OTHER RESOURCES

Some of this information comes from the listings of Non-Prefixed and Non-Suffixed aircraft reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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THANK YOU!

YOUR PURCHASE OF THESE BOOKS SUPPORTS THE WEB SITES THAT BRING TO YOU THE HISTORY BEHIND OLD AIRFIELD REGISTERS

Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. 375 pages with black & white photographs and extensive tables

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The Congress of Ghosts (available as eBook) is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link.

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Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936 is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author, while supplies last.

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Art Goebel's Own Story by Art Goebel (edited by G.W. Hyatt) is written in language that expands for us his life as a Golden Age aviation entrepreneur, who used his aviation exploits to build a business around his passion.  Available as a free download at the link.

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Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race (available as eBook) is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author, while supplies last.

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Clover Field: The first Century of Aviation in the Golden State (available in paperback) With the 100th anniversary in 2017 of the use of Clover Field as a place to land aircraft in Santa Monica, this book celebrates that use by exploring some of the people and aircraft that made the airport great. 281 pages, black & white photographs.

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STEARMAN C-3B NC8814

This robust airplane landed six times at Santa Monica. The first visit was on Tuesday, June 4, 1929 at 3:00PM. No pilot or passengers were identified, but they arrived at Clover Field from Flagstaff, AZ and cited their destination that day as New York, NY.

NC8814 was a model C-3B. It was serial number 228, manufactured May 15, 1929 by the Stearman Aircraft Co., Wichita, KS. It carried a Wright Whirlwind J-5A engine of 200HP, S/N B-9822. It was a three-person airplane that weighed 2,650 pounds. It was initially purchased by C.B. Wrightsman, Inc. of New York on May 15, 1929 and registered on June 26, 1929. The airplane was two weeks old when it visited Clover Field the first time. No purpose was given for that flight itinerary.

Curiously, the registration information was returned "unclaimed" to the government and the license was cancelled. On July 24, 1929 NC8814 was sold to Maddux Airlines in Los Angeles. It was to be used for "aerial transport." About a year later it suffered an unidentified accident, which required repairs to the lower left wing.

From Ed Betts' article entitled "The Stearmans," (PDF download 1.3Mb) we have a better understanding of how the transfer of 8814 to Maddux happened, as quoted below. Note the slight discrepancies in dates and locations. I'll defer to the NASM information (left sidebar, top). The date for transfer to Maddux, however, is consistent, July 24, 1929. Betts' article appeared in Tarpa Topics, February, 1989.

"The next C3B Stearman to be a part of the TWA fleet was NC8814 (fleet #206), which Stearman Company records show, was first delivered to a Mr. Wrightsman [Maddux representative] (at Shreveport, LA) on 4/22/29. This airplane was to be a very important part of TWA's early pilot instrument training and qualification for a SATR license (Scheduled Air Transport Rating, as required by the Department of Commerce) . I happen to have Capt. 'Tommy' Tomlinson's logbooks on hand at the time of writing this article and can quote some data direct. Tommy joined Maddux Airlines, as VP of Operations, on 1/1/29. Maddux, at the time, had a fleet of Fords and a Curtiss 'Robin.' His logbook shows that he made one flight with a Stearman on 1/19/29, and again on 7/3/29. His remark fn the logbook was, 'beautiful flying ship.' On 7/23 he ferried the plane from Clover Field (Santa Monica, CA) to the Glendale Airport. Company records (Maddux) show the plane was purchased on the next day for $3,125.76."

Tomlinson flew 8814 extensively over the next year or so, as described on pp. 61-62 in Betts' article. Photograph of NC8814, below from page 63 of the article. On April 21, 1931, NC8814 was sold to Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc. (TWA). This was a tranfer of assets as Maddux was merged with Transcontinental. When TWA was formed in October of 1930, all of the Transcontinental Air Transport/Maddux assets (ground or air equipment, airports or terminals etc.) were part of their "ante" for ownership of the new airIine. At that time, NC8814 was modified to a two-person configuration, with the extra passenger capacity dedicated to air mail. It was named "TWA #206."

