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Q: Ancient and Sacred Order of Quiet Birdmen ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Ancient and Sacred Order of Quiet Birdmen
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: af58-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 23 Oct 2003 12:09 PDT
Expires: 22 Nov 2003 11:09 PST
Question ID: 269103
What is the history and purpose of the Ancient and Sacred Order of
Quiet Birdmen? Who founded it, where, and when? What did Charles
Lindbergh have to do with the organization?

Request for Question Clarification by techtor-ga on 23 Oct 2003 13:00 PDT
Looks like this organization you mentioned is 'quiet'... I've seen a
page saying that the organization tends to be secretive about their
activities. Makes me wonder if they are the "Freemasonry of aviation",
as one would probably think. The most information I garnered is from
postings by pilots on a message board. I don't know if they would be
truly authoritative on the matter, but I wonder if they will do.

Clarification of Question by af58-ga on 23 Oct 2003 14:42 PDT
I understand the group was founded by Harvey Mummert and Harry A.
Bruno (pilots) in 1921.  and was, is, to honor dead pilots (thus the
"quiet.") And that Charles Lindbergh belonged and/or helped start the
group. I believe the group still exists, but most of the members are
very old.

Request for Question Clarification by techtor-ga on 23 Oct 2003 15:18 PDT
Hello Af58,
This sure is tougher that I thought. I did find though an online
reference that mentioned Mummert and Bruno as the founders of the
Birdmen, though nothing else about the organization itself. I also did
find references to Lindbergh having helped found the group. Much of
what I found are the message board postings and profiles of men (still
living I suppose) who are members of the Quiet Birdmen (so with the
existence of these pages, I suppose the group, or some chapters is
still alive), and a PDF file. I'll see what else I or another
researcher could find.
Subject: Re: Ancient and Sacred Order of Quiet Birdmen
Answered By: justaskscott-ga on 25 Oct 2003 10:32 PDT
Hello af58-ga,

The Boston Hangar of the Quiet Birdmen provides a description of the
origins and founding of the organization.  It indicates that the
original members (including Harry Bruno) had their first meeting in
January 1921 at Marta's in New York City.  It appears from this page
that the purpose is basically social, with members who promote flying
and each other, as well as honoring deceased pilots as you noted. 
(There is another page on the web site for members who have "Gone
West", whose efforts helped aviation to progress.)

"Ye Anciente and Secret Order of Quiet Birdman" (Revised: September
29, 2001)
Ye Anciente and Secret order of Quiet Birdmen; Boston Hangar

"QB Gone West"
Ye Anciente and Secret order of Quiet Birdmen; Boston Hangar

Another page contains photographs and names of distinguished QBs,
including Charles Lindbergh.

"Distinguished QB's"
Ye Anciente and Secret order of Quiet Birdmen; Boston Hangar

- justaskscott-ga

Search strategy:

In order to find these pages, I first searched on Google and for:

"quiet birdmen"

After seeing a book title that mentioned a "hangar" of the Quiet
Birdmen, as well as other references to "hangars", I searched on
Google for:

"quiet birdmen" hangar

This led me to the Boston Hangar web site.
Subject: Re: Ancient and Sacred Order of Quiet Birdmen
From: byrd-ga on 23 Oct 2003 15:42 PDT
Dear af58,

Techtor-ga has given you more information than I’ve been able to find
myself, though I’ve looked on several occasions over the years, just
out of personal curiosity.  The QBs, as they call themselves, are
indeed a secretive bunch, though I am sure there’s nothing sinister
about them.  As a pilot myself, I've had the good fortune to have
known a couple of them, but sure don't know much.  What I do know (or
rather, have been told by the ones I know) is that the order began
back in the 20s, was by invitation only to experienced, i.e. with a
certain number of hours, pilots, all male, and required unanimous
approval by the chapter to join.  I've no idea where Lindbergh comes

I've been told the order was allowed a certain number and, when it was
reached, membership was closed forever.  It is now closed and there
are and will be no new members.   That's the reason why all the QBs
you are likely to meet are men in their 60s or more likely 70s, and
they are *very* closemouthed about who they are, how they got in, and
what they do.  It's also why, doing a web search usually only turns up
mention in obituaries or the occasional comment in a pilot discussion

But there are still a few of 'em around.  Give 'em a couple of beers
and they open up a little bit more, which is how I know as much as I
do. ;-) Pretty much all they do is get together once a month (or more
often, though not usually), drink beer and do a lot of hangar flying. 
Oh yes, and without question, the ones I've met at least, are all
excellent pilots with a lot of real stories to tell!

I don't know how much effort you want to put in to finding the answer
to this mystery, but if you get hooked on it, a place to do a little
sleuthing would be a flight school at your local airport that has some
old instructors, who might be charmed into talking a little.  It helps
if you're a pilot too, or someone who can at least share the love of
the sky and enjoys learning from those whose equal you're never likely
to be.

Good luck!
Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: Ancient and Sacred Order of Quiet Birdmen
From: pafalafa-ga on 23 Oct 2003 19:10 PDT
Here's a small tidbit that picks up on the Harry Bruno connection, for
what it's worth:

The Unseen Power: Public Relations, a History
Book by Scott M. Cutlip; Lawrence Erlbaum Associanb tes, 1994 

"While with the MAA, Bruno created another "first", the sort of thing
he liked to brag about -- the Quiet Birdmen. At Marta's Restaurant in
Greenwich Village, a group of wartime fliers -- Jimmy Doolittle,
Fiorella LaGuardia, Dick Blythe, C. S. "Casey" Jones, and few others
-- gathered for a reunion. A magazine editor, Harold Hersey, dubbed
them the Quiet Birdmen (QB), which they definitely were not. It
flowered into a fraternal organization, and Bruno always proudly wore
his silver and blue wings of the QB in his lapel."
Subject: Re: Ancient and Sacred Order of Quiet Birdmen
From: pafalafa-ga on 24 Oct 2003 11:54 PDT
...and a bit more:

Federal judge candidate leaves all-male club
Hartford (Conn.)Courant  Aug 7, 1992 

...Covello, a state Supreme Court justice from West Hartford, was
asked by Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., to resign from the Quiet Birdmen, a
fraternal organization of flying enthusiasts that excludes women.

Simon's office received a copy of the letter, addressed to Arthur H.
Kesten of Westport, governor of the local chapter of Quiet Birdmen.

"I am a candidate to become a federal judge," Covello wrote. "Because
of the QB's policy limiting membership to males only, the Chairman of
my confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
asked me to resign. I agreed to do so."...

The Quiet Birdmen have had about 32,000 members nationwide since being
formed in 1921, Covello said, including Charles Lindbergh, Eddie
Rickenbacker, Barry Goldwater and former Connecticut Gov. John H.

The Hartford Hangar, the local chapter, has about 160 members, half of
them active, Kesten said. Nationally, there are about 140 chapters...
Subject: Re: Ancient and Sacred Order of Quiet Birdmen
From: byrd-ga on 25 Oct 2003 12:47 PDT
Wow, I am very impressed!  Thank you so much, justaskscott!  I've been
wondering about this for years and am delighted you were able to find
such good info! Hats off to ya!  I am adding these links to my
personal bookmarks, and I have a lot of flying pals who will be
delighted to have them as well.  Great job!


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