AKA Minerly Wilson
I need a photo of him. If you can help, please contact me

via email from Charles W. Frank, 12-7-05
     Was searching for Minerly's, my mothers' side, when I ran into your site. I ran into a World War I draft registration for Wilson Minerly, middle name; Hysup.
Registered; 5 Jun 1917 at Helena, Montana.
Age; 27
Born; 18 Nov 1890. (looks like) Steuben County, NY.
Married, one child.
Occupation; Airplane Mechanic.
Prior experience; 6 months, Guatemala as Airplane pilot.
     I seem to recall that he is listed in a book about Pioneers of Flight in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.
     Don't have anything else on him. Hope this helps some.
Charles W. Frank
Editor's Note: Every little bit helps. This note from Charles offers a lot of important, basic information. I thank him for his contribution.

via email from Charles W. Frank, 12-12-05
     I was at the library, so I looked up Wilson H. Minerly on Ancestry.com. The !900 census says he had a 9 yr. old son, Wilson H. Jr.. His wife was Marie G.. In 1930, they lived in Missoula, Montana. Wilson was 39 yrs. old..
     The Montana Death Index (says source is Montana State Genealogical Society) notes Wilson H. died; 23 Feb. 1974 at Missoula, MT. He was 83 yrs. old.
Best to ya,
Charles W. Frank

via email from Juan Manuel Quesada F. 11-11-04
     Nannini Sandoval returned to Guatemala, along with the Moisant instructor Murvin C. Wood and the mechanic E.N. Bang, to establish the first aviation school in Guatemala. From June 30, 1914 to June 1915, he made several flights in a Blériot XI aeroplane, which he had bought from Moisant, thus becoming the first Guatemalan to fly solo in our country. When Nannini Sandoval and Murvin C. Wood retrieve after June 30 of 1915, no before Shakir Saliba Jerwan came to Guatemala, who was and instructor in the "Moisant" and continued teaching here with the Blériot XI until June 30 of 1918. ( date absolutely confirmed )
     The accident that Jerwan had in Guatemala, didn't happen in the Blériot, as is reported on the web page, but rather in another airplane re-constructed in Guatemala from the remains of a Nieuport, also bought from Moisant.
     In 1916, Minerly Wilson, another U.S.A. pilot, came to Guatemala to show a new airplane, the "Moisant Blue Bird", but the ceiling of this airplane was 3,600 ft., and our city is at 5,000 ft., so he crashed and suffered serious injuries.

by Miguel Idigoras Fuentes
Courtesy of Juan Manuel Quesada F. 3-31-05
     The Minister of Public Works at that time, bought a two-seater Taube monoplane, blue in color, with a Gyro motor, in the United States. Mr. Wilson was hired to fly and maintain it. He was accompanied by his wife. He was slight of build, thin, and about twenty-two years old. The airplane was required to fly by June 30, 1916. A few days earlier, Minerly began flight tests. He taxied all over the field, but never was able to take off. Later it was understood that the service ceiling of the plane was three thousand feet and the field itself was at five thousand.
     To read the rest of his story, in the original Spanish, click on the title above. If you don't read Spanish, you will find a machine-translated version immediately following the Spanish version.

The BombRun Column - August 2003
by Mario E. Overall
LAAHS Guatemala
     The Moisant venture in Guatemala lasted four long years, and was brought to an end in 1918 when the first French Military Mission arrived in the country. When the French aviators took over, Luis E. Ferro was fired after it was discovered that he wasn't really a pilot. How he managed to remain on his job during those previous four years is a mystery, but I'm sure that he was more than loyal to Don Manuel, which was very important at those tyrannic times. As for the Moisant planes, well, one by one they were destroyed in accidents, the first to go down being the Nieuport-Moisant 6M, then followed by the Bleriot XI (on which Shakir Jerwan almost died) and lastly the Caudron G.3 that crashed three days after having arrived in the country, while being piloted by another Moisant instructor: Minerly Wilson.
The BombRun Column - August 2003
by Mario E. Overall
LAAHS Guatemala
     This brief mention of Minerly Wilson is found in Chapter 5 of eight chapters from the very comprehensive revue of the development of aviation in Guatemala by Mario E. Overall. The article, which was originally published on the website of the Latin American Aviation Historical Society in August, offers a fascinating resumé of the origins and early development of aviation in Guatemala from 1914 to 1978. The article is no longer available online, but thanks to the generosity of the author, Mario E. Overall, I have been given a copy of the original article which you can read in its entirety by clicking on:
Shakir S. Jerwan

