Fort Wayne is the hometown of Lt. Paul Baer, who flew with the French forces in World War I and was the first US pilot to achieve ace status. Fort Wayne is also the hometown of Arthur “Art” Roy Smith, who was one of the pioneer acrobatic fliers in the pre–World War I era. Smith made several trips to Japan and is credited with inspiring the Japanese to develop their own aircraft in the period between the two world wars. Prior to the onset of World War II, the US Army Air Corps purchased over 600 acres southwest of Fort Wayne and built Paul Baer Army Air Field. Today, Fort Wayne International Airport covers about 3,500 acres and has the second-longest runway in Indiana, almost 12,000 feet in length.
About the Author
After serving as a bombardier during World War II, Roger Myers answered a Fort Wayne newspaper advertisement for a “young man” and joined Chicago & Southern Air Lines in mid-1947. Roger still watches the comings and goings at Fort Wayne International Airport. He is a founding member and the current curator of the Greater Fort Wayne Aviation Museum. Larry, the author’s son, and Geoffrey, the author’s grandson, contributed composition and technical support.