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1937 Military Airplane Pilot Rating Wing


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#1 mtnman

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:21 PM

In 1937 the Army Air Corps initiated a new rating for its pilots who had reached a particular level of experience, which is that one constant across all paths of military flight, that was a mark of assured excellence through perseverance. Military Airplane Pilot rating was given a standard of 12 years rating as a pilot and 2000 hours flight time. These men were World War I aviators who remained in service as well as those who entered the Army Air Service postwar and found their niche regarding their skill set and leadership capabilities and stuck with it.

 

I had searched for this wing for many years since I had first noticed how it stood out on Bob Schwartz' site as unique in and of itself, with the 1920s/30s origin but with a star affixed. I had seen NS Meyer pilot wings with the same wing structure from the late 20s and early 30s, sans the star and support structure upon which the star is mounted. I had of course seen the other pelican beak style Meyer wings with the attached star using the upside down V attachment apparatus which were Sr Pilot Wings according to the 1939/40 changes eliminating Military Airplane Pilot. It was a path of search and inquiry motivated by the man who taught me how to identify in-between war wings as well as giving me a deep affinity for the few men who entered service during the 1920s and 30s in a time of scarcity regarding the numbers needed for effectiveness in the event that a war may arise as it was about to. The 20s and 30s were a time of testing the limits of human, coupled with flying machine, endurance and thus there were many air races and endurance tests that one could attend and watch as mankind became acclimated to his new field of exploration as well as his new battlefield.

 

Cliff Presley introduced me to this rare wing manufactured in the late 30s by showing me the named/attributed identical wing procured by him from Colonel Charles W. Steinmetz with the Military Airplane Pilot rating. It is listed on Bob Schwartz' aviation wings of world war 2 on the in between wars section. Enjoy the wing ladies and gentlemen collectors! A very elusive find for me! Blessings as always, in your collecting efforts.........

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#2 mtnman

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:23 PM

Look at the angled position of the Star, just beautiful precision....

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#3 mtnman

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:24 PM

about 70 deg angle open for pin

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#4 mtnman

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:26 PM

star closeup

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#5 mtnman

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:27 PM

top view

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#6 mtnman

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:28 PM

pin angle view

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#7 mtnman

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:29 PM

Meyer New York incised Maker Mark

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#8 mtnman

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:31 PM

full rear

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#9 mtnman

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 12:38 PM

clearer image of incised mark

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#10 pfrost

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 02:34 PM

NIce wing.  The use of the little star on stilts seems to have been something that they developed and used throughout the war. I suspect that there was some overlap.

 

For example, the "slick" NS Meyer wing likely was one that was used during the 1920's up through WWII.  The "pelican" wing pattern was probably strictly a WWII pattern (probably made no earlier then beginning of WWII (circa 1942)).

 

IIRC you will also sometimes see the Senior pilot wing with the little stilts on stars as well.

 

 

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#11 pfrost

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 02:38 PM

Note the variations in hallmarks but the wings all have the small font STERLING mark.

 

My sense is that NS Meyer simply made up the small stars on stilts to use, before moving to the larger stars without stilts--and simply added these to the base wings as needed.  At some pint, I believe the moved to integral dies.

 

For example, you also see NS Meyer balloon pilot wings with the stilted stars.


Edited by pfrost, 02 August 2018 - 02:40 PM.


#12 mtnman

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 03:42 PM

I completely agree Patrick, as I said in my post, I had seen the Pelican beak style wings developed after World War II was underway and those wings included pilot made Senior pilot as well as Observer made Senior Observer etc. I consistently looked for a wing of the same 30s make and incised Meyer Shield as well as the same stilts as the platform for the star, just as the one posted in Bob Schwartz site. I never found until last week, a 1930s wing in correlation with the manufacturer of the wing with the same Shield marking and pin assembly constructed for the purpose of filling the order requisite in meeting the Army Air corps military airplane pilot rating change in 1937. I have searched high and low to try and find an identical example to the one awarded the pilot which Cliff posted in the in between Wars section of Bob's site. I've searched the Forum, history sites, other collections and I could not find an identical match to the wing awarded the 1937 military airplane pilot posted there named Steinmetz. I almost had one of those Wing search Adrenaline Rush heart attacks when this Wing popped up on eBay and I did whatever it took to get the wing. My thesis is that the wing was created at the same time as its twin on Bob's sight, to meet the light (63 qaualified initially) yet extant demand of the Army Air corps awarding military airplane pilot rating to the old-timers who had earned it and I mean EARNED IT with this period of aviation history and the characteristic testing of the boundaries of flight commensurate with the advance in technology. This wing is one of the older makes as it has no tiny Sterling Mark either which is indicative of the earliest wings.

