Covington Aircraft believes that remembering and honoring the history of aviation is vital to our daily operation in Okmulgee, OK. We highlight an important figure in Aviation, in this blog post, Clyde Zellers.
Clyde Zellers, certified as a private pilot at the age of seventeen, learned at the hands of renowned aircraft designer, Carl Unger. Unger, who designed the “Breezy” experimental aircraft, helped Clyde build his experience with many different aircrafts, and helped to promote his love for refinishing and rebuilding airplanes.
North American SNJ-5
At the age of 23, Clyde purchased and restored his first aircraft, a 1943 North American SNJ-5 and used that plane to continue to practice formation and aerobatics. He began a 40-year membership in the Civil Air Patrol and flew in his first air show in 1966. In 1969, he began flying ex-military aircraft and began his WARBIRD restorations.
Within a year of starting with Britt Airways in Terre Haute in 1984, where he started flying Beech-99 Airliners and Swearingen Metroliners, Clyde was flying the much larger Fairchild FH-227 Friendship. Clyde holds type ratings in eight different aircraft such as the Douglas DG-3 & AD-4N as well as the Beechcraft KingAir 350. He teaches airplanes, single and multi engine piston powered aircraft as well as formation flying and aerobatics.
Second Aircraft Purchase
In 1997, Clyde purchased his second aircraft, a 1952 North American SNJ-5 and embarked on an eight month restoration process. Clyde restored the plane with the unique and accurate paint scheme of Basic Training Unit Two, Corry Field, Pensacola Complex. The SNJ aircraft was painted silver by spraying a mix of silver powder paste and a clear lacquer.
Clyde’s varied experience with many aircraft and his painstaking restoration of two SNJ planes, makes him a vital part of the aviation world. Married to his understanding wife, Melinda, Clyde continues to fly in airshows using his two planes, and performing many of the aerobatics and formations he teaches.