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Thirty-four pilots identified Santa Monica, CA as their "arrived from" or home base airfield; 83 identified it as their destination.The rest came from and departed to different places.
You have chosen to enter the suite via Clover Field, Santa Monica, CA. Spend some time here by clicking any or all of the navigation buttons at the top and right of any page. When you are finished, you may come back here and direct your browser to the other sites tabulated, summarized and linked from the table below. In aggregate, these Registers recorded flight activity around the United States from 1925 to 1942.
Clover Field was established in Santa Monica during 1922. Clover Field was named after Greayer "Grubby" Clover (1897-1918), a Los Angeles native and WWI aviator. Clover was killed in France as a result of a crash during a practice flight on August 30, 1918. Incidentally, a park in East Los Angeles is also named after him, Greayer's Oak Park.
Clover authored posthumously in 1919 a book entitled "A Stop at Suzanne's And Lower Flights." The full text of this out-of-copyright book is available at the link (PDF 5.5Mb). It's a great read about a young man's experiences in France during WWI. It is enhanced by chapters written by his friends after his death. The photograph of Clover, right, is from his book.
Photographs and information about the old Clover Field are at the Davis-Monthan Airfield Web site at the link. The location of the original Clover Field is today the Santa Monica Municipal Airport (FAA identifier SMO), a "reliever" field for the greater Los Angeles area (but, see below).
BEGIN WITH FIVE QUESTIONS
WHAT AIRFIELDS & REGISTERS CAN BE INVESTIGATED? Please refer to the table below. Each interactive site stands alone. Each is crafted as an attractive and engaging exposition of 20th century aviation history. However, important linkages are made among the sites. You will delight in discovering the overlap in the movements of people and aircraft from Airfield to Airfield, across the United States. The linkages clearly reveal the patterns of air traffic and, more broadly, the evolution of civil, commercial and military aviation in the United States during what historians call the Golden Age of Flight, nominally between the years 1920 and 1940.
This Web site is, in turn, part of a suite of six virtual windows that illuminate old Airfield Registers from around the United States during the Golden Age of flight. The following sites are open to the public. They exhibit and analyze for you 21,667 total airfield traffic days across six Registers. Please explore and enjoy them all!
TRAVEL HUB FOR GOLDEN AGE AIRFIELDS
|Clover Field, Santa Monica, CA
WWW.CLOVERFIELD.ORG (You're here!)
December 31, 1928 to August 4, 1939
Number of days Register was open = 3,878
Number of landings recorded = 798 over 35 pages
Web site went online June 13, 2013
Parks Field, East St. Louis, IL
|Davis-Monthan Municipal Airfield, Tucson, AZ
February 6, 1925 to November 26, 1936
Number of days Register was open = 3,581 days
Number of landings recorded = 3,704 over 218 pages
Web site went online May 4, 2005
|Peterson Field, Colorado Springs, CO
February 22, 1929 to August 1, 1940
Number of days Register was open = 4,178
Number of landings recorded = 672 over 29 pages
Web site went online June 13, 2013
|Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale, CA
WWW.GRANDCENTRAL AIR TERMINAL.ORG
December 14, 1930 to October 8, 1935
Number of days Register was open = 1,759
Number of landings recorded = NN over N pages
Web site went online June 13, 2013
|Pitcairn Field, Willow Grove, PA
October 22, 1927 to January 25, 1942
Number of days Register was open = 5,240
Number of landings recorded = 328 over 21 pages
Web site went online June 13, 2013
WHAT IS AN AIRFIELD REGISTER? Circa 1926, as part of the effort to regulate the growth of air travel, the federal government issued a guideline to airport managers asking that a log be kept of traffic through their ports. At right is a copy of that guideline.An Airfield Register was most times a large, formatted book in which visiting pilots and passengers wrote their names, the registration numbers of their airplanes, their intended destinations, where they came from, the date and time, and perhaps some remarks. Such books lay open on desks and tables in airport offices and hangars around the United States during the Golden Age. Indeed, many airports today still have Registers open and available for general aviation pilots and passengers to sign.
WHAT IS THE CLOVER FIELD REGISTER? The Clover Field Register was an approximately 11 by 14 inch, two-hole looseleaf book. The book lay open from December 31, 1928 to August 4, 1939; a total of 3,878 days.
You may view each of its pages at the REGISTER button at upper right. The Clover Register was ruled into rows and columns with headers across a single large page that specified the information for pilots to enter. Below, an image of part of the bottom half of page three with pilot signatures from April 26-May 1, 1929. Note the Navy flier in from San Pedro at 11AM, as well as Howard Hughes' signature fourth from the top flying the Waco he identified as NC3574.
The surviving Clover Field Register is 35 pages. There were 798 landings recorded in this Register. The landings were made by civilian pilots (615), military pilots (128) and female pilots (55). As you work through the Clover Field Register, you will probably recognize many of their names besides pilot Hughes.
Your Webmaster’s copy of the Clover Field Register was acquired in 2009. Many thanks to John Underwood for facilitating the acquisition, which now allows us to learn about and to build upon our knowledge of the key role Santa Monica played during the Golden Age of Aviation. It is unknown if additional pages existed before or after the 3,878 days cited above.
WHAT WAS CLOVER FIELD? As stated at the top of this page, Clover Field takes its name from Greayer Clover. It was dedicated in April, 1923, as documented in the Los Angeles Times article from April 16, 1923, below.
Below is the official field description from the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) Aeronautical Bulletin of January 15, 1924, about a yearafter the airfield was dedicated.
