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Nebraska Department of Aeronautics
Mr. Ronnie Mitchell, Director

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E. J. Sias incorporated the Lincoln Auto and Tractor School in 1918 and two years later started training aircraft mechanics. In 1928, Sias acquired the former Ray Page flight school and combined it with his mechanics school under the name Lincoln Airplane and Flying School. Flight training was first conducted at the old Municipal Airport in Lincoln, NE but was moved to Union Airport, which Sias owned. Union Airport was located north of Fletcher Avenue between North 56th and 70th. By 1938 the schools were “widely known throughout the world”. In 1939, the Chief of the Army Air Corp, Major General Henry “Hap” Arnold, selected the nine best civilian flying schools in the nation to train Air Corps pilots. Sias’ school was one of them. Bad flying weather doomed the Air Corps training in Lincoln, so Sias moved the Air Corps flight training to Lakeland, FL in late 1940 and sold it. Sias then moved his civilian training program from the old Municipal Airport to Union Airport, where it continued in conjunction with the University of Nebraska. This federally sponsored program had been initiated in 1939 and was aptly named, the Civilian Pilot Training Program. It served primarily as the screening program for potential military pilots. It was phased out in 1944. In 1941, the Lincoln Airplane and Flying School celebrated it’s 21st anniversary. Sias received dozens of telegrams and letters of congratulations, including messages from major airlines, plane manufactures, the Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Chief of the Army Air Corps. Sias dissolved both his Lincoln Airplane and Flying School and the Lincoln Aeronautical Institute corporations in July 1945, when he was 68 and retired. Sias died in 1955 in Lincoln. Union Airport was closed in 1964 when municipal aviation returned to the deactivated air base.

 

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