I searched for years for a like example to Steinmetz' military airplane pilot badge on Bob's site posted by Cliff, and I came up dry until last week.

Edited by mtnman, 02 August 2018 - 03:48 PM.


#13 pfrost

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 07:42 AM

I feel your pain (and excitement) when you have to search long and hard for a wing and how nice it feels when if finally hits your collection!  Congratulations.  The rating is rare for a reason, as very few pilots were eligible for that rating in 1937, as you pointed out.  I had never really looked or thought about the NS Meyer military pilot rating very hard, even though I do have an affinity for collecting those early wings. I have picked up a few of the "slick wing" NS Meyer wings.  Last night I dug through my collection to see if I had one lurking somewhere with the star.  I didn't... darn, so now I have another wing to look to add to the collection.



#14 Steve L

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 08:05 AM

mtnman,

 

Congrats on, and a big thank you for sharing this rare wing qualification badge, the explanation of its origin, and the dedication it took to earn it. With your shared knowledge, us 'wingnuts' can more easily identify and look for one. The reality is that another example may not be found, but at least to me, that's o.k.; new knowledge gained and the hunt for those white wing elephants is just as rewarding as the acquisition. Thank you for yet another educational thread.

 

Steve



#15 mtnman

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 02:39 PM

mtnman,

 

Congrats on, and a big thank you for sharing this rare wing qualification badge, the explanation of its origin, and the dedication it took to earn it. With your shared knowledge, us 'wingnuts' can more easily identify and look for one. The reality is that another example may not be found, but at least to me, that's o.k.; new knowledge gained and the hunt for those white wing elephants is just as rewarding as the acquisition. Thank you for yet another educational thread.

 

Steve

 

Steve,
Just hearing statements like that Steve makes it all worthwhile. To achieve these acquisitions very rarely found and sparsely known of without doing the deeper research and searching for examples, would be meaningless without those who share in the joy of learning about and viewing these new found tiny monuments to history. Thanks so much Steve and blessings in your collecting buddy



#16 mtnman

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 02:23 PM

I feel your pain (and excitement) when you have to search long and hard for a wing and how nice it feels when if finally hits your collection!  Congratulations.  The rating is rare for a reason, as very few pilots were eligible for that rating in 1937, as you pointed out.  I had never really looked or thought about the NS Meyer military pilot rating very hard, even though I do have an affinity for collecting those early wings. I have picked up a few of the "slick wing" NS Meyer wings.  Last night I dug through my collection to see if I had one lurking somewhere with the star.  I didn't... darn, so now I have another wing to look to add to the collection.


Patrick, when I got down to the place in your response above where you said "I dug through my collection last night to see if I had one lurking" , my throat got tight, my eyes widened and I was ready to read that in your extensive, disciplined and respected search through so many venues, you had picked one up along the way! I have read of and viewed so many unique and difficult to learn about, much less find, wings in your many educational and thoughtful posts, I thought you we're going to show us a match! I am joyful that you now have impetus and the information necessary to acquire this wing which, like those wonderful and unique Wings you have found in the most unique places, will likely cross your path in the years to come. Thank you for the encouragement and the congratulations my friend and as always, blessings in your collecting Patrick....

#17 rustywings

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 08:35 AM

Hey MtnMan, congratulations on securing that beautiful 1937 style Meyer hallmarked "Military Airplane Pilot" badge with attached star, that would quickly evolve into the "Senior Pilot" rating. I really enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm you described between the lines in your lengthy pursuit of that badge!   You are indeed the guardian of an amazing collection of aeronautical badges!
 
