Marcellus F. Foose

Marcellus F. Foose

Marcellus Foose of Blue Island, Illinois, was born in Blaisdell, New York, on 26 June 1913. He is a pilot, a Federal Aviation Adminstration "Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award" recipient, and aircraft restoration specialist that has been intricately involved in aviation since childhood.

Foose was a mechanic and racer for the Indian Motorcycle Company before getting involved in aviation. He first flew in 1932 and soon met pioneer aviator Cornelius Coffey, who encouraged him to attend the Curtiss Wright School of Aviation on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The two would be close friends and business associates for the next sixty years.

While attending Curtiss Wright, Foose worked for Air Associates at Chicago's Municipal Airport (now Midway Airport) from 1935 to 1937. He teamed with Don Braum to form B&F Aircraft Service at Harlem Airport in Chicago in 1938. The company's aircraft rebuilding activities were well known in the Chicago area and it became the only Civilian Pilot Training Program service and overhaul center in the area through the years of World War II. Foose designed a very acceptable and CAA-approved sliding canopy and three-place conversion for the Fairchild PT-19 and PT-23, eventually selling over 100 units.

After the war, Foose opened the first sky advertising business in the Chicago area, called Sky Ads Incorporated, flying war surplus aircraft. The business proved to be unprofitable, but offered ample opportunities to fly. Next, Glen Courtwright joined Foose and Baum, and B&F Aircraft Service was reorganized as B&F Aircraft Supply. The company began buying war-surplus North American AT-6 Texan trainers from the government and refurbishing them for resale to private owners across the country.

Over the years, Marc Foose also rebuilt and flew many other aircraft, including the American Eaglet, A40 Taylorcraft, Porterfield, Waco GXE, B.W. Bird biplane, SM8A and Gullwing Stinson, Star Cavalier, Laird, Bellanca, Piper J3 Cub, Driggs, Curtiss Robin, Curtiss O-52 Owl, and many more. He has been an active member for many years of the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Antique Aircraft Association, as well as the OX-5 Club and the Air Force Association.

Foose has donated aircraft, engines, and parts to many aviation museums across the United States, including the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. He also donated a fully restored Boeing P-12E to the United States Air Force Museum. In 1999 and 2000 he donated the balance of his private collection and aircraft workshop to Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum.

These historic items, including many objects formerly owned by Cornelius Coffey and other famous aviators, will be the centerpiece of the new exhibit Barnstormers, Wing-walkers, and Entrepreneurs: 150 Years of Aviation in Illinois, slated to open in 2002. Mr. Foose is also helping to design many components of the new exhibition.