Reginald Sinclaire
CAHS Honored in 1969

Click to view the SINCLAIRE_REGINALD album
Click to view the SINCLAIRE_REGINALD albumReggie Sinclaire was born in Corning, New York on August 30, 1893, where his family had founded the Corning Glass Company. Corning is within bicycle range of Hammondsport, the home of the Curtiss Airplane factory and school. He visited there often and was welcomed by the operators. His first plane ride was with Ruth Law, one of the first women pilots of the time and one of the most famous.

He was fascinated by the automobiles and airplanes that were new to the 20th century. While he was studying at Yale, World War I started in Europe. He tried to join the U.S. Signal Corps to become a pilot, but was not accepted because he had not finished college. After that rebuff, he went to France. Where he was accepted for flying training, and accepted in the French Air Force. Others did the same, but when the United States entered the war, Reggie elected to stay with the French. He trained at the Bleriot flying school in May 1917 with primitive planes without parachutes, and without two-place planes, so a student's first flight was a solo. After flying a number of different planes, his favorite became the SPAD and one with which he is most associated. Reggie became a member of the famous Lafayette Flying Corps made up of Americans flying for the French. He had a number of confirmed aerial victories over planes and balloons and he was awarded three Croix de Guerre medals with Palms, and other honors.

"Duke", as he was sometimes called, came to Colorado at the end of WWI, at which time he purchased an Alexander Eaglerock plane with a Curtiss C-6 engine. He later had a special engine put into another Alexander plane, which he raced in the 1928 National Air Races in Los Angeles, finishing second.

In WWII, he served as a Navy Commander teaching aerial gunnery to fighter pilots in the Pacific Theater. In the post-war years, he owned a succession of twin-engine Beechcraft airplanes. He served as a member of the first Colorado Aeronautics Commission under the direction of Governor Billy Adams

Reggie was the official historian and a former president of the Lafayette Flying Corps Association. He attended the final reunion of this organization in Colorado Springs in 1983.