Topliff Olin Paine

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Topliff Olin Paine
Born(1893-04-26)April 26, 1893
Orwell, Ohio
DiedApril 30, 1922(1922-04-30) (aged 29)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchU.S. Army Air Corps
Years of service1918–1919
RankSecond lieutenant

Topliff Olin "Top" Paine (April 26, 1893 – April 30, 1922) was an American airmail and Army Air Corps pilot. Paine Field, an airport in Snohomish County, Washington, is named for him.


Paine was born on April 26, 1893,[1][2] in Orwell, Ohio, to Everett M. Paine and Lucy Jane (Olin) Paine; Topliff was the youngest of three brothers. The Paine family moved to Everett, Washington, in 1903, and Topliff graduated from Everett High School in 1911. Paine attended the University of Washington for two years, majoring in civil engineering, and later worked as a park ranger for the United States Forest Service.[3][4]

Paine enlisted in the Army in 1918, undergoing pilot training under the Air Corps and receiving a commission as a second lieutenant. After his discharge in 1919, Paine flew planes for various companies until joining the Air Mail Service in 1920. During his air mail career, Paine became nationally recognized for his accomplishments while flying through rugged terrain and snowstorms in the Rocky Mountains.[5] From 1920 to 1922, Paine flew primarily out of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Salt Lake City, Utah, for the Air Mail Service, becoming one of the top fliers in the Western Division.[4][6]

On April 30, 1922, Paine died of an accidental gunshot wound to the head sustained at his home in Salt Lake City.[4] Paine was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Everett.[1]

In 1941, the Army Air Corps renamed the Snohomish County Airport in his honor.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Topliff Olin "Top" Paine". Find a Grave. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved August 10, 2017 – via FamilySearch.
  3. ^ a b c Bertrand, Steve K. (2014). Paine Field. Images of Aviation. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 34–35. ISBN 978-1-4671-3142-1. OCLC 865494320. Retrieved August 10, 2017 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Mayer, Bob (June 21, 2017). "Bust may be missing, but Paine the aviator still remembered". The Everett Herald. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  5. ^ "Pilot Stories: Paine, Topliff O." National Postal Museum. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  6. ^ "Base at Everett Will Be Named for Lieut. Paine". The Seattle Times. July 22, 1941. p. 3.