 
I believe your new acquisition, with the two-piece star and stilts atop the shield may have been the earliest example... Soon followed by the combination of the star and stilts into one piece before attaching it to the shield. Here's an example of that modest change applied to a sterling-marked example:
 
[size=5]  

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Edited by rustywings, 16 August 2018 - 05:12 PM.
Additional...


#18 rustywings

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 08:47 AM

Then three years later, in 1940, when the Command Pilot rating was authorized, Meyer apparently contracted to make badges with the star and wreath added to that same 1937 style Pilot badge. Note how the wreath was suspended between the shoulders of the wing, well above the shield.  

 

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#19 rustywings

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 09:00 AM

Just a guess, but maybe the somewhat awkward look of that space between the shield and wreath on the earlier pattern wing helped propel Meyer into contracting the design of the larger shield badges to better accommodate the new rating designs?  More space between the shoulders of the badge made it easier to attach the wreath directly to the top of the shield.

 

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#20 5thwingmarty

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 12:30 PM

Just curious, are the stars on all these wings the specified 1/2" wide?

 

Also, it is interesting to me that the official drawings for the Senior wings show the stars attached with a solid base below them, but the drawings for the Command wings designate that area is to be "pierced" as are all the other areas between the star and the wreath, and the spaces below the wreath where the wings attach to the shield are also called out to be pierced, and the bottom of the wreath looks to touch the top of the shield.



#21 mtnman

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 06:43 AM

Great stuff Marty and I knew that my buddy Russ would pull out from his disciplined and well-deserved collection, an example of the 1937 Military Airplane Pilot wing! I did an analysis of the 3 wings' structures and came up with a clear understanding of the dies they used in the manufacture first of the 1937 that is Military Airplane Pilot Meyer wing (12 years/2000 hours), then 20 February 1940 Senior Pilot Meyer wing (5 years/1500 hrs.) and finally the Command Pilot Meyer wing (20 years/2000 hours).

I have a Meyer command pilot wing from Col. Russell Scott who was in command of the entire CBI Air Service division from Assam province India (the adventures and challenges this guy had including when the japs were about to overrun Kwelin! Organized and Moved in a matter of hours, an entire airfield of the aircraft on the front line in Kweilin China, using every type of pilot and almost pilot possible, back to Assam province before the japs overran the field!).

 

Anyway, what I discovered was that Meyer utilized what was likely the old 1920s/30s die for the construction of the 1937 Military Airplane Pilot badge and then in 1940, when the Senior Pilot Badge and Command Pilot came out in regulations, they utilized a new/different die, amalgamating the star and the inverted V-shaped support into one piece for the Senior Pilot Wing and as Russ said, and Marty clarified with the more precise "pierced" description of the wreath and star suspended above the shield upon the shoulders of the wings, they utilized the SAME BASE WING FOR BOTH these badges, different from the military airplane pilot base wing. The new badges had the sterling mark upon them as well as the Meyer shield, both intaglio. The picture below will show the difference between the 2 base wings.....

 

Both the pallets in the pale of the shields and the fletching circled and pointed to in red in the picture, notate the difference between the 2 dies utilized to make the 3 separate badges. Again, below is a picture of the Command Pilot Wing (aft) by Meyer, identical to the one Russ pictured above and the Military Airplane Pilot Wing (fore) of 1937.

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#22 pfrost

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:27 AM

Picked this one up yesterday.  Pretty happy with it, NS Meyer, non-sterling.

 

 

 

 

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#23 mtnman

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 10:21 AM

Well done my friend! She is a true beauty! Exquisite example of the transition wing at the earliest manufacturer of NS Meyer command pilot wings. They had to manufacture so quickly with the requirements of the demand at War time, that they attached the star and wreath to the shoulders of the wings instead of the head of the shield as they eventually did with the redesigned wing. What a precious find.

Edited by mtnman, 15 April 2019 - 10:23 AM.


#24 bschwartz

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 10:35 AM

Great wing Patrick.  I have one of those as well but mine has an open C catch instead of the locking catch that yours has.  This wing has always had a special place in my collection because it was an early wing and the pilots that would have qualified for command pilot status at those time were the old guard.  It may not be as sexy as a Luxenberg or Blackinton but it's got history in droves.



#25 jeff41st

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 06:37 PM

Great reference for those of us still seeking.  Thanks for sharing and adding to this post...




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