Harvey Weir Cook

Image used with permission from the National Aviation Hall of Fame

Harvey Weir Cook

Harvey Weir Cook was born in Wilkinson, Indiana on June 30, 1892.

At the outbreak of WW I, Weir Cook enlisted in the aviation section of the Army Signal Corps.  After pilot training Cook was assigned to Captain Eddie Rickenbacker’s “Hat in the Ring” 94th Aero Squadron. A highly skilled and aggressive pilot, he was credited with seven aerial victories and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster.

After WWI, Weir Cook helped form the U.S. Air Mail Service and was one of its first transcontinental airmail pilots.  He was also an avid air racer; his ‘air race pilot’s license’ was signed by Orville Wright.

Cook spent his life actively promoting aviation in Indiana. After WWI, he became Vice President and General Manager of Curtis Flying Service of Indiana and, later, served as the American Legion Director of Aviation. He was active in the effort to create the Indianapolis Municipal Airport–which now bears his name–and served as the airport’s first manager.

Weir Cook’s made significant contributions to both civil and military aviation throughout his life. On the national level, he lobbied the Smithsonian in 1940 to officially recognize the Wright Brothers’ 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk as the first powered aircraft flight. He also continued to serve his country, serving in the Indiana Air Guard serving as the air officer and by helping to develop the first dive bombing sight. He was among a group of officers to support General Billy Mitchell during the latter’s Army court-martial proceedings.

WWII saw Cook join the Army Air Corps where he served as the commander of air bases in New Caledonia. He was killed in a crash while searching for an enemy submarine in bad weather on March 24, 1943.  

His memory is honored the Weir Cook Terminal at the Indianapolis International Airport where a bronze statue of Col. Cook graces the terminal’s main entryway. 

For his extraordinary achievement and service to aviation, Indiana, the nation and the world, and for his service to the country, Col. Weir Cook is inducted into the Indiana Aviation Hall of Fame the 8th day of July 2020.