Orton W. Hoover
Aero Club of America, New York, N.Y.
from Ellington, 1918
Among those who made the Air Service possible, are--
Orton W. Hoover--Father of the Brazilian naval air service, for which he has received official credit. Started night flying at Ellington Field. Has had more than 800 hours at night without a single mishap.
from Ellington, 1918
Courtesy of Gary D. White

Scraggs & Hoover
       Orton W. Hoover (right) pays a visit to the states after a long sojourn in Brazil. Here he is with George Scragg and the latter's plane in which they took a flight together. Note the prominent EB wings on the plane.
from the Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP January 1956, Number 52
EB's Here and There
     Early Bird Orton W. Hoover, who has been domiciled in Brazil for many years and has seen a lot of flying there, came back to this country this fall for an extensive visit. Orton and Ye Editor had a nice visit and even had a flight together in the latter's ship so that Orton could get the feel of a light craft again.
     More recently we received a letter from his daughter indicating that he had been ill in a Baltimore hospital for a time, but is now feeling fine again and is presently located in Washington. He plans to go back to Brazil later on and can be located there through the American Embassy.
from the Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP January 1956, Number 52

by Mauro Lins de Barros
via email, September 19, 2002
     I am a researcher on the history of Brazilian Naval Aviation. As one of the important early names is Orthon Hoover, from time to time I attempt to find more about him. Today, the catch was your page, Hoover.
     Perhaps some additional info may be of interest:
     Orthon Hoover apparently first came to Brazil in mid-1916 as a Curtiss representative to the Brazilian Navy which had just purchased three "F" boats to innaugurate the Naval Aviation School (Escola de Aviação Naval - EAvN). It seems that, in spite of being a trained mechanic, he did not hold a pilot's license. That he was an able pilot is evident, however, as he was the instructor to the first naval aviators, starting with 1st. Lt. Raul Ferreira Vianna Bandeira, 1st. Lt. Antonio Augusto Schorcht and 2nd. Lt. Victor de Carvalho e Silva in October of the same year.
     He also flew some notable flights, as the first Rio de Janeiro-Ilha Grande raid on October 12, 1916. In 1917, Lt. Schorcht graduated as an instructor and Hoover's importance in the EAvN gradually diminished. It is not clear when he left. In 1919 he was hired by the State of São Paulo to train pilots in the new aviation branch of São Paulo's Public Force (a kind of paramilitary police). He was an inspiring force behind the project to build aircraft locally, the first of which was named, appropriately, the "São Paulo".
     From then on, I lost track of him. Sometime, he changed the spelling of his name to "Orton" and married a brazilian lady. In 1932, during the Paulista (i.e. São Paulo's) revolution, he flew with the rebel (i.e. paulista's) forces and bombed the naval river monitor Pernambuco, an ironic twist to a former Naval Aviation instructor. It seems likely that he became a brazilian citizen, but this is not clear to me.
     Excuse me for the lengthy email. You may, of course, use it at your convenience.
     Congratulations on a nice and informative site.
Truly yours,
Mauro Lins de Barros
Editor's Note:
     I am truly grateful to Mauro for sharing this bit of information on several of the pioneer Brazilian aviators. If by chance you have any other information, which might help both of us to tell their stories, we would love to hear from you.
     The reference to the Curtiss "F" boat was especially exciting for me. It was my father-in-law, Walter E. Lees, who flew that plane during the first years of his career. If you are interested in that phase of his life, please click on:

