Hugh Herndon, Jr. was born in 1899 into a lot of money. Fathered by Hugh Herndon, Sr. and Alice Boardman. She was the heiress to the Tide Water Oil Company Fortunes.
Learned to Fly: 1927
Hugh Herndon learned to fly in France during a family vacation. His yearning was to become part of the in-crowd that is turning towards the new field of aviation. A guy named Charles Lindbergh just crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a solo flight to Paris. He was almost instantly named the most photographed person in the world. His mother too, was pushing Hugh to make a name for himself in this new world of aviation.
His flying was very basic in that it did not extend into more advanced subjects including navigation or flying under poor weather conditions.
Met Clyde Pangborn: 1929
In 1929, Hugh met Clyde Pangborn. Hugh was flying a D-24 Standard at the time when his mother replaced the one he had that crashed in Princeton, New Jersey. Clyde was about to embark on a demonstration tour for his company that was making Standards when Hugh approached him and offered to participate in the tour for no cost.
Clyde knew nothing about Hugh but the thought of having a source of seemingly endless finances was intriguing. If Hugh could be trained to be a valuable pilot, the combination of having a co-pilot with financing could offer many opportunities.
Round-the-World Flight Planned: 1931
Decision was made to accompany Clyde Pangborn on a Round-the-World speed record. Timing was short and all stops must be removed to accomplish the goal of breaking a record.
Hugh married Mary Ellen Farley during this time.
Failure of Round-the-World Flight: 1932
Hugh and Clyde Pangborn fail to beat the Round-the-World Speed record but become the first to cross the Pacific Ocean Nonstop. Both were nearly killed on numerous occasions because of Hugh’s inapt piloting ability and his apparent poor tolerance to high altitude flight.
The stresses were too great causing the two to part their ways in New York after the flight.
Hugh promoted to Captain in RCAF: 1940
Hugh becomes a captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force to ferry bombers.
Hugh and Mary Ellen bear two girls and then obtain a divorce.
Hugh Remarries: 1942
Hugh remarries to a lady by the name of Ruth Dainty in 1942.
Hugh Becomes Chief Pilot: 1947
Hugh becomes chief pilot of the Africa-Middle East region for Transcontinental and Western Airline—later known as Trans World Airline.
Hugh Herndon dies in 1950 of a stroke in Cairo, Egypt. He was only 51 years old.