Charlie, as mentioned earlier, was an avid reader and in reading the National Geographic magazine noted that glider records were being set worldwide. He thought he was capable too, so he and Al set about building a glider with Al doing the metal work. Together they built the Yakima Clipper, a high-performance sail plane, now on display in the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, Seattle. The Clipper was the first glider or sailplane licensed in the State of Washington. Charlie, appropriately enough, was the first pilot to be licensed to fly gliders.
On June 16, 1933, with Charlie in the cockpit, the glider was launched using 100 feet of long shock cord similar to a slingshot. The shock cord was made of rubber and nylon. The Clipper was brought by trailer, made by Charlie from a model T Ford car frame, to Badger Pocket, near Ellensburg, Washington, and readied for flight. Two men held the wings level and a third secured the tail. The rest of the launch crew took hold of the shock cord and ran downhill stretching the cord until the man holding the tail could no longer hold on. The glider was literally catapulted into the air.
It was intended that this glider flight was to set a world record. Unfortunately, the official coming over from Seattle to record and give official documentation to the flight was involved in an auto accident. The official and his brother were taken to a local hospital where, sadly, the brother died. In spite of this trauma, this official borrowed another car and drove over to Ellensburg. Because of this unfortunate delay, Charlie lost valuable flying time and possibly the chance at a national or perhaps an international record. After nearly nine hours, Charlie was forced to land. He didn’t set the world record, but he did achieve acclaim for setting the Northwest glider non-powered endurance record.