NEW BIRDMAN ACE FLIER
"It's a good outfit and that's why I wanted to become a member."
Walter E. Lees, chief test pilot for Packard Motor Company, made this comment today when a check of the Junior Birdmen files
revealed he had sent in his membership application like thousands of other boys and girls.
His membership card No. 2948 gives his age as 16 years, although the veteran pilot is now 46. He
has been flying for 24 years.
"Detroit Wing Headquarters probably took the '4' on my application blank for a '1,'" he said.
"and to be truthful, that's just what I wanted to happen,"
Lees was the first pilot to fly a Diesel-engined plane. With Fred Brossy as co-pilot, he established a
world's non-refueling record for planes by remaining in the air over Jacksonville, Fla., for 84 hours, 33 minutes.
"The last few hours we flew at a speed of less than 50 miles an hour to conserve fuel and it was
the engine's ability to keep the plane aloft at this low speed which made the record possible."
Like most old-timers in the aviation game, Lees "barnstormed" the small towns and county fairs in
quest of the elusive fortune to be made from passenger carrying.
"Sometimes there were very few passengers and then I had to rely on my championship ability to
pitch nickels for lunch money,"he said.
At present he devotes most of his time to experimental work in the Packard laboratories, but he did
find time to give Col. Jesse G. Vincent, vice president in charge of engineering, most of his flight instruction enabling him to obtain his
"He's a darn good flier, too," he said, "although I can beat him when it comes to wriggling
into a wide-awake organization like the Junior Birdmen."