The distortion is a scanning artifact at the source. Compare this diagram with the photograph immediately below from 1933.
An aerial photograph of the field taken in 1933 from this 1938 REFERENCE is below. The view is to the southwest.
Back in the day, the airport was the home of the Douglas Aircraft company, as well as many other businesses. In fact, the greater Los Angeles area was home to the majority of major aircraft and engine manufacturers and training facilities in the country. Below, from Popular Aviation (PA) magazine, March, 1939 is a cartoon rendering of all the significant facilities in the area.
Today, there are many Google pages and photographs of the contemporary Santa Monica Municipal Airport. It is pretty much surrounded now by housing and industry. The lat/long coordinates, 34 01N; 118 27W, cited at the Clover Field page linked at the top of this page, define a point at the center of the runway at the contemporary airport. Another image, dated 1937, is at the Santa Monica Public Library at the link.
WHY BE INTERESTED IN MUSTY, OLD BOOKS? Each Register is a microcosm of Golden Age aviation history, recorded in the first-person, by the very actors who made that history. Study of Golden Age people in aviation points to an aerial “lifeway,” including shared values, clothing styles, politics, interests, vocabulary and perhaps even diet and social skills. Being a pilot in those early days was like belonging to an adventure-based brotherhood. But, men did not have a lock on camaraderie. The female pilots, although there weren’t as many of them, shared an equivalent sisterhood that, in many ways, was just a powerful as their male counterparts.
That the women and their exploits were newsworthy at the time is made abundantly clear by the sheer numbers of newspaper and magazine articles and books published. As an example, in one small study I performed, The New York Times published 1,265 articles about female aviators during the 10-year period of the Davis-Monthan Register, an average of three a week. And that is just one newspaper and one small group of aviators.
The machines flown were the best technologies of their time, and the pilots used them in some spectacular, innovative ways. Most of their craft lived hard, short lives. Only a very small percentage exist today, and they and their sister ships are featured on the sites.
The aviation events they competed in (e.g. tours and races) and the records they set, sometimes preserved by entries in the Registers, served to test the mettle of humans and machines and to bring to a curious, and sometimes suspicious, public the opportunity to get close to pilots and their aircraft, and to learn about the utility of aviation in general.
Whereas the Web is infinitely wide, it is many times only a few centimeters deep. Each Register and its associated Web site gives us an opportunity to dive into a deep, virtual pool of information to enjoy meeting the characters and hardware that shaped aeronautical science across the United States through the 20th and into the 21st century. Their influence is palpable today, and will be tomorrow, as we go to the planets and beyond.
PLEASE NOTE: As of the upload date of this page, the Web site of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register has been online eight years, since May 4, 2005. It presents over 1,000 pages of pilot biographies and other topics, which have been added incrementally over the years. The new sites have less content now, but they will grow over the coming years. Additions and changes to the sites are always posted at the "WHAT'S NEW ON THE SITE?" links on each site. Please bookmark the "What's New on the Site?" pages and come back regularly.
All Web pages are designed by your Webmaster and implemented by The Web Professional, Inc., Naples, FL & St. Paul, MN. All Web sites are wholly owned, researched, written and operated by Delta Mike Airfield, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit company based in Naples, FL. Unless otherwise noted, all designs and original texts and images are Copyright © Delta Mike Airfield, Inc.
The mission of the company is education, encouragement and support of historical aviation research and multi-media publication to enhance knowledge among public and private sectors around the globe. Specific emphasis is on the Golden Age of Flight. The company operates primarily, but not exclusively, through its Web sites. Other mixed media publications and public appearances also support the Company. Your donations can be made through any of the Web sites.
AN ONGOING POLITICAL BATTLE
May 2013 Coincident with the release of this Web site online, the City of Santa Monica, CA has voted to charge landing fees to all aircraft. A blog that follows such matters is at the link and cites on May 1, 2013 the following, "The general aviation industry in the U.S. lost a key battle last night when the Santa Monica city council voted to impose higher landing fees, not just on transient aircraft but on all aircraft that use the airport. Starting August 1 , even a Cessna 172 based at Santa Monica airport (SMO) flown by a local student or rental pilot will be assessed $10.96 for each landing. For training operations, that means a student pilot will end up paying $10.96 for every landing or touch-and-go."
July 2013 The article at this link, "Another Nail in the Coffin" (PDF 226kB) was published in the July, 2013 issue of the AOPA Pilot magazine.
On the battle line between aviators with cities, citizens and developers who see airports as real estate for condos, these kinds of usurious fees generally portend the demise of an airport, given that flight instruction and student operations are no longer financially possible for pilots and school operators. If these fees are not voted away, SMO may soon be gone, and the memories of the great Golden Age pilots and aircraft that visited will be just that, only memories.
December 2013 A blog on December 30, 2013 details a law suit by the City of Santa Monica to release the city from its obligation to operate an airport. The ruling on the suit could have implications for the long-term survival of hundreds of other airports across the country, because the Federal government, when it turned the property over to the city in 1948 after WWII, included a term that obligated the city to continue the operation of the airport in perpetuity. The suit essentially ignores that mandate.
February 2014 The suit by the City of Santa Monica failed as documented in the article at the link. Score one for the general aviation public. But, July 1, 2015 may be contentious.
May 2014 Citizens mount a ballot initiative to save the airport in November elections. The Santa Monica City Council mounts a counter initiative.
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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/13/13 REVISED: 07/30/13, 02/21/14, 07/02/14, 05/08/15