via email from Brian Moorhouse, 3-27-05
     I have visited your aviation website with interest. I am trying to discover if there were any exhibition flights in or around Guatemala City in mid to end June 1916 period. You mention a US Pilot Minerly Wilson who came to Guatemala in 1916 with a "Moisant Blue Bird" but don't give an accurate date.
     The reason I ask is that I have an envelope sent by the President of Guatemala to Alan R. Hawley, President of the 'Aero Club of America', 297 Madison Avenue in New York by registered mail on 27 June 1916. Intriguingly it is endorsed 'Correo Aereo' with a signature that I have been unable to decipher but which might not be a million miles from 'Luis E. Ferro' (founder of the Aviation School)
     I am based in the UK but have been unable to find any Guatemala newspapers for the period over here. There is, apparently, a run of 'Diario de Centroamerica' in the University Library at Tulane (New Orleans) but that seems a long way to go ...
     Any help appreciated ! If you would like scans of the envelope and signature then let me know and I'll be please to send them to you
Best regards
Brian Moorhouse
Editor's Note: I thank Brian for his inquiry and I enthusiastically accept his offer of scans of the envelope and the signature. I will post them here as soon as they become available. Both he and I would appreciate any help you might offer regarding the life and career of Minerly.

Editor's Note-followup: Brian did send scans of the envelope and the signature. It turned out that the signature belonged to Shakir S. Jerwan. You can view those images by clicking on the name of Jerwan.

     If you search for "Wilson Minerly", using the Google search engine, (12-7-05), you will find just 3 links, two of them being to this page. The other link is to the following website.

Orígenes de la Aviación Militar Guatemalteca
Entre el Mito y la Realidad
Origins of Guatemalan Military Aviation
Between the Myth and Reality

by Mario E. Overall
     This very comprehensive article, which was written by Mario E Overall and appears on the website of the Sociedad Histórica de la Avación Latinoamericano, reviews the beginnings of aviation in Guatemala and does mention the name Minerly Wilson, if only briefly. The original article is written in Spanish, but Mario has kindly permitted me to make a copy in English for the convenience of my English-speaking visitors. By way of introduction, I have extracted the introductory paragraph and you can read it as follows:

     "La versión oficial sobre los inicios de la aviación en Guatemala menciona -invariablemente- que el precursor de la misma fue el guatemalteco de orígen Italiano Dante Nannini. De hecho, historiadores e interesados en el tema aceptan esta versión de forma tácita y sin cuestionamientos. Mal documentados artículos publicados a lo largo del siglo pasado, más inclinados a la lírica que a la veracidad, rinden pleitesía a Nannini y minimizan e incluso obvian la participación de otros personajes e instituciones foráneas que jugaron papeles de capital importancia en el desarrollo de la aviación en Guatemala en aras de resaltar un nacionalismo mal manejado que finalmente terminó por deformar la realidad de los hechos. En todo caso, y por inconveniente que pueda parecer, el verdadero precursor de la aviación en Guatemala fue el mexicano Luís E. Ferro, un obscuro individuo que llegó al país en 1910 con la intención de establecer una escuela de vuelo privada."

     For the convenience of those who only read English, I have produced an English version as follows:

     "The official version of the beginnings of aviation in Guatemala invariably mentions that the originator was a Guatemalan of Italian heritage, Dante Nannini. In fact, historians and others who are interested in the subject accept this version without question. Poorly documented articles published throughout the last century are more inclined to the lyrical rather than to the truth. They pay homage to Nannini and even diminish and minimize the participation of other persons and foreign institutions who obviously played primary roles in the development of aviation in Guatemala. This for the sake of emphasizing a nationalism so poorly handled that it finally manages to compromise the reality of the facts. In any case, and in reality, the true pioneer of aviation in Guatemala was a Mexican, Luís E. Ferro, an obscure individual who arrived in the country in 1910 with the intention of establishing a private flight school."

     You can read the complete Spanish version by clicking in the title above.
     If you need an English version, Mario E. Overall has kindly permitted me to produce a complete copy of the article which you can access by clicking on:
English Version

       The Montana Death Index (says source is Montana State Genealogical Society) notes Wilson H. Minerly died; 23 Feb. 1974 at Missoula, MT. He was 83 yrs. old.
via email from Charles W. Frank, 12-12-05

If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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