Koerbling was a member of the Early Birds of Aviation. The Early Birds was an organization of pioneer aviators banded together for the purposes of preserving aviation history, advancing interest in aeronautics and the enjoyment of good fellowship . The organization was started in 1928 after the National Air Races of that year. The group ultimately accepted a membership of 598. Membership was limited to those who had documentary evidence of having piloted a glider, gas balloon, or airplane, prior to December 17, 1916. The cutoff date was set at December 17 to correspond to the first flights of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Those interested in flying in this pre-World War I period were often required to build their own craft and instruct themselves in the necessary skills to pilot it and members took great pride in this evidence of initiative. 1916 was chosen because large numbers of Americans were trained in 1917 as pilots for World War I. Many Early Birds went on to establish careers in public service and the aviation industry.
As an organization, the Early Birds was responsible for the preservation of aircraft and records, the erection of numerous markers and monuments and the education of the public on the importance of aviation. With members including Glenn Curtiss, Blanche Stuart Scott, Matilde Moisant, Grover Loening, Roy Knabenshue, Sir Thomas Sopwith, Katherine Stinson, Marjorie Stinson, Earle Ovington, Matty Laird, Anthony Fokker and Giuseppe Bellanca, their contributions as individuals were incalculable.
The Early Birds was conceived of as a "last man's club" whose existence would cease with the passing of its last surviving member.
Koerbling was born August 27, 1894 in New Philadelphia, Ohio, son of August H. and Katharine Wohlgemuth Koerbling.
August was a 2nd Lieutenant aviator in the Marine Corps in World War I. When he registered for the draft in June 1917, he was an aviation instructor for the Curtis Aeroplane Company of Buffalo, New York. He lived at 389 Centner Avenue in Columbus. Koerbling was 5'6" tall, with grey eyes and brown hair.
Koerbling married Alma G. Mc Morris in Columbus on December 14, 1925. Alma was born June 14, 1897 in Findlay, Ohio, daughter of Harry B. and Mary B. Hipple McMorris. Alma was working as a stenographer at the time.
In 1928, Koerbling was an inspector for the U.S. Department of Commerce and conducted examinations for air transport licenses. Koerbling produced some illustrations for the Ohio Guide under the Works Progress Administration's Federal Writer's Project.
|A Koerbling illustration from the Works Progress Administration.|
In 1939, Koerbling was working in Columbus as a sign painter. In the 1941 City Directory he is listed as a commercial artist with the Columbus Outdoor Advertising Company. He and Alma were living at 153 Latta Avenue at that time. His 1942 Draft registration gives the same address but lists his employer as Curtiss-Wright Airplane, Columbus, Ohio. He died April 29, 1970 in Sherman Oaks, California.