Clarence E. “Dutch” & Joan Fay Shankle
Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame
Clarence E. “Dutch” Shankle was trained as a US Army pilot during the closing days of WWI. After the war ended, “Dutch” became the flying instructor for the Aviation Unit, 26th Division, US Army based in Boston, MA. “Dutch” and Joan Fay were married in Boston. Soon after the wedding, “Dutch” began giving Joan Fay flying lessons.
In 1929, Joan Fay became the first woman in Massachusetts to earn a private pilot’s license. In 1930, Joan Fay became the first woman to be issued a limited commercial pilot’s license. In 1931, Captain “Dutch” Shankle resigned his commission and the Shankles purchased the 500-acre Pajorito ranch north of Tubac, Arizona. Their first addition to the ranch was a runway and hanger. They flew a “Stearman” J-5 and a Lockheed Sirius from their ranch runway. From 1931 thru 1941, both Shankles were prominent in national aviation events. In 1931, Joan Fay was the first woman to fly from Boston to Miami. She was also the first woman to fly solo from the West coast to the East coast. She was the only woman to compete in the National Air Race. She competed in the 2400-mile Women’s Speed Classic, finishing third in the field of 16.
From 1929 to 1938, Joan Fay logged over 1300 flying hours. She earned her instrument rating in 1937. In 1933, both Shankles entered the Air Race at the First Annual Tucson Air Show. “Dutch” took first place and Joan Fay third in the “Pathe Movie News” filmed race. Captain Clarence E. “Dutch” Shankle was recalled to active duty during WWII. He served his country well and retired as a Colonel.