JUNE, 1920 - JUNE, 1921

  Foster Russell Aviation Co.
This is a flyer prepared by the Foster-Russell Aviation Company for distribution
The original measures 5 1/2" x 10".

The copy at the right has been prepared for ease of reading..



     Fly with the most experienced pilot in the Northwest, Walter E. Lees, famous Curtiss test pilot and flying instructor. Mr. Leeshas been flying for eight years and has a record of over 5500 hours in the air.      We use only the best planes and motors, Curtiss JN4D's and Curtiss Standard J1's equipped with the famous Curtiss OX-5 motors, known among all army aviators as "Old Reliable."
We Teach Flying

     We are the only school in the Northwest which has graduates who are flying every day for pleasure and business. Learn to fly under the best instructor obtainable, Walter E. Lees. Rates by the hour or course. Student flyers receive a complete course in theory of flight, airplane rigging and care of motors at no additional expense. Special rate for the ground work only.
We Sell Airplanes

     Over a dozen planes, more than sold by all other Northwest companies combined, have been set up, tested and sent out from our field during the last six months. Planes sell at prices ranging from $2500 and up. Purchasers of planes are taught to fly at a special low rate.
Visitors Are Welcome to Our Field

     Come out and see the airplanes at close range and ask questions of the men in charge. Meet Pilot Walter E. Lees, a man who started flying when every trip was a dangerous adventure, who has flown continuously during the development of the airplane to its present state of perfection and who has the stupendous record of over five thousand hours in the air.
The Foster Russell Aviation Field
is just two miles east of the fair grounds on the paved road.Vera cars which pass the fair grounds, go right to the field.
Come out and see us.


P. O. Box 27                                                     Spokane, Washington
Telephone High 1509 J1

Instructs at Aviation School ---
Praises Conditions Near Spokane.

Walter Lees, who recently joined the Foster-Russell company here as pilot instructor for their aviation school, has a record of 5500 hours actually in the air. Men in the flying squads during the war thought they had done remarkably well when they had no more than 500 hours in the air, according to officials of the company here. Lees started to fly before the war, getting experience in the air back in 1913. He joined the Curtiss people in 1914 and flew for them until the war broke out, when he was engaged as pilot instructor by the government, subsequently as test pilot, the man who used to try out new engines, new devices and new machines.
     "Conditions for winter flying here are superb because of the clear weather and the moderate degree of cold to be encountered," said Mr. Lees. "Opportunities here are fine because of the exceptional number of flying days. Another feature is the tremendous number of alternative fields; there are so many places in this country where a man can land if he gets into trouble, even up on the mountain tops there are valleys where a machine can land."
     Mr. Lees is known all over the country as the "flying ace" and has an enviable war record as well as commercial aviator. He comes here from Portland, the Curtiss people having disbanded there.
from an unknown Spokane, Washington newspaper.

The Lees family moved to Spokane, Washington, September 14, 1920, where Walter was employed as a pilot for the Foster Russell Aviation Company. They lived in Mr. Bertha Russell's house at 2614 8th Avenue. Loa recalls, "It was a dear little house with acres and acres of yard and garden. At Christmas time we cut down a tree from our own back yard. There was an electric range and all kinds of conveniences. Mrs. Russell was lovely to us."
     In Spokane, Walter flew Jennys and Standards with Hiso engines.
     --I carried passengers, instructed and did exhibition work. I'd agreed to work on commission, but soon after joining Russell, the wheat prices slumped and no one had money to by rides.--


Nothing seemed to go the way Walter planned. He wrote to his friend Billy Mitchell, now Brigadier General and Assistant Chief of the Air Service.
On February 25, 1921, Mitchell replied:
"Your letter of the 18th received....We should see some mighty good work along commercial lines in aviation this season.
     The recent controversy concerning the merits of aircraft vs. watercraft has become a national issue, and everyone is more or less interested all over the country.
     You can do a great deal to help the Air Service by pursuing just the course that you suggest, especially when the matter of a separate air service comes up. That is not only a matter of immense importance from an Army and navy standpoint, but it will make for the beginning of a rapid growth in commercial aeronautics as well. keep up the good work and let us know when you want anything.
               (signed, W. Mitchell)


Negotiating With La Grande Company to Furnish Ships For Tour of Northwest

He who thinks there is nothing new under the sun is mistaken, for C. S. Woodruff, whose pet name is "Woody" when he is at home in Portland, is in La Grande to take pictures of the city from an airplane. His photographs will be mosaic, showing every street, building, mudhole and everything in the city. They will be taken from a height of 5000 feet and Pilot Lees has contracted to do the flying with a Lincoln Standard plane. "It is something entirely new and even in the east, only a few cities have had the mosaic pictures taken," explained Mr. Woodruff today. "If proper arrangements can be made with Mr. Lees and the planes he controls, I will take airplane pictures of the various highways in Oregon, the different cities, railroads and other important industries. Many ranchers want pictures of their ranches from the air and the opening of aerial pictures in the west is starting right here in La Grande."
     It was the intention to take pictures today, but the cloudy weather delayed the work. From here the airship will take Mr. Woodruff to Baker, then to Enterprise, Pendleton and other Eastern Oregon cities.
From an unidentifed Newspaper Clipping, 1921


     In observance of Independence Day in 1922, Okanogan put on a three- day celebration intended to surpass any previous celebration given in Okanogan County. And apparently it did.
     The stunt flyer was Lt. Cecil Langdon from the Foster-Russell Aviation Company of Spokane.
     Fred Lambkin of Tonasket was the winner of the bucking contest, and thus was entitled to strap his saddle on the airplane and make an exhibition ride, an invitation proffered by the imaginative pilot. However, Lambkin's wife objected to the dangerous stunt, thereby depriving him of his chance at fame.
     Virgil Vance had taken second place in the contest and although he had never been near an airplane before, he readily agreed to ride the machine. Apparently there were no objections to Vance riding the aerial bronco or, at any rate, he was not deterred.
     The account of Vance's wild ride as told in the 1922 newspaper differs slightly with the way in which the late Bill Robler remembered it. Bill, a rodeo announcer in the days when announcing was done by shouting through a megaphone, was at the Okanogan celebration and watched the flight. Both, however, agreed that Vance rode the flying machine just as he'd have ridden a bucking horse--without straps or ties or restraints of any kind, taking his chances with being bucked from the sky.
To read the whole fascinating story, just click on:
Cowboy's first plane ride.

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