Thursday, 17 May 2007

Chauncey (Chance) Milton Vought 1890-1930

A young Chance (neé Chauncey) Milton Vought first applied his basic mechanical engineering skills to the 1910 McCormick-Romme Umbrellaplane and the 1911 Blaney Monoplane at Cicero (IL) flying field, neither of which, unfortunately, failed to fly.

However, his craft improved after he learned to fly, earning pilot license #156 in 1912, and gained first-hand experience both in advanced schooling in aeronautical engineering and as an instructor pilot for the Max Lillie School of Aviation, where he was involved in the design of an aircraft of Lillie's concept. He then went on to work for several other aircraft manufacturers for the next five years as a designer, including the Mayo, Curtiss, Wright and Wright-Martin companies, until opportunity suddenly knocked on his door.
When the USA entered WW1 in April 1917, Vought decided to take advantage of the need for trainer aircraft by our fledgling Air Service and, with Birdseye Lewis, formed the Lewis & Vought Corp in June that year. It turned out to be a wise and profitable decision as the company, under various names, would remain in continuous operation ever since then—it was the second oldest airframe manufacturer in the nation, close behind Boeing Co.
Sadly, his participation ended abruptly in 1930 when he died of blood poisoning after a tooth operation at age 42, but the name of Vought stayed on as his monument.