Carl (Nick) M Nicholson

OX5 #13609  12-15-1916  9-1-1997

–by Larry Nicholson, Son

Jack Jefford of Alaska pioneer airman fame (Winging It :Rand McNally, 1981.) taught  my Father Nick (Carl preferred to be called Nick by his friends) how to fly at Broken Bow NE.  He soloed the Robin on March 5, 1935 at which time the Robin was not licensed and bore the number 398K.  At that time an airplane was not required to be licensed which allowed you to carry passengers or do anything you wanted to do.

Originally a burnt orange color, the 1930 OX powered Robin-Roberstson had been painted black and silver.  A short time later while flying the Robin, the horizontal stabilizer covering ballooned up which prevented the nose to rise above a 15 degree nose low attitude.  Nick was just able to land it.  Inspection also revealed that the fabric was brittle and would crumble in your hands.  The stabilizer was soon recovered and then Nick and Bob Booth recovered the wings.  Bureau of Commerce famed Aero Inspector Harold Montee licensed the Robin and the number was changed to NC 398K.  Montee issued Nick’s first pilot’s license, a limited commercial on April 9, 1936 at Lincoln, Nebraska.

Nick instructed and barnstormed mostly in Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota with aviaton pioneers Bob Booth, Charlie Geise, Shorty Cochrane, Jim Clarke, Johnny Deiter, Bob DeWald, Harold Hartley, Ken Holmes, Jack and Bill Jefford, Joe Lambert, Hans Mirow, Evelyn Sharp (Sharpie by Diane Ruth Armour Bartels), Howard Taber, Steve Tuttle, and Jack Westphal.  He instructed on the CPTP with Ken Holmes for Don Pratt at Hays, Kansas, in 1939 and 1940.

In September of 1940 Nick became a civilian flight instructor for the Spartan Air Corps Training Detachment at Tulsa, OK.  Jay Gentry gave him his school check ride.  Near the end of the war he instructed British students for Spartan at the No. 3 British Flying Training School (#3 BFTS) at Miami, OK.  (The Royal Air Force in Oklahoma by Paula Carmack Denson, 2006.)

After the war he flew a G model Staggerwing Beach for Fred Manning at Casper, Wyoming.  This was his favorite airplane.  Bill Halverson has restored the Staggerwing to better than new condition.  It was Grand Champion at Oshkosh in 1989 and was in the November Sport Aviation.


Larry Nicholson has audio taped many flying stories of his Father and friends and is now in the process of editing them for a story book he is writing.

The airplane behind Carl Nicholson is his 1930 OX powered Curtis-Robertson.