmen, the Early Birds and the Wings Club.
      Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Dorothy Dowsey Gay, and four children by a previous marriage; First Lieutenant Greenwood Gay, of San Antonio, Tex.; Kenneth Gay, Miss Barbara Gay and Mrs. John Frosio, of Pensacola, Fla.
      Funeral services for Mr. Gay will be held a 1 p. m. tomorrow in the Chapel of the Bronx Veteran's Administration Hospital. Burial will be in Pine Lawn Cemetery,
This newsclipping and photograph
was kindly provided by
William L. Estes, LCdr. USN (Ret)

Editor's Note:
If you have any information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper
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