James G. Ray

United States of America



James G. Ray, a native Texan, born in October, 1898, was a flight instructor and pursuit pilot in World War I and from 1920 to 1924 was a test and commercial pilot for the Curtiss Exhibition Co. In 1920 he organized Pitcairn Aviation, the predecessor of Eastern Airlines. As vice president of Pitcairn, until 1938, he test flew autogiros extensively.  He was instrumental, as well, in forming the Autogiro Co. of America.

From 1939 to 1941, Mr. Ray was general manager of All American Aviation, forerunner of Allegheny Airlines.  From 1941 to 1948, he was vice president and general manager of Southwest Airways.  His consulting firm, Ray and Ray, began operations in 1948 in Washington.  He helped establish Washington-Baltimore Helicopter Airways, of which he also was general manager, in 1960.

Mr. Ray received the Collier Trophy in 1930 for his work with the autogiro.  In addition to his membership in AHS, he was a member of the Helicopter Association of America, Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Quiet Birdmen, Twirly Birds, and the Aviation and Aero Clubs.

James G. Ray, AHS member and president of Washington-Baltimore Airways, died May 18, 1966 at Doctors Hospital, Washington, D.C.  Only a few days earlier, Mr. Ray had arranged for one of his company's helicopters to land General Frank S. Besson, Jr. USA, atop the Sheraton-Park Hotel in Washington to fill an engagement as membership luncheon speaker at the AHS 22nd Annual National Forum.

Obituary (pg-8): VERTIFLITE May 1966




Milestones associated with James G. Ray
February 14, 1929 Pitcairn-Cierva Autogiro Company of America formed