• Happy Birthday Steve Wittman

    Posted on April 4th, 2009 John Dorcey No comments

    Celebrating SJ “Steve” Wittman’s 105th birthday, the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame provides the following report, just as it was written by Steve.

    S.J. "Steve" Wittman, ca 1940 (WAHF archives)

    A Summary of Mr. S.J. Wittman’s Activities at the
    Winnebago County Airport, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

    “I came to Oshkosh in 1931 to manage the airport. From 1931 to 1940 I ran a Flying School, built racing ships, did a great deal of racing, and also built a conventional two-place experimental airplane.

    Between 1940 and the month of November, 1943, one hundred three War Training and Civil Pilot Training students were given 35 to 45 hours of flight test and received their pilot’s license at my flight school.

    Beginning in May, 1943, I started an Army Indoctrination Course which was given to 699 students. Each student received 10 hours of flight instruction. In addition to the C.P.T., W.T.S. and the Army Indoctrination students, the school had 103 private students, of which eleven received their Flight Instructor Rating.

    Since 1940 I have been a Flight Examiner for the Civil Aeronautics Administration. I gave flight tests to all of the C.P.T. and W.T.S. students and to all the private students that took enough flight instruction to qualify for a private or commercial license. In addition, I gave 26 Flight Tests for private pilot licenses to students who received their flight training at other airports.

    In giving this training we flew 17,365 hours, which is equivalent to 1,339,857 miles, with only four minor accidents and no personal injuries.

    During the War Training Service and Civil Pilot Training programs, I was obliged to furnish my own ships, and assume all responsibility as to maintenance and insurance. Our school had six training ships, and five instructors were employed up to the time the Army Indoctrination Course started.

    When the Army Indoctrination Course started in May, 1943, I was obliged to rent training ships from the government and was forced to dispose of my own ships to make room for the government ships, of which there were eighteen. I assumed all responsibility for the maintenance of these ships and any damage to them. In the winter of 1942, I was obliged to give up my four-passenger Cessna airplane to the government for advanced training.

    During the Army Indoctrination program I employed fourteen flight instructors, one licensed airplane & engine mechanic besides myself, five mechanics helpers and three line men. During the Army Indoctrination four hundred eighty-nine students were given 10 hours of flight instruction each. In addition, we also trained fifty-two private pilots, twelve flight instructors and eight students from other airport received their private pilot license. During this period of training we flew 5,640 hours, which is equivalent to 423,000 miles, with no accidents whatsoever. The Army Indoctrination Course closed May 1944.

    Since the war, Wittman Flying Service has gone back to a normal airport routine of Flight Instruction, Charter Work, Aircraft and Engine maintenance, Recertification of Aircraft, Racing and Air Show Work.”

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