Historic Markers Across Alabama

Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault / Three Men on a Flying Trapeze

Marker ID: AHA 
Location: in front Base Operations and Passenger Terminal at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL
County: Montgomery
Coordinates: N 32° 22.880    W 086° 21.246
  32.38133333    -86.3541
Waymark: WME0R7


Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault

Born in Commerce, Texas, on September 6, 1893, Chennault was commissioned in 1917 and received his wings in 1919. A graduate of and instructor at the Air Corps Tactical School, he became a leading advocate of pursuit aviation, and later formed the nationally renowned aero demonstration team called the "Flying Trapezers." Channault retired in 1937 and went to China where he established the legendary "Flying Tigers." He was recalled to active duty in 1942 as commander of the USAF in China and later commanded the 14th Air Force. He retired from service in 1945 and died in New Orleans, LA, on July 27, 1958.

Three Men on a Flying Trapeze

The Flying Trapezers, the Air Corps' first aerial demonstration team, was established under Maxwell's Air Corps Tactical School in 1932. Led by Capt Claire Chennault, members included Lt Haywood Hansell, Sgt John Williamson, and Sgt William McDonald. Chennault used P-12Cs to perform loops, rolls, and figure eights to show his fellow officers that three planes could execute with precision the violent and difficult maneuvers necessary to attack and destroy invading bombers. The team played a key role in developing pursuit tactics and in discrediting the "bomber invincibility" theory before being disbanded in 1936.

End of Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault / Three Men on a Flying Trapeze