Albert I. Lodwick was born in Mystic, Iowa on March 4, 1904, the youngest son of a coal mine owner/operator. He attended local public schools and worked in his father's coal mining business before beginning his college studies at Iowa Wesleyan College. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1925 and went on to Harvard Business School, from which he received a Master of Science degree in Business Administration in 1927.
After a brief sojourn in Arizona, Lodwick began what would be a life long career in the aviation industry with an appointment as a statistician in a subsidiary of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in 1929. He worked his way up the corporate ladder of Curtiss-Wright, eventually becoming assistant to the president. Lodwick remained with Curtiss-Wright until 1938 when he resigned to become president of the Stinson Aircraft Corporation. He also continued to serve as an officer or board member of a number companies prominent in the aviation industry, including the Hughes Tool Company.
Lodwick purchased an interest in the Lincoln (NE) Flying School, a civilian flight training school, and moved its operations to Lakeland in 1940, renaming it first the Lakeland School of Aeronautics and then the Lodwick School of Aeronautics. He leased the Lakeland Municipal Airport as the home base for the school and opened a second school in 1941 in nearby Avon Park, the Lodwick Aviation Military Academy. These schools were among several across the country who had contracted with the Army to provide basic flight training to Army Air Corps cadets for service in World War II. Between 1940 and 1945 more than 8,000 trainees entered the Lodwick School of Aeronautics and more than 6,000 graduated. The site of the school is now the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers baseball team.
A good brief general history of the Lodwick School of Aeronautics and the nearby Lodwick Aviation Military Academy can be found in Wanetta Sage-Gagne's Pilots in the Sun: Primary Pilot Training Schools in Lakeland and Avon Park, Florida, 1940-1945 (Lakeland, FL: Friends of the Library, 1990). Another slim volume by R. G. Beeler entitled The History of Lodwick Aviation Military Academy (Lakeland, FL: Crown Printing, 1991) covers the school in Avon Park in more detail. The Sage-Gagne and Beeler volumes provide a good general overview of the training regimen at the schools.
The photographs in this exhibit were taken by photographers under contract to the school and depict the daily activities of the cadets and staff. View the following photos and return to a simpler time of biplanes and Saturday night socials.