Eddie August Schneider

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Eddie August Schneider
Born October 20, 1911
Manhattan
Died December 23, 1940
Brooklyn
Spouse Gretchen Hahnen (1902-1986)
Parents Emil August Schneider (1886-1955) and Inga Karoline Eldora Pedersen (1882-1927)

Eddie August Schneider (October 20, 1911December 23, 1940) set the transcontinental airspeed record for pilots under the age of twenty-one in 1930. When he received his pilot's license, he was the youngest licensed pilot in the United States.

Biography[change | change source]

Eddie Schneider was born in 1911 in Manhattan in New York City. His father was Emil August Schneider, a banker and stock broker, born in Germany. The family moved from Manhattan to Red Bank, New Jersey, and then they moved to Jersey City, New Jersey by 1920. Eddie graduated from Dickinson High School in Jersey City in 1927, the same year that his mother died. After his mother's death, he and his parents visited Bielefeld, Germany and Farsund, Norway to visit with relatives. In Germany Eddie went on a plane ride and then aviation became his obsession. In 1929 he trained at Roosevelt Field on Long Island and became the youngest person in the United States to receive a commercial pilot's license. That same year he also received a mechanics license, becoming the youngest licensed airplane mechanic in New York.

On August 25, 1930 he set the round-trip transcontinental air speed record for pilots under the age of twenty-one years in his airplane. He flew from Westfield, New Jersey on August 14, 1930 to Los Angeles, California in 4 days with a combined flying time of 29 hours and 55 minutes. He lowered the East to West record by 4 hours and 22 minutes. He then made the return trip from Los Angeles to New York City in 27 hours and 19 minutes, lowering the West to East record by 1 hour and 36 minutes. His total elapsed time for the round trip was 57 hours and 14 minutes, breaking the preceding record for the round trip. Frank Goldsborough held the previous record which was 62 hours and 58 minutes. When Eddie landed in New York on August 25, 1930, his first words were to his father: "Hello Pop, I made it."

He married Gretchen Hahnen (1902-1986) in New York City on June 2, 1934. Gretchen was the daughter of Zora M. Hahnen (1882-1962) and was originally from Des Moines, Iowa. Eddie met her at an aviation function. They did not have any children.

In 1936 Eddie left for Spain to be a pilot in the Spanish American War which was against the law. He was only there for a month before he returned to the United States. When talking to reporters Eddie said: "I was broke, hungry, jobless ... yet despite the fact that all three of us are old-time aviators who did our part for the development of the industry, we were left out in the cold in the Administration’s program of job making. Can you blame us for accepting the lucrative Spanish offer?"

On December 23, 1940, Eddie was killed in an accident while training another pilot. They were trying to land, when a Navy pilot struck the tail of Eddie's plane. Eddie's plane went into a spin and crashed into the river. Both the student and Eddie were killed.