Mr. J. G. “TEX” RANKIN; age 50 years old,

born in Brenham, Texas.

Mr. Rankin served in the Aviation Section, Signal Corp. during World War I.

Tex RankinAfter 20 months overseas, he was mustered out of the service in August, 1919. At Mitchell Field, New York. He then worked as a flight instructor for Symons and Russell Aviation school in Spokane, Washington.

September 1919 until April 1920, he operated Rankin School of Flying with a Curtiss JN4D and Standard Jl (he had purchased) in Walla Walla, Washington In the spring of 1922 he moved to Portland, Oregon where he added a hanger and several new planes to the flying field he purchased.

In 1933 the Great Depression hit his business also and “TEX” closed his school after having trained approximately 3,500 students. By direct participation or under his supervision from 1919 until 1933 no student was ever seriously injured. Mr. Rankin had always participated in national air shows to attract students so From 1933 he spent time writing books on aviation and being featured in air shows. His series covered flying, navigation, meteorology . aircraft engines, theory of flight, etc. Under the title “Rankin Text” the series became standard reading text for a great many civilian flying schools throughout the world.

For one year, from June 1935, he participated along the entire Eastern Seaboard in airshows from Augusta Maine, to Miami, Florida thus further enhancing his reputation as a stunt pilot of national repute..

About this reputation:

On August, 12, 1929 “TEX” made the first non-stop, non-refueling flight from Canada, across the United States, to Mexico; flying a small 85hp training plane. The trip from Vancouver, British Columbia to Agua-scalientes, Mexico took 13 hours and 7 minutes.

In October, 1929, in International Aviation competition, stunt division, Mr. Rankin established a new record for continuous outside-loops (a manueaver in which the pilot make a 360 degrees circle in the air with his cockpit on the outside of the circle he is making) of nineteen. He was royally honored for this feat.

Then, in March of 1931, in Los Angeles, California he out-did himself by increasing the total to 78 to better secure his claim to the title

However, in October of the same year, at Charlotte, North Carolina he set the record total at 131 (yes, 131) consecutive out-side loops The number has never, never been beaten

In 1937, Mr. Rankin won the International Acrobatic competition held at St. Louis, Missouri. In 1936 Mr. Rankin had purchased a nice home in Hollywood, California and promptly became a member of the Hollywood Motion Pictures Pilot Association and Screen Actors Guild. During the next five years he worked continuously with the likes of Paul Mantz (now Lt. Col, A.F. F.) and Frank Clarke, (now Maj. A.A.F.) and also gave private lessons to a limited number of students of the caliber of James Stewart, Errol Flynn, Bryan Aherne, Edgar Bergan, etc.

In 1939, Mr. Rankin organized the Rankin School of Flying at the Metropolitan Airport, Van Nuys, California where he personally was the chief instructor. Then in the spring of 1940 this school was issued official approval to operate under the certificate issued by the CAA. A CPT contract, for advanced flying and instructor refresher courses was also issued.

The school was located eight miles southeast of Tulare, California. This location was chosen because a through examination of charts of the weather conditions in the San Joaquin Valley, over the period of many, many years, indicated that flying conditions weather-wise were the best in this spot than any other location in the United States, and, moreover, was a large tract of prairie land without undesirable obstructions thereon, and was immediately available for purchase.

The site is located 12 miles east of the normal airways. It also is 20 miles west of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The average rainfall for Tulare county is 8.62 inches, approximately 70% of which occurs in December, January, February and March. (January having an average of 1.66 inches )

Temperature charts from 1876 until 1940 showed the lowest temperature to have been 22 degrees above zero and the highest temperature 115 degrees. Summer nights are cooled by a gentle breeze coming down from the mountains.

All types of fruit are commercially grown in the valley. They include orange, lemons, grapefruit and tangerines. Olives and wine grapes, added to by dairy farms, make this one interesting county.

In December, 1940, Mr. Rankin was awarded a contract by the Army Air Corps for the operation of a civilian Primary Flying school to be located in this county in California. This would be the first school to be built in the San Jaoquin Valley for the training of air force cadets.

In January, 1941, Mr. Rankin made a trip around the United States by Airline to use his old contacts to recruit flight instructors. His minimum requirements for flight time was 1,000 hours and also, a CAA advanced instructors rating. With this fantastic group of instructors he prepared to their training on February, 5, 1941. The first civilian cadets reported 10 days later (March, 24, 1941) and started their training immediately.

Tex Rankin Diploma

Actual copy.

Distributed to all incoming cadets.

Date of occurrence: November 5, 1943

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