Stearman NC8814 (Source: Betts)
Stearman NC8814 (Source: Betts)

 

NC8814 suffered another accident at Columbus, OH on October 21, 1931. The pilot was Harold J. Lynch (Transport license T1101; Lynch was a pilot for TWA), who is a Clover Field Register pilot (see below). The airplane's left lower wing spar and four ribs were damaged, as was the left landing gear (this sounds like a typical ground loop). It was repaired and flying again as of September 16, 1931.

NC8814 visited Clover Field for the second time on December 11, 1931 at 10:15AM. The pilot was Harold J. "Jack" Lynch. Lynch arrived at Santa Monica from Glendale, CA, probably the Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT). His destination was back to GCAT.

Lynch also brought the airplane to Santa Monica for the remainder of its landings, which were all during December, 1931. Tellingly, Lynch wrote "Blind flying" in the remarks column of the Register after his December 17th landing. Lynch and his passenger were killed in a crash April 15, 1932 north of Cottonwood, AZ while practicing instrument flight procedures. Please direct your browser to Lynch's biography page for details.

According to the NASM record, NC8814 was equipped for instrument flight training as of May 2, 1932. This preparation would have included a folding canvas hood over one cockpit so the pilot couldn't see outside, and the addition of specialized instruments, such as a sensitive altimeter. After these modifications, the airplane was 360 pounds overweight. Betts mentions the instrument conversion in his article, page 62, "Stearman #206 was outfitted with a hood on the rear cockpit which blocked the pilot's forward visibility ( but not peeking out of the side) plus a radio for low-frequency navigation." Part of the canvas hood can be seen on the rear cockpit, above. It was re-registered as NR8814, restricted for "instrument instruction and non-commercial cross-country flying." As of August, 1932 it had accumulated 1,284 flight hours.

NC/NR8814 had a series of accidents or incidents, which were documented by TWA VP and Davis-Monthan Register signer Paul Richter in 1935 (page 64 in Betts). "On 7/30/31 $133.87 damages to #206 (broken spar lower wing panel, Steve Welsh the pilot), due to blind cockpit (forward visibility while taxiing) restricting visibility." And, "On 8/'17/31 #206 had a broken spar in the lower wing panel ($151.00 damage) due to a groundloop after landing at Groom, TX. 'Pat' Gallup was the pilot. He was exonerated from any error 'due to the ground looping characteristics of the plane.' On 10/21/31, [this accident was cited in the NASM documentation, above] plane #206 had $404.85 damages landing at CMH [Columbus, OH] followed by a groundloop and structural failure of the gear ( pilot Jack Lynch)."

Further, "On 3/12/32 (near CMH), [Clover Field Register pilot] Hal Snead had the covering come off the right wing in flight. The damage was listed at $262.58, and the cause 'due to age of the plane [it was about three years old] and type of construction.' Hal had another incident at Tulsa on 10/7/32: the left tire blown out, lower left wing damaged and rear spar cracked at rear strut fitting ($70,31 damage). The cause: 'accident unavoidable, caused by whirlwind striking ship from rear while plane was taxiing on ground." The Snead incident was documented in the NASM papers. It seems that Snead was also cited for flying NC8814 with its license expired. He was fined $500, which was mitigated to $25.

The airplane was "sold" to Transcontinental & Western Air Express in a corporate reorganization on December 27, 1934. On August 6,1935 it was described as in need of overhaul and was ferried to Kansas City, MO for "retirement." On September 30, 1935, it was sold to Charles H. Babb, Glendale, CA. If you direct your browser to Babb's biography page over on the Davis-Monthan Airfield Web site, you'll see that he was an airplane broker. He touched, flew and traded in many of the airplanes of the time.

NC8814 went through three more owners through 1936, before being sold to J.R. Horton & F.M. Adams of Hollywood, CA on April 10, 1937. At this point it had accumulated 2,612 flight hours. The new owners had a dust hopper and other equipment installed and it went through four more owners as a duster until April 10, 1943. It received at least two engine replacements.

On August 10, 1944 it endured its last accident at Rena Laura, MS. At 7:45AM, pilot Glenn L. Whitaker collided mid-air with a Keystone Puffer, NR3359 (not a Register airplane) flown by W.G. Harvey. Both men were killed when their airplanes crashed and burned.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/24/15 REVISED: 06/25/15