Myron "Dan" Beard Collection

Myron Gould "Dan" Beard (1896-1974) was born in Foochow, China, the son of American missionaries. Beard learned to fly at Kelly Field in 1918, and then went to the University of Michigan where he received an engineering degree in 1925. Beard was a diesel engineer for Ingersoll Rand Company for 1925-1927, before joining Fairchild Caminez Engine Company (later Fairchild Aviation Corporation) from 1927 until 1930, first as an Installation Engineer and then as a test pilot. In 1930, Beard joined American Airways (predecessor of American Airlines) and rose to the rank of chief test pilot, before his retirement from the airline in 1964. Beard accumulated over 6200 hours in all types of airplanes, most of them in engineering and experimental testing. Beard played a key role in the development of the Douglas DC-3, DC-4, DC-6 and DC-7 as test and acceptance pilot for American Airlines. During World War II, he served as Chief Military Engineering Pilot of American Airlines' Military Operations Department and he worked with teams surveying the North Atlantic routes. In 1943, Beard took a leave of absence from American Airlines to go to Brazil as a member of the Defense Supply Corporation mission, which had the mission to Americanize the Brazilian airlines which previously had been part of the German aerial network of South America.