Guide to the William Laufer Aviation Collection

William Laufer Aviation Collection
Wright State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives
Phone: 937-775-2092
Laufer, William F., 1933-2002
Bulk dates:
15.2 linear feet
William Laufer was an aviation mechanic for the Southern Ohio Aviation Company and later, an instructor for the Miami Valley Career Technology Center teaching in their FAA Certified Aircraft Mechanic's program. The collection contains aircraft maintenance training material, general federal aviation maintenance guidance, and a variety of aircraft maintenance manuals including manuals for Beechcraft, Cessna, Douglas, and WACO airplanes. The collection also includes parts catalogs and sales brochures for propeller-driven aircraft, including aircraft engines, propellers, and a variety of parts for aircraft including gyroscopes, radios, spark plugs, and generators.
The records are in English

Biography of William L. Laufer

A native of Troy, Ohio, Bill graduated from Troy High School in 1951. He was employed by General Motors Aero Products for fifteen months before going on to Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he received FAA Airframe and Power Plant certificates, as well as a Private Pilot's certificate in 1954.

He worked as an aircraft mechanic for Southern Ohio Aviation Company, an Aero Commander/Navion dealership in the Dayton area for seventeen years, the last twelve years as mechanic/crew-chief. He worked on corporate twin engine aircraft for many large companies and famous people such as: WLW Broadcasting Co., Anchor-Hocking Glass Co. United States Forestry Service, State of Ohio, State of West Virginia, State of Kentucky, Jack Nicklaus, the Kettering family, and was the mechanic for the jet airplane used by the Mercury Astronauts.

Bill was always looking for a better, easier way to do things. In 1963, he developed a tool used to jack-up an aircraft so as not to damage the plane. For this he received special recognition from the FAA and was the recipient the Outstanding Aviation Mechanic's Award for the State of Ohio. Only one Ohioan is chosen each year to receive this prestigious award.

After receiving his teaching credentials from University of Cincinnati in 1971, he joined the staff at the newly opened Montgomery County Joint Vocational School (now known as Miami Valley Career Technology Center) as an instructor in their FAA Certified Aircraft Mechanic's program. It was during his tenure there that he gained certification as a Designated Mechanic's Examiner. After twenty-three years in education, he retired in 1994. He had the privilege of training and mentoring many fine students, five of whom earned first place awards in the State and National VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America) Skills Contests receiving scholarships for further training, fully equipped tool boxes and great job offers. He was able to place students in jobs in the aircraft field. He maintained contact with former students over the years, often being able to help them up-grade to better jobs.

Scope and Content

The William Laufer Collection is a collection of aircraft maintenance materials used by Mr. Laufer during his career as an aircraft mechanic and as a teacher at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center. The collection consists of training maintenance manuals for aircraft, aircraft engines, and a wide variety of aircraft parts. Also included are parts catalogs and sales brochures for aircraft, engines, propellers, and aircraft parts. The collection is divided into eight series.

Series I, Aircraft Maintenance Training (1943-1988) contains material used to train aircraft mechanics. A large part of this series are training manuals prepared by the Aviation Maintenance Foundation, Inc. during the 1970s. Also included in this series are manuals for military training courses developed by both the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. The series ends with a variety of training manuals developed by the aircraft industry or individuals.

Series II, Federal Guidance and Technical Orders (1919-1986) is divided into two sections. The first section contains guidance issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or its predecessor, the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA). Within this section the guidance is grouped according to the issuing agency. The second section is Technical Orders issued by a variety of agencies for the overhaul or maintenance of aircraft or their parts.

Series III, Aircraft Manuals, Parts Catalogs, and Sales Brochures (1928-1998) is the largest of the eight series. This series is organized according to manufacturer and then chronologically within each manufacturer. Twenty-one manufacturers are listed in this section with the largest being Beechcraft, Cessna, Douglas, Piper, and WACO. Of note for researchers are the Service Bulletins and Parts Catalogs for the Douglas DC-3/C-47.

