By SHARON SNYDER
Los Alamos Historical Society
The first airplane to land on the Pajarito Plateau set down in a open field in 1928. It was flown by Ashley Pond Jr., founder of the Los Alamos Ranch School.
Pond had planned to volunteer for pilot training in World War I. He tried to enlist in the army, but at 45 he was turned down because of his age.
Undeterred, he handed over the reins of the ranch school to A. J. Connell and joined the Red Cross. He served in France as a canteen worker near the front lines, so close that he came under fire during the American attack at St. Mihiel. Unwilling to give up his dream of flying after returning home, Ashley eventually began flying lessons in 1928 with Bill Cutter, the year that Cutter Flying Service was started in Albuquerque. What could have been more tempting for Pond than to fly over the school he created and land in the outer fields?
These articles are written by the Los Alamos Historical Society Staff. All articles were originally published by the Los Alamos Daily Post.