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Tigers: Tracking a Legend
Frank A. Overcashier
Frank A. Overcashier was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania on July 15, 1887 and was educated in the Pittsburgh public school system. While in high school, an ambition Overcashier served apprenticeships as a machinist and in machine erecting and tool making. At age 18, he attended Carnegie Technical School for seven years and became an engineer.
In 1914, Overcashier started a trucking business. He operated a cartage and moving business for 10 years. During that time, Frank built and flew his first airplane. In 1920, he established the first commercial flying field in Michigan near Grand River Avenue in Detroit.
While in Detroit between 1929 and 1929, the Frank Overcashier Aviation School trained students to become mechanics, pilots, parachute jumpers and airplane welders. His was also one of the first aviation schools to teach women to become pilots.
Overcashier and his pilots were the first licensed pilots in the United States. His transport license number issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce was "1-1-1-1." In 1925, at the Ford Airport, Overcashier received 12 awards in flying skill contests, of which seven were first place honors.
During the same year, Frank established a "Flying Circus," which barnstormed the state as a successful operation for several years. He carried over 16,000 passengers without injury and logged 2,800 hours of personal flying time.
In the early 1920s, Frank established the Overcashier Aircraft Manufacturing Company in Detroit, Michigan. This was the first aircraft manufacturing business registered in the state of Michigan. Overcashier three-place monoplanes were exhibited at the All-American Aircraft Show at Convention Hall in 1927 and 1928.
Overcashier was a long-time member of the Detroit Flying Club along with such other notable members as Eddie Stinson, Eddie Rickenbacker and Jimmy Doolittle. He has been featured in the "Who's Who in American Aeronautics" and "Jane's World Aircraft" publications.
After an illustrious and pioneering aeronautical career, Frank A. Overcashier died in 1948. He was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on October 8, 2005.