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Friday, May 6, 2016

Clay County Historical Society to discuss legendary Indiana pilot McDaniels

Monday, February 7, 2005

When a young farm boy in the hills of Pennsylvania looked up into the sky towards a strange sound, catching a glimpse of what turned out to be the engine of a roaring airplane in 1938, Orvis Knarr was never the same again.

"A love of flight has been a part of my entire life since that day," Knarr said, explaining the reason he chose the topic for his book scheduled for release later this year. "I met and became friends with Robert "Bob" McDaniels in 1987. His story is so incredible that I felt it had to be told."

McDaniels, a native of Muncie, was one of three "good ol' boys" that created an airplane business in Indiana during the early days of aviation known as "The Delaware Flyers." Their exploits, highlighting McDaniels especially, remain legendary at airports around the state and are the basis for the book "Middletown's Maverick Flyer."

"People don't know that McDaniels held three early aviation records," Knarr said, explaining that the pilot didn't have a license at the time of two of the records. "And many don't know that McDaniels actually flew a small part of aviation history."

McDaniels and a partner logged 90 minutes of flying time on the infamous Lion 12810 monoplane manufactured by the Brazil Aircraft Corporation in 1932.

Knarr will be at the Clay County Historical Society at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7. His presentation is a lively mix of personal stories about the early days of aviation, his friend McDaniels, slides and a video. The public is invited to attend.

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