Air Ace is the standard bearer, the definitive first super-powered hero of the modern age. He was a trench man during World War I, who somehow acquired the power of flight due to a frightening war related accident and chemical exposure from an experimental German gas weapon.
Air Ace settled in Romeyn Falls in 1919, following World War I. The majority of his super-hero adventures are linked to this area, and his reputation fueled the later explosive migration and growth of super-heroes to what is now Astro City.
His power of flight appears to be an extension of his body's natural functions. He has no wings, no artificial apparatus that enables flying abilities. He carries some form of pistol, probably from his WWI exploits. He wears the goggles, the leather helmet and the scarf of a legendary Air Ace, but his war adventures were in the trenches where he established a positive reputation. Following the gas attack, his focus shifted to another form of heroic activity.
There have been 32 Air Ace films as of 2004, including features, silents and serials, one was known to be made in 1947. Air Ace even consulted on the first few. There was also a comic book series in the 1990s and a very special statue erected in his honor at Binderbeck Plaza.
One of the likely recurring foes that Air Ace faced was the Barnstormer Gang.
It is not clear if he maintained his secret identity throughout his lifetime. The speculative links to "Whit" McAleer became widespread knowledge later in his career as a crime-fighter. His direct involvement in early motion pictures based on his adventures, suggests that his private life was made very public. The reasons might be ego, government propaganda, a need for finances, or just the way events unfolded after the accident that caused his mutation.