Series IV, Aircraft Engine Maintenance Manuals, Parts Catalogs, and Sales Brochures (1932-1992) is organized by manufacturer and then chronologically within each manufacturer. Fourteen manufacturers are listed in this section with the largest being the Continental Aircraft Engine Company, Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, and Wright Aeronautical Corporation (Curtiss-Wright Aeronautical Corporation). Along with maintenance and overhaul manuals, there are a large number of Parts Catalogs for the aircraft engines, particularly Wright Aeronautical Engines.

Series V, Propeller Maintenance Manuals, Parts Catalogs, and Sales Brochures (1937-1977) is organized by manufacturer and then chronologically within each manufacturer. Six propeller manufacturers are listed in this series including Aeroproducts, Beech, Curtiss, Hamilton Standard, Hartzell, and McCauley.

Series VI, General Aircraft Parts Catalogs, Maintenance Manuals, and Sales Brochures (1938-1993) is another very large series with forty-four manufacturers listed. The series is organized by manufacturer and then chronologically with manufacturer. The types of parts included are spark plugs, aircraft hoses and fittings, radios and communication systems, magnetos, fuel injection systems, generators and electric starters, aircraft tires and breaks, batteries, landing gear, navigation lights, automatic pilots, and gyroscopes. The manufacturer with the largest representation in this series is Bendix Corporation, including Eclipse-Pioneer Electric Starters and Generators and Bendix-Scintilla Magnetos.

Series VII, General Aviation Information (1923-1997) is divided into nine sections. The first section includes aeronautical charts for a variety of cities/regions in the United States most of which are dated during the 1960s. The second section is WACO Aircraft General Information contains general information about WACO aircraft. Mr. Laufer was a volunteer at the WACO Historical Society and Museum. The third section is general information on the Wright Brothers which contains several brochures. The fourth section contains Aircraft Mechanic Publications such as Pocket Manuals for aircraft mechanics and similar information. The fifth section contains Aviation Publications produced by a variety of people and organizations. The sixth section contains general information on a variety of topics including the Curtiss OX-5 aircraft engine, magazine articles, and information on several aviators including Jimmy Doolittle and Roscoe Turner. The seventh sections contains wall charts and aviation posters providing information on aviation. The last two sections contain photographs and art, along with miscellaneous information including the "Mechanic's Creed" and log books.

Series VIII, Audiovisual Material (1929-1997) contains VHS tapes, 8 mm film, and 16 mm film. The VHS tapes and film primarily contain footage of WACO Glider Aircraft, WACO aircraft in general, and National Air Races footage.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into eight series:
Series I: Aircraft Maintenance Training, 1943-1988
Series II: Federal Guidance and Technical Orders, 1919-1986
Series III: Aircraft Maintenance Manuals, Parts Catalogs, and Sales Brochures, 1928-1998
Series IV: Aircraft Engine Maintenance Manuals, Parts Catalogs, and Sales Brochures, 1932-1992
Series V: Propeller Maintenance Manuals, Parts Catalogs, and Sales Brochures, 1937-1977
Series VI: General Aircraft Parts Catalogs, Maintenance Manuals, and Sales Brochures, 1938-1993
Series VII: General Aviation Information, 1923-1997
Series VIII: Audiovisual Material, 1929-1997

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Related Material: Related Material

MS-305, W. J. Blanchard, Aeroproducts, Inc. Collection

MS-343, WACO Aircraft Company Photographic Collection

MS-356, Curtiss-Wright Aeronautical Engine Drawing Collection

Separated Material: Separated Material

Books donated with the collection have been cataloged and added to the Special Collections and Archives Reading Room.

Subject Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Aircraft industry -- United States--History
Airplanes -- Maintenance and repair
Airplanes -- Motors
Airplanes -- Turbine propeller engines
Propellers, Aerial


Laufer, William L., 1933-2002


Troy (Ohio) -- History


Aviation mechanics (Persons) -- Training -- United States

Material Types:

Motion picture film
Technical orders

Preferred Citation

[Description of Item, Date, Box #, Folder #], MS-486, William Laufer Aviation Collection, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.

Acquisition Information

The William Laufer Aviation Collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives by Gail R. Laufer, William Laufer's wife, in September 2013.

Processing Information

Processed by John L. Armstrong, 2015.

Other Finding Aid

The finding aid is available on the Special Collections & Archives, Wright State University Libraries web site at