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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Charles E. Smith Boeing School of Aeronautics Negatives

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: 2023-02-03
The Charles E. Smith Boeing School of Aeronautics Negatives is a small collection consisting of five photographic images taken at the Boeing School of Aeronautics in Oakland, California circa 1929-1931. One of the images is an informal portrait of Charles E. Smith, whoc was a studetn at the School, wearing a flight suit standing alone next to the wing of an aircraft. Two other images are simliar in composition but depict two other unidentified men, possibly students or instructors at the School. These three negatives have corresponding modern digital prints. The last two negatives are possibly of Smith with another unidentified man next to a Boeing Model 80A. The negatives are all black-and-white and measure approximately 2.5 x 4 inches.


  • circa 1929-1931


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


.01 Cubic Feet (1 letter size folder)

Biographical Note: Charles E. Smith

Charles E. Smith was an early aviator in the Pacific Northwest.

Charles "Chuck" Engle Smith was born August 15, 1907 in Portland, Oregon to Elmer Chester and Lorene Layton Smith. Though born in Oregon, he grew up in Spokane, Washington. His father was a traveling railroad auditor and because his mother died when he was eight, he was raised by relatives. He graduated from North Central High School in Spokane in 1927. After his schooling, he worked a variety of jobs, including at a soda fountain, at a meat market, in the railways, doing highway construction, as a commercial fisherman, at a newspaper, as an insurance salesman, and at an auto parts dealer. Looking for steadier work he turned to aviation and enrolled at the Boeing School of Aeronautics in Oakland, California which had opened in 1929. He received his ground school diploma by summer of 1930 as well as an aeronautical radio operators license and a private pilot's license, flying a Boeing 40B-4.

About a year later he got a position with United Airlines as a sales representative. Later he became a line service man in flight operations at the School. In 1934 he was hired by Northwest Airlines as an agent based in Seattle, Washington. He worked between Seattle and Spokane for several years before becoming permanently based in Seattle as a flight dispatcher. In this role he consulted reports on weather, runway information, and flight delays and cancellations, and then would determine if landing was safe. Smith often accompanied pilots on flights in order to learn the routes and become familiar with the aircraft.

During World War II Northwest Airlines held a contract with the federal government under the Air Transport Command. For this contract they would transport troops and supplies and ferry airplanes to different locations. Smith served on some of these flights.

Smith served for some time as head of the Air Line Dispatchers Association (ALDA). Smith retired in 1970 shortly after the introduction of the Boeing 747 and other jetliners. He died December 3, 1978.

Biographical sketch based on donor information.
Guide to the Charles E. Smith Boeing School of Aeronautics Negatives
Completed - Level 2
Nicole Davis
2023 May
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st edition

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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