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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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Armistead and his airplanes to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.

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Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.

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GEORGE STRATTON ARMISTEAD

George Armistead signed the Santa Monica Register once, on Tuesday July 16, 1929 at 12:40PM. He carried one unidentified passenger in the American Eagle he identified as NC406E. They arrived at Clover Field from the Metropolitan Airport in Los Angeles. He noted that the American Eagle was owned by Associated Aircraft.

Armistead also signed the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register on Tuesday, June 28, 1932 at 3:00 PM. He has a biography a little farther east at the Davis-Monthan Airfield Web site. Please link over there for more information, links and photos.

Armistead was born December 31,1910 In St. Louis, MO. He was one of the younger Register pilots. His father died in 1918. He had at least two brothers, Herbert and William. The 1920 U.S. Census, his first, listed him at age nine living with his widowed mother, brother William age 10 (no mention of Herbert), his maternal grandfather, age 75, vice president of an overalls company, and a servant, Katie Sickendick (29). They lived at 28 Kingsury Place, St. Louis, MO. That home today is a large structure with twin bay windows facing the street on the second floor. I'm not sure if it is 1920-vintage.

The 1930 Census listed the family living at 806 North Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, another large home in a neighborhood of large homes. Armistead was 19 years old and unemployed. His grandfather was not with them, but they did have a chauffeur and cook living with them.

The next record I found for him is an immigration form, which documented Armistead and three others returning to the United States on Thursday, May 16, 1935 from Aqua Caliente, Mexico. They flew in the Stinson model SM-6000-B, NC10807, S/N 5029 (not a Register airplane). The immigration form is below.

U.S. Immigration Form, May 16, 1935 (Source: ancestry.com)
U.S. Immigration Form, May 16, 1935 (Source: ancestry.com)

Similarly, another immigration form recorded the same itinerary ten-days later on Sunday, May 26, 1935, below. They flew in another Stinson, NC13495, model SR, S/N 8750 (not a Register airplane). This time he carried his wife and another couple. The Armisteads lived at 708 Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills, CA. According to Google Earth, that address today is in a neighborhood of elegant, large homes with landscaped swimming pools and cabanas.

U.S. Immigration Form, May 25, 1935 (Source: ancestry.com)
U.S. Immigration Form, May 25, 1935 (Source: ancestry.com)

Because of his age, Armistead came to air racing later in the 1930s than many Register pilots.

The 1940 Census documented Armistead at age 29 living at 1746 Sullivan Canyon, Los Angeles, CA. His wife, Margaret B. (30) lived with him, as did her mother, Ann Bowen (56). There was no record of children.

During WWII, Armistead was a civilian test pilot for Northrop Aviation. He tested the P-61 Black Widow. On August 6, 1945 (the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima), Armistead was test flying 43-8329 when, because of a closed cowl flap, the starboard engine caught fire. The fire destroyed the landing gear hydraulics resulting in a belly landing. External fuel tanks caught fire, destroying the rear part of the airplane. Armistead and his crew chief escaped through the hatch in the pilot's canopy, suffering no injuries. The airframe was stricken from the records on August 7th. An article from a Northrop company magazine that introduced the stable of Northrop test pilots is below, from 1944. Note, besides Armistead, Register pilots Charles La Jotte, Moye Stephens and Dick Ranaldi.

George Armistead, P-61 Test Pilot, 1944 (Source: Woodling)
George Armistead, P-61 Test Pilot, 1944 (Source: Woodling)

 

El Paso Herald-Post, September 16, 1940 (Source: Woodling)

 

I have little information about Armistead during the decade following the end of WWII. The El Paso Herald-Post (TX), September 16, 1940, left, documented his appointment as general manager at Fred Smith Aircraft Company at the El Paso airport. This Fred Smith was not the founder of FedEx. Armistead remained in this position until at least 1948 as reported in the 1948 El Paso city directory.

St. Louis Visitors MR. AND MRS. GEORGE S. ARMISTEAD of El Paso. Tex., and their daughter, Judy, arrived yesterday to spend a week with Mr. and Mrs. Herbert G. Armistead, 6935 Waterman Avenue. While here the visitors and the Armisteads will fly to Clarksdale, Miss., to spend a short time with their cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Alcorn Russell.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 16, 1950 reported a flight taken by Armistead, his wife, and daughter, Judy. I'm not quite sure of the name of Judy's mother, however, since the 1948 city directory for El Paso listed the name of Armistead's wife as "Ruby." If Ruby was a nickname for Margaret, then Margaret was Judy's mother. If not, then George and Margaret were divorced soon after the 1940 Census was recorded and he remarried Ruby, who was Judy's mother. She was born after the 1940 Census.

Judy Armistead, 1955 (Source: Woodling)
Judy Armistead, 1955 (Source: Woodling)

 

 

Judy's photograph in the 1955 Fabens, TX High School yearbook, left, placed her in the 9th grade. She was probably born ca. 1940-41.

El Paso Herald-Post, June 24, 1953 (Source: Woodling)
El Paso Herald-Post, June 24, 1953 (Source: Woodling)

 

A couple of years before his passing, Armistead became active in local civic affairs. He and a group of farmers protested a land valuation tax hike as reported in the El Paso Herald-Post, June 24, 1953, right. Armistead appears at left in the photograph. And an obscure reference in the El Paso Herald-Post, April 2, 1954 cites him running unopposed for school board in the Fabens District.

George Armistead Grave Marker, 1955 (Source: findagrave.com)
George Armistead Grave Marker, 1955 (Source: findagrave.com)

 

 

Armistead flew West as a young man, February 15, 1955, age 44, in Los Angeles, CA. His grave marker from the Glendale cemetery is at right. He has a very sparse Web presence, with most of the information having to do with the 1938 Bendix Race described at his Davis-Monthan link, and above. He flew with Transport pilot certificate T6305.

 

 

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/26/18 REVISED: 02/06/18