Maitland, Lester J., 1899-1990

Alternative names
Birth 1899-02-08
Death 1990-03-27

Biographical notes:

Lester J. Maitland was an aviation pioneer and a veteran pilot of World Wars I and II. He joined the United States Army Air Corps and by age nineteen had become a flight instructor. Maitland served as an aide to General Billy Mitchell in 1921 and was chosen as one of the pilots to take part in the sinking of the battleship Ostfriesland which helped to prove the effectiveness of air power against ships. During the 1920's Maitland competed in many air races and exhibitions and in 1922, he became the first pilot in the United States to fly faster than 200 mph. He later broke the World Absolute Speed record with a speed of 244.94 mph. In 1927, Maitland and his co-pilot, Albert F. Hegenberger, became the first men to fly from California to Hawaii. Lester Maitland remained in the Army Air Force, served as a Brigadier General during World War II, flew forty-four combat missions over the course of the war and received a second Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1947, Maitland was appointed Wisconsin's first state aeronautics director and in 1949 accepted a similar post with the state of Michigan. Retiring from that position in 1956, Maitland shifted his career goals and began studies in the Episcopal religion. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1957 and retired as Rector Emeritus in Red Bluff, California. Maitland died in 1990 at the age of 91.

From the description of Maitland collection, 1917-1990. (US Air Force Academy). WorldCat record id: 317971416


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Ark ID:


  • Air pilots
  • Aeronautics--History
  • High speed aeronautics
  • Airports
  • Aeronautics--Military--History
  • Transpacific flight--History


not available for this record


  • Wisconsin (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Pacific Area (as recorded)