Clyde Wilber Ice

Clyde Wilber Ice

Miller, Hand County, South Dakota, USA
Death 17 Jul 1992 (aged 103)
Pinedale, Sublette County, Wyoming, USA
Burial Spearfish, Lawrence County, South Dakota, USA
Plot C_28_54_4
Memorial ID 66615903 · View Source
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Pioneer South Dakota Pilot.

From the "Toledo Blade" Toledo, Ohio; July 21, 1992


Jackson, Wyo. (AP) - Clyde Ice, a South Dakota aviator who counseled Charles Lindbergh and inspired Joe Foss to be a pilot, died Friday. He was 103.

He traded a farmer two used cars for his first plane in 1919 and taught himself to fly. After years of barnstorming, he began teaching pilots. He is credited with training more than 2,000 pilots at the airport in Spearfish, S.D.

During his barnstorming years, one of his passengers was a teen-Agee Joe Foss, who went on to be a World War II flying ace and governor ofSouth Dakota.

Mr. Ice was a consultant to Charles Lindbergh before his 1927 flight from New York to Paris, the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Mr. Ice began crop spraying in 1946 and continued through his 83rd birthday, when he sold the business. He logged 43,000 hours in the air while he lived in South Dakota.
In 1919 at the age of 30, Clyde bought his first plane. It was a damaged Standard Curtis Trainer World War I surplus plane. Without ever having flown or worked on a plane before in his life, he repaired the Trainer's three damaged wings himself and learned to fly it through experimentation and a lot of good luck. Clyde was a barnstormer in general and flew a charter flight service out of Rapid City, South Dakota. Rapid Air Lines flight service, a company that Clyde had helped start, decided to buy a Ford Tri-Motor so they could carry more people in charter flights. He and his mechanic participated in the construction of his company's new Ford Tri-Motor at the factory adding his own personal modifications to it. These Modifications were even incorporated by Ford in their later planes. Clyde was always trying to improve upon his planes to make them more useful for his various needs. In 1927, a couple of ranchers were snowed in Rapid City and they had to get back to their herds to get them out of the storm. Clyde knew the snow was too deep to land in with tires so he built skis for his plane. Although the first ski plane had been built and used in Alaska earlier, this news had not reached South Dakota yet so he was essentially the first pilot to have them in the region.

In 1928, Clyde was one of the first people to attempt predator control from the air in the shooting of sheep-killing coyotes. He brought in a record number of 75 in one month and was photographed for a National Geographic issue that same year. He would fly supplies and medicine to snow bound people in the outer reaches of South Dakota and took sick and injured people to medical facilities during the harsh winters typical of the region. In 1937, Clyde was the first person in this part of the country to try aerial application of insecticides for crop protection with a device of his own invention. In 65 years of flying in South Dakota, Clyde was proudest of his record of "Safe and Sane Flying". With all of the miles or hours he has spent flying, he bets that he is the only pilot of that time who can say he never drew blood (was involved in a plane accident) of any of his passengers. Clyde W. Ice died in 1992, 103 years old. He was a licensed pilot into his 90's.


Clyde Ice
United States Census, 1940
birth: 1890 South Dakota
residence: 1940 Township 6 Range 3, Lawrence, South Dakota, United States
spouse: Audrey Ice
child: Dorothy Ice
other: Cora Ellis, Morton Burgess

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  • Created by: Carl Steiger
  • Added: 7 Mar 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 66615903
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Clyde Wilber Ice (28 May 1889–17 Jul 1992), Find a Grave Memorial no. 66615903, citing Rose Hill Cemetery, Spearfish, Lawrence County, South Dakota, USA ; Maintained by Carl Steiger (contributor 47175561) .