by Mauro Lins de Barros
via email, June 14, 2003
Dear Ralph:
     Since my last email, ages ago, I found more info on Hoover. It was sitting just there on my brother's bookshelf!
     The source is "História da Construção Aeronáutica no Brasil" by Roberto Pereira de Andrade and Antônio Ermete Piochi, Aquarius Editora e Distribuidora de Livros Ltda., São Paulo, 1982. I am afraid it is not easily available, if at all.
     I also had the pleasure of meeting the daughters of Protógenes Giumarães, the first commander of the Brazilian Naval Aviation School, and Antonio Augusto Schorcht, who got his wings from Orthon Hoover in 1917. While both are in fine health, it seems that they have little in the way of old photos.
     More details on Orton William Hoover;
     After the US entered the war in 1917, Hoover left the Naval Aviation School and returned home. He was back in Brazil in September 1919, with three new aircraft and a commission as the representative of Curtiss Aircraft. In São Paulo, he persuaded the authorities to build a new airfield and create the "Escola de Aviação de Força Pùblica de São Paulo". This airfield is the present-day Campo de Marte, an Air Force base.
     Next year he founded the "Escola Hoover de Pilotagem" in Indianópolis, a suburb of São Paulo. This school operated until 1922 when he went to Rio de Janeiro to participate in the commemorations of the centenary of the Independence. There, he founded a new school, the "Escola de Pilotos do Ar".
     In 1924, he closed the school and travelled to the United States. He came back the next year, taking root in São Paulo. Immediately, he helped create the "Esquadrilha de Aviação da Força Pública". In 1928, Hoover became the driving force if not the originator of a group that designed and built the "São Paulo", a single-engine trainer about which little information exists. It was used during the 1932 revolution.
     Then, Hoover joined a group of aviation enthusiasts which included Fritz Roeslere and Henrique Santos-Dumont, nephew of Alberto Santos-Dumont to create the "EAY-Empresa Aeronáutica Ypiranga" in 1931. The object of the new conceren was the design, construction and sale of aircraft. Political instability and the lack of an industrial base, however, doggeg the EAY. Two glider were designed and produced in small numbers, followed by the "Ypiranga" in 1935, a high-wing light plane much like the Piper Cub. The EAY did not survive for long, but the design of the "Ypiranga" was sold and formed the basis of the long and successful line of the "Paulistinhas" built by "Companhia Aeronáutica Paulista" as the CAP-4 and by "Sociedade Construtora Aeronáutica Neiva" as the Neiva 56.
     Then, Hoover got involved with the IPT - Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas and took part with Frederico Brotero in the design of the "IPT Bichinho" in 1938. This was a low-wing fixed-gear monoplane with a fairly high wing loading. Four were built and one was still flying in 1981. Hoover demonstrated the Bichinho on many occasions, but series production was not undertaken. The onset of war was certainly a factor but, in truth, Brazil was not yet mature for trhe aeronautical industry.
     Here I lose track of Hoover. At some point he moved to Santos, on the coast of the state of São Paulo, where he became the American Consul. He died in São Paulo on June 16, 1958.
     Hoover must have had many opportunities for meeting Alberto Santos-Dumont. Most probably, he was present on January 25, 1917 when Santos-Dumont visited the Naval Aviation School and flew with Ten. Virginius Britto de Lamare on a Curtiss F. In the centenary of 1922, there must have been plenty of opprotunities. And finally, it is just possible that he had some contact at the time of the EAY. Santos-Dumont arrived in Brazil in the end of 1931 and died on June 23, 1932 in the middle of the revolution of São Paulo. By this time, however, Santos-Dumont was very ill and depressed.
     Hoover may not have been a major figure in the history of the Brazilian aeronautical industry but his connections with the Wrights, Glenn Curtiss, Santos-Dumont, the Navy, the IPT and the EAY make his biography very interesting.
Sincerely yours,
Mauro Lins de Barros
     *Incidentally, my brother Henrique has just published a new book on Santos-Dumont called "Santos-Dumont e a invenção do vôo", published by Jorge Zahar Editor. I am glad to report that the reception has been excellent and sales are brisk.


     If you search for "Orton W. Hoover" using Google, you will find only five links, two of them mine. One of the most useful is the following.
História da Aviação no Estado de São Paulo
(History of Aviation in the State of São Paulo)
It was on the site devoted to:
O Grupamento de Radiopatrulha Aérea (GRPAe)
(The Aerial Radio Patrol Group)

     If you read Portuguese, I invite you to visit the sites by clicking on the titles. If you are using Google and prefer to read the article in English, you can access a translation directly from the search engine. For your convenience, I have added an extract of the whole article below.
History of Aviation in the State of São Paulo
On December 17, 1913, the Aviation branch of the Public Force of São Paulo was born officially, through the First School of Military Aviation, whose first headquarters were at the Guapira Field, having Eduardo Pacheco Chaves (Edu Chaves) and Cícero Marques as instructors.
     The lack of trained technicians and supply problems resulting from the ending of the First World War, made it impractical to maintain this first nucleus, so that the Paulista Public Force only recovered it wings in 1919, having the Northamerican Orton W. Hoover as instructor.
     The new headquarters was already established at the Marte Field and the initial steps, made with determination, bore fruit so that by 1920 landing fields started to appear in some cities in the interior, such as Bragança Paulista and Guaratinguetá. However, because of internal problems and politics, a new crisis arose which caused the closing of the Public Force hangars in the beginning of 1922.....

Ellington Field: A Short History, 1917-1963
     This page offers a single paragraph with a reference to Hoover The citation reads:
     "Because of a lack of military pilots in 1917, the U.S. Army Air Service relied on civilian pilots to help train cadets. Civilian pilots often had mor flight experience than military aviators. During the war, Ellingon Field had seven civilian instructors: W.F. Sullivan, H.B. Crewdson, E.W. Cleveland, G.K. Hood, W.A. Pack, O.W. Hoover, and E.H. Lee. Upon graduation, a flight cadet would be christened a military aviator. After graduation, an aviator was shipped to Europe for more training and assignment to a combat squadron."
     To access the page , just click on the title above.

Orton W. Hoover died in 1958
From The Early Birds of Aviation ROSTER, 1996
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