Clyde Edward Pangborn was one of the great barnstormers of the early 20th century. After an ill-fated "automobile-to-airplane" transfer attempt at Coronado Beach, California in 1920, Pangborn partnered with Ivan R. Gates to form the Gates Flying Circus in 1921. Pangborn served as chief pilot and operating manager, barnstorming his way across the United States, his affection for slow-rolling airplanes earning him the nickname "Upside-Down" Pangborn. He was known for his fearless participations in daredevil airplane stunts and was notorious for his aerial rescue of a young woman tangled in a parachute in Houston, Texas in 1924.
Pangborn had many achievements including holding the world record for changing planes mid-air and flying the first Trans-Pacific flight. He also served as chief test pilot for the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation. During his forty-year aviation career Pangborn had flown to all parts of the civilized world without major damage to his aircraft. He held pilot's license number 240 and was at the time of his death instrument-rated to fly single or multi-engine, land or sea planes. He had amassed more than 24,000 flying hours during his lifetime.
Pangborn died March 29, 1958.
The papers of Clyde Edward Pangborn were donated by his brother, Percy C. Pangborn, to the Washington State University Libraries in May 1962; they were arranged at that time by the Manuscripts and Archives staff. The papers were reaccessioned in February 1981 (MS 81-11) and reprocessed by Stephen E. Balzarini between October 1980 and September 1981.
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