Blair, Charles F., 1909-1978Alternative names
Charles F. Blair, Jr. (b. July 19, 1909, Buffalo, New York-d. Sept. 2, 1978), brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force, is famed for the first solo flight over the Arctic and the North Pole and the first by a single-engine aircraft in 1951. After graduating from the University of Vermont in 1931, he attended the Naval Flying School, graduated and was assigned to Patrol Squadron VP-7F in San Diego, California. Following release from active duty in 1933, he was a United Airlines pilot, then became chief pilot of a newly-formed overseas airline commanding all survey flights and scheduled flights between the U.S. and the British Isles, Africa, and South America. During World War II, then-Captain Blair flew for Naval Air Transport and the Air Transport Command. He also was a test pilot for Navy fighters. He received the Harmon International Aviation Award as “the world's outstanding aviator” from President Harry Truman in 1952. After resigning from the Naval Reserve, he was commissioned a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve in 1953, promoted to Brigadier General in 1959. He spent half of each year in a combination of active Air Force duty, reserve drills, and as a consultant to the Director of Operations, Air Force Headquarters, while also serving regular tours of duty as a Pan American World Airways senior pilot. He died in a crash in the Caribbean piloting a Grumman Goose aircraft, leaving his widow, actress, Maureen O'Hara.
From the description of Blair, Charles F., 1909-1978 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10596759