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Rolla Duane "Duane" Cole
Birth: Apr. 1, 1914
Stark County
Illinois, USA
Death: Feb. 3, 2004
Johnson County
Texas, USA

Aerobatic Pilot, Author. Duane Cole was considered by many to be the finest aerobatic pilot in the United States. The thought is that he has probably flown more aerobatic maneuvers than anyone else in the world, instructed more students in the art of aerobatics and performed for more air show audiences than anyone else. Duane earned his pilot’s license in the early 1930s after offering a pilot $1.50 for a flight lesson at the Phoenix airport. He flew his first solo flight after only 3 hours in the air, and in 1940, he flew his first public air show. At the same time he was performing air shows, he began teaching aerobatics for the government’s Civilian Pilot Training Program. In 1942, he went to work with the Royal Air Force where he taught aerobatics in Stearman aircraft to Air Force pilots. In later years, he was hired by several United States commercial airlines to teach aerobatics to their flight crews. These companies felt that having the pilots learn aerobatics would enable them to react quickly and automatically in nearly any aircraft emergency. Following World War II, Duane and his brothers, Marion, Arnold and Lester, formed the Cole Brothers Air Show. They performed in each of the 48 states, and featured the brothers flying precision aerobatic maneuvers, often with wing-walkers. The Cole Brothers Air Show continued for 17 years, performing hundreds of times in airports around the country, and making a name for themselves in virtually every airport in the United States. In 1958 he started the country’s first formal aerobatics training school in Kewanee, Illinois, and in addition, he continued his involvement in aerobatic competitions. He was a pioneer in developing training procedures, setting up and running competitions, establishing safety rules and pushing the government to protect the right to fly aerobatics in the United States. In 1962, he became the United States Aerobatic Champion, and flew with the three-man U.S. Aerobatic Team in Budapest, Hungary. He won the title again in 1964. It was in that year that he put together the National Aerobatics Championships as part of the Reno Air Races. In addition to aerobatics and regular flight training, Duane also helped to organize and run many significant air races in the 1960s. In later years, the brothers disbanded and the show became a Duane Cole family affair. Duane and son Rolly performed the precision aerobatics, Duane’s wife Judy was the wing-walker, John, who was too young to fly, was the announcer, and little Karen was the “gofer.” The parachutist was a friend of Rolly's. On August 2, 1964, Rolly, practicing in his Stearman for an international competition in Spain, had Mel Stickney, airline and race pilot, as his passenger in the front cockpit. It appeared there was an instantaneous breakup in the engine that caused great vibration. Mr. Stickney was trapped when a wing folded back. Although there was altitude for Rolly to jump, it appeared he delayed in an attempt to rescue Stickney. When Rolly jumped, it was too late. Both died. With him, the Cole Brothers Air-Show also died; Duane was too grief stricken to continue. In his grief, he wrote the book “To a Pilot,” dedicated to Rolly. Since that time, he has written nearly a dozen popular books, including “Roll Around a Point,” “Happy Flying, Safely,” “The Vagabond Cub” and “Conquest of Lines and Symmetry.” For two years, he was associate editor of FLYING magazine, and also created two video tapes; one on Visual Flight Rules (VFR) tips for all pilots, and the other on aerobatics. He became the first person elected to the Illinois Aviation Honor Roll in 1983 and in 1986 he received the Alaskan Airman Award. He has been honored a number of times by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the International Aerobatic Club (IAC) for his contributions to general aviation and aerobatics.
Family links: 
  Julia Marie Hippe Cole (1919 - 2004)
  Rolly G. Cole (1939 - 1963)*
*Calculated relationship
Dean of Aerobatics
Laurel Land Memorial Park
Fort Worth
Tarrant County
Texas, USA
Maintained by: Daddys♥Girl
Originally Created by: DonZas
Record added: Feb 06, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8360028
Rolla Duane Duane Cole
Added by: Daddys♥Girl
Rolla Duane Duane Cole
Added by: Daddys♥Girl
Rolla Duane Duane Cole
Added by: Daddys♥Girl
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So sad that you're gone.
- Love, Sue
 Added: Jan. 21, 2015

- Dawn
 Added: Jan. 7, 2015
Duane, I would love to fly with you again!
- Daddys♥Girl
 Added: Nov. 4, 2014
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