‘Flying Over Time’ exhibit brings untold story to life

by Carolyn Dryer

Full Article:  http://www.peoriatimes.com/features


Donald A. Hall, Sr. Biography Highlights

  • Born December 7th, 1898 – Brooklyn, New York
  • Graduated from Pratt Institute – Industrial Mechanical Engineering, 1917-19
  • US Army (S.A.T.C.) – Rank: Private, 1918
  • Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Corp. – Junior draftsman, checker, designer, 1919-21
  • Elias & Bros – Aerodynamic design and acting chief engineer, 1921-22
  • Designed night bombardment airplane, which won prize in competition at Dayton, OH, 1922
  • The Douglas Company – Aerodynamics engineer, 1924-25
  • Ford Motor Company (Airplane Division) – Airplane designer, 1926
  • US Army (Brooks Field Army Air Corps) – Rank: Flying Cadet, 1926
  • Ryan Airlines, Inc. – Chief engineer & Parts inspector, 1927-28
  • Designed the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles A. Lindbergh, winner of the Orteig prize, 1927
  • Author – National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Technical Note #257, “Technical Preparation of the Spirit of St. Louis,” 1927
  • Hall Aeronautical Development Co. – President and chief engineer, 1929-1936
  • Consolidated Vultee Aircraft/Convair – Aerodynamics and pre-design engineer, Patent director, 1936-49
  • Associate Fellow – American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA), 1937-1968
  • Prepared Technical Appendix in Charles A. Lindbergh’s Pulitzer prize-winning book, The Spirit of St. Louis, 1953
  • Naval Air Station (North Island) – Head supervisor: Helicopter Engineering branch, 1949-1963
  • Died, May 2nd, 1968 – San Diego, California

The biography above describes Nova Hall’s grandfather, who was the designer of the Spirit of St. Louis with Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris in 1927. (Source: Nova Hall book, “Spirit and Creator”)

Hall, who was born in 1976, eight years after his grandfather died, grew up with the knowledge he wanted to be an artist or an aviation engineer. He remained unsure of his talent until he met Leondro Soto, his mentor and a professor at Arizona State University.

Born in Idlewild, N.Y., raised in Sedona and San Diego, Calif., Hall went to Verde Valley School, where, he said, “I learned about art and composition.”

It was while under Soto’s tutelage Hall gained confidence in his work.

“Leondro pushed me in ways I wasn’t confident,” he said.

Before that, however, in 1997, while enrolled at Northern Arizona University, Hall dropped out to care for his father, Donald Hall Jr., who was gravely ill. He took care of his father until he recovered.

After his dad recovered sufficiently, Hall went back to school. It was during that time in 1999, he discovered a locked steamer trunk in his garage. It belonged to his father.

“My father didn’t remember what was in it,” he said.   (MORE)


The West Valley Art Museum exhibition is from January 12th to March 19th.  Http://www.wvam.org

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