Eddie August Schneider


 Eddie August Schneider (1911-1940) Record Holding Aviator; Fought for the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War; Died in a Plane Crash (b. October 20, 1911, 2nd Avenue and 17th Street, Manhattan, New York County, New York City, New York, USA - d. December 23, 1940, Deep Creek and Flatbush Avenue, Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, Kings County, Long Island, New York City, New York, USA)

Birth:
Son of Emil August Schneider (1886-1955), a banker born in Germany; and Inga Pedersen (1885-1927) who was born in Farsund, Norway.

Siblings:
Eddie had one full sibling: Alice Violetta Schneider (1913-2002) who married John Harms (1905-1985). His father, Emil, remarried after his mother, Inga, died. Emil's second wife was Margaret Jacobsen (1896-1989), and they had a child.

New York to New Jersey:
The family moved from Manhattan, New York City to Red Bank, Monmouth County, New Jersey and then to Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey.

Drop Out of School:
Eddie appears to have dropped out of school at age 15, but later graduated from Dickinson High School in Jersey City around 1927 or 1928.

Death of Mother:
In 1927 his mother, Inga, died. The remaining family then visited Germany and Norway to be with relatives.

Aviator:
In Germany Eddie went on an airplane ride and then aviation became his obsession. In 1929 he trained at Roosevelt Field on Long Island and became the youngest person in the United States to receive a commercial pilot's license. That same year he also received a mechanics license. In April 1930 Eddie was living in Hempstead, Nassau County, Long Island with a friend named Carl Schenider (1898-?) who was not related. Carl was working as a mechanic. Emil Schneider and Margaret may have been living at 114 Carlton Avenue in Jersey City in 1930. The New York Times reported on July 30, 1930: "Boy Pilot Seeks Record; Jersey City Student Set to Fly to Pacific Coast and Back in August."

Junior Transcontinental Air Speed Record:
On August 25, 1930 Eddie set a round-trip transcontinental record for pilots under the age of twenty-one years in his Cessna. The elapsed time was 57 hours, and 14 minutes between Los Angeles and Jersey City. When he landed at Roosevelt Field on Long Island his first words were to his father: "Hello Pop, I made it". The previous record holder was Frank H. Goldsborough (1910-1930) who died in a plane crash on July 16, 1930.

National Air Tour:
In 1930 and 1931 Eddie participated in the National Air Tour and he won the Great Lakes Trophy.

Hoover Air League:
In 1932 he worked for the Hoover Air League.

Marriage:
He married Gretchen Hahnen (1902-1986) in Manhattan in New York City on June 02, 1934. Gretchen was originally from Des Moines, Iowa. She was a member the Jersey City Young Woman's Christian Association (YWCA) and was director of the Aviation Club of The Jersey Journal, Junior Club Magazine. Eddie met her at an Aviation Club function. Their certificate was number "14174". The New York Times on June 24, 1934Wrote: “Marriage announced of Gretchen Hahnen. Jersey City Girl Wed to Eddie A. Schneider, Aviator, Here on June 2. Jersey City, New Jersey, June 23, 1934. The marriage on June 2 of Gretchen Hahnen of Jersey City, New Jersey governor of the Women's International Aeronautic Association, and Eddie A. Schneider of Jersey City, who in 1928, at age of 16 was the youngest air pilot to hold a commercial license, was announced today. The couple was married at the New York Municipal Building. Miss Hahnen, daughter of Mrs. Zora M. Hahnen of Des Moines, Iowa, and Mr. Schneider met when Miss Hahnen was organizing the Jersey City Junior Aeronautical Association, of which Mr. Schneider was sponsor. In 1930 Mr. Schneider broke the transcontinental junior speed record by lowering the mark of the late Frank Goldsborough. Mr. Schneider won the Great Lakes Trophy in the Ford national reliability tour in 1930 and in the 1931 tour he won first place for single-motored planes. He was director of the aviation division of the Hoover Business League in 1932. After July 1 the couple will live in Jersey City. Mr. Schneider is the son of Emil A. Schneider of North Arlington.”

Jersey City Airport:
In 1935 Eddie leased the Jersey City Airport and ran his flying school from there until the field was converted into a stadium. The New York Times reported on September 26, 1935 on page 08: "Mayor Frank Hague of Jersey City announced yesterday he had been informed that the Works Progress Administration had approved the city's application for an $800,000 grant to build a municipal sports stadium."

Spanish Civil War:
On November 11, 1936, Eddie left for Spain to fly for the Loyalists in the Revolution. He was living at 50 Jones Street in Jersey City at the time. Eddie was never paid what he was promised and he returned to the US in January of 1937. On January 01, 1937 the New York Times reported: "With stories of each other's adventures and none about their own, Bert Acosta, Gordon Berry, Eddie Schneider and Frederick Lord returned to Paris this morning from two months' experience in the civil war in Spain." The New York Times on January 16, 1937 stated the following: "Eddie Schneider, 25-year-old aviator, who recently returned to the United States after serving a month in the so-called Yankee Squadron with the Spanish Loyalists, said yesterday that a New York lawyer had negotiated with him for his services abroad." In the late editions of The New York Times on January 16, 1937, and in the early edition of January 17, 1937 there appeared an item concerning the return of Eddie Schneider, aviator, from serving a month in the so-called Yankee Squadron with the Spanish Loyalists and Schneider's appearance at the Federal Building, where he was questioned by John F. Dailey Jr., Chief Assistant United States [Attorney].

American Airlines:
In 1940 Eddie stood at 68 inches and weighed 158 pounds. He had blonde hair and blue eyes and had a scar on his right thumb. In June of 1940 he began work for American Airlines at Newark airport in New Jersey. He then moved to Jackson Heights on Long Island, when American Airlines eastern terminal moved to LaGuardia Field. He took a job as a civilian instructor for the US Army at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn with the Archie Baxter Flying Service.

Death in Plane Crash:
On December 23, 1940, Eddie was killed in a training accident at Floyd Bennett Field at age 29 when he was training George W. Herzog (c1900-1940). He was flying at about 600 feet, about to land when Navy pilot Kenneth A. Kuehner, age 25, of Minister, Ohio struck the tail assembly of Eddie's Piper Cub. Eddie's plane went into a spin and crashed into Deep Creek just off Flatbush Avenue. Both Herzog and Schneider were dead at the scene of impact. The bodies were taken to King's County Hospital. His obituary appeared in the Jersey Journal and The New York Times on December 24, 1940. His death certificate lists the cause of death as "crushed chest & abdomen; hemothorax & hemoperitoneum: in aeroplane crash". He was living at 3250 93rd Street in Brooklyn when he died. His Medical Examiner Case Number is 4418.

Widow writes Bert Acosta:
Gretchen Hahnen (1902-1986) to Bert Acosta (1895-1945); June 30, 1953. My dear Bert: I was so glad to see this article in the paper, though I knew you were in Denver. A man, whose name I cannot remember, came into the office last spring, he's a flyer, and told me where you were, and that you were getting along fine. I feel terrible not to have written long before this and I am afraid you will think I am not a very good friend, but I have thought of you often and said many prayers for you and now they are being answered. I thought you might like to have this clipping. Do you remember that I had the original picture of you officially receiving the Pulitzer Speed Trophy and wanted it? The reason I didn't give it to you was because I was afraid you would lose it. Several months ago, I sent that picture along with my complete avaiation library of 127 books, to the National Air Museum at the Smithsonian Institution and that is where it is now. They sent me a copy of the picture and I am mailing it to you under seperate cover. The books are catalogues and now known as the "Eddie Schneider Memorial Library" and I am happy about that. When I came back to Forth Worth from New York in 1948, I gave all of Eddie's scrap books, international license signed by Orville Wright and other licenses to the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in New York. I knew that if anything happened to me, there probably wouldn't be [anyone] who would care about them and that is why I sent all the stuff away. I am delighted to hear that you are going to start writing your memoirs. I have often thought of the opportunity I had when we were living with you and Gloria to have jotted down many of the things you told us to be used for just such a purpose, but now you have lots of time to look over the past and I hope you will. I seldom hear from anyone back East, let alone see them. I hear from Casey Jones once in a while, also Viola Gentry, who is working in New York. Saw Clarence Chamberlin on TV not long ago and he said he was completely out of aviation, though the last time I heard from him, he had been in Bellanca a couple of years ago. After my divorce from Herb Gray, I stopped over in Kansas City on my way to New York, to see Carl Schneider, remember him? His address is P.O Box 23, Muncie, Kansas, in case you ever want to contact him. There was an article in the newspaper last week about Al Baumler, who the last time I saw him he was a Major in the Air Force and is now an Airman 1st Class and is in ... the Americans Millie Lord and I met in France and later in Alicante, and it was through him, that she and I eventually got to Valancia where you and Dingle and Eddie were. Its funny, but I can remember every detail of that trip to Spain. I shall never forget the day you all sailed and when Eddie asked me to have a last drink with him, I started to bawl, you came over, knocked my chin up with your fist, "If your going to drink, smile when you do it." The impact knocked all my tears right and left, and it really helped me to tell him goodbye. I have loads of clippings left, and Eddie's diary on that Spanish deal, so if you need any refreshers, let me know. The enclosed picture is of my mom, who visited us in February for a month and my present husband, and I might add, my last, come what may. She is still full of life and vinegar and can drink me under the table despite the fact I am 20 years younger than she. Three years ago she ran for Republican committeewoman in her district, and won! She was 71 last January. We had a wonderful time when she was here, and she and Grant immediately became buddies. Though I have had two marriages end in tragedy, I am hoping this will last a long time. My husband is a great guy, has over 16 years in the Air Force, over nine of them as a Master Sergeant. He is a Yankee, thank God, no more Texans for me. Gray was a Texan and he told me once, that Texans considered their battle and women in the same category, and that strictly wasn't for me. However, he didn't go haywire mentally, until all of my $10,500 was gone, and now I am as poor as a churchmouse again, but at least I am very happy. ... and electronics specialist. You'd like him, Bert, and vice versa. They are shipping people out of here very fast, but we seem to stay on and watch everyone else leave, however, our turn will come along one of these days. My fervent hope, is that it wouldn't be Limestone, Maine; Rapid City, South Dakota; or Roswell, New Mexico. Of course our preference would be March Field near Los Angeles or that other one near San Francisco, but of course we will have no choice.  I wouldn't mind being sent to Europe, France, Germany, Norway, England or even Casablanca, why be in the Air Force and stay in one place? Fort Worth is a nice place, but I've got itchy feet. This is the third summer in a row now that we have suffered with intense heat, up around 104 degress every day, and I don't like it. Both of us would like Denver, it is a really swell place and who knows, you might see us there sometime. Bert, I wont keep on yaking, you must be half dead now after reading all this stuff, but I want you to know I am pulling for you and am so happy you are on the road to recovery. If you are able, I would love to hear from you. Take care of yourself now and with lots of love, I'll close. Mrs. Grant A. Black, (Gretchen Schneider), 6109 Halloway Street, Fort Worth, Texas.