Skip to main content

Charles Wald Collection

Identifier: MS-355

Scope and Content

The five pages of diary entries and forty-eight flight logs in this section were written by Charles Wald between Friday, April 12, 1912 and October 10, 1912. They describe Charles' flights at the Wright School of Aviation at Simm's Station in Dayton, Ohio between April 12 and August 7 and his flights in the Wright Model B hydroaeroplane in Glen Head, Long Island, New York between September 9 and October 10.

The first series, flight records, contains information on weather conditions and aircraft performance. They reveal much about the unreliability of early airplanes and the constant maintenance and modifications that were needed. The flight logs also list locations, machine numbers, operators, time and date of flights, length of flights, wind velocity, remarks, and passengers. There is limited information on Wald's construction and repair work in the shop at Simms Station. Individuals mentioned in the records include Orville Wright, A.L. Welsh, Grover Bergdoll, and William Kabitzki.

The second series, negatives, mostly depicts early Wright aviators and aircraft at Huffman Prairie in Dayton and at Glen Head, Long Island. The photographs span the years 1910-1916. Of special note are photographic images of the Wright Model B hydroaeroplane at Glen Head in 1912. These are significant because most histories on the work of the Wright brothers suggest 1913 as the year of their earliest foray into water-based flying. Also depicted in these negatives is the Wright Exhibition Team in flight at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1910 and the Wright Company factory in Dayton in 1911.

Identifying numerals are marked on each negative, generally on the emulsion side. These numbers are indicated by parentheses in the container listing.

The images in this collection have been scanned and are available online in Wright State University's Campus Online Repository (CORE Scholar):


  • Creation: 1910-1916


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing the Charles Wald Collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biography of Charles Wald

Charles Wald was an early American aviator trained at the Wright School of Aviation in Dayton, Ohio. In 1905, while stationed with the U.S. Custom Service in the Philippines, he learned about Wilbur and Orville Wright's achievements in flying. In 1906 he returned to the United States and visited the Wrights with the desire to learn to fly. The Wright brothers advised him to first learn engineering, so he began taking night courses at Pratt Institute in New York following his daytime work at the New York Custom House.

In 1911 Charles Wald secured employment with the Wright Company in Dayton. Following a brief return to the New York Custom House, he began flight training at Huffman Prairie Flying Field (Simms Station) on April 12, 1912 under the instruction of A.L. Welsh. His primary training was considered complete on April 23 with fourteen flights and a total of two hours and forty-six minutes in the air. During this time he also worked in the shop on engines and repairs. Wald returned to employment with the Wright Company in June following the tragic death of A.L. Welsh in a plane crash. He made his first solo flight on June 27. By August 6 he flew seventy-four additional flights, accompanied most of the time by a fellow student, William Kabitzki.

In 1912, the Wright Company established a school for water-based flying, known as the Wright air ferry, at the Glenwood Country Club in Glen Head, Long Island, New York. Charles Wald was put in charge of the operation, which was intended to direct the attention of wealthy yachtsman to the potential sport of water flying and to provide flying lessons. The school used a Wright Model B machine with floats attached to the landing skids. Wald's first flight with the hydroaeroplane occurred on September 9. On September 21, he flew nine miles across Long Island Sound from Glenwood Landing to New Rochelle Harbor and was greeted by enthusiastic onlookers. The Glen Head operation again garnered public attention on October 10 when a man who had fallen overboard a boat was rescued from the water by the hydroaeroplane. During the school's existence at Glen Head, the hydroaeroplane carried several passengers and newspaper cargo, but there is no record of any flying lessons being given. This may be why the operation lasted only one season.

Charles Wald formed the short-lived Manhattan Aeroplane Company in 1913 with Frank Willson and a Mr. Reiland. The company produced two or three airplanes, one of which was a flying boat. During World War I, Wald headed the inspection department at the Curtiss factory in Buffalo. He also managed the U.S. Navy seaplane racing team that won the Schneider Trophy in England in 1923. He retired from his aviation work with the naval service in 1947.


0.25 linear feet

Language of Materials



This collection documents the training of Charles Wald, an early American aviator. It also documents the Wright Company's early involvement in water-based aviation.The collection includes flight records and negatives. The flight diary and logs were written by Charles Wald in 1912 and the photographs were taken by him, with the exceptions of those in which he is shown, between 1910 and 1916. The images in this collection have been scanned and are available online in Wright State University's Campus Online Repository (CORE Scholar): .

Statement of Arrangement

The Charles Wald Collection is organized into 2 series

  1. Series I: Flight Records
  2. Series II: Negatives

Acquisition Information

The Charles Wald Collection was given to Wright State University Special Collections and Archives by Quentin Wald, Charles' son, in January of 2007. One folder of materials was received.

Guide to the Charles Wald Collection (MS-355)
Finding aid prepared by Rachel DeHart in 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA