Not all aviators became aces.  Some did not even make it out of the country.

According to one source, Charles Luther Cone joined the Army Air Corps before the American entry into the war.  He had learned to fly, and he did it so well that in the Army of 1916, that meant he could train other pilots.  This claim seems a bit off, as an Army Air Service wasn’t created until after the entry in the war in April 1917.

Cone was born in Chanute on February 22, 1890.  His family moved to Lawrence, where he graduated from high school and entered the University of Kansas.  He studied engineering, and he planned on making a career of it.

Now the claim that he had joined the Air Corps before the war becomes murkier when you consider that he signed up for draft registration  on June 5, 1917, in Topeka.  His occupation was listed as civil engineer for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway.

He does seemed to have been training pilots to fly.  He was doing so on June 6, 1918, when his plane crashed and both he and the student were killed.  He was returned to Lawrence and buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.