OTHER RESOURCES

There is no biographical file for pilot Burlew 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Burlew and his airplane 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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FRED NORTHROP BURLEW

 

Fred Burlew landed and signed the Clover Field Register once, on Sunday, April 26, 1931 at 12:45PM. He carried two unidentified passengers in the Curtiss C-1 Robin he identified as NC934K, S/N 594. The aircraft owner was listed as Fred Burlew. They arