by Willis Stuckey, Jr.
Willis graduated from Automotive High School and started co-op as a line man at Cincinnati Aircraft on Lunken Air Field in 1937.
After the flood and upon graduation, Elmer and Melly Schmidt; owners of Cincinnati Aircraft decide to start Willis out as a mechanic. Half of his pay was flying time. He started learning to fly in a Taylorcraft and an Aeronca C-3 under the instruction of Wendell Fleming.
After receiving his Pilot’s License in 1939, he purchased his own Aeronca C-3. In 1942, he received his A & E mechanic’s license along with his Magnaflux License.
He married Mary Dunn in 1940 his wife of 56 years. After receiving a draft notice, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps to serve in WWII. Loving radial engines he wanted to be a mechanic on a Boeing B-29 Superfortress, but instead was made a B-29 gunner.
After the war he returned to Cincinnati Aircraft and worked to earn his IA (Inspection Authorization License). In 1946, he and his wife had a son. In 1946 he started work on Edmund P (Ebby) Lunken’s P-51 Mustang that was converted for racing. He became Ebby’s friend over the years and worked on all of his aircraft. He never wanted to graduate to jet engines, keeping his A & E for life and being the only IA License holder for years on Lunken Airport.
After working on Lunken Airport for 50 years and on all kinds of aircraft, he was well know all over the country. He decided to retire in 1987.
Over the years he received such awards as the Federal Aviation Administration Safety Award in 1973, City Of Cincinnati Award in 1986.
He belonged to the Ohio Aviation Technicians Society (OATS) and died in 1997 at the age of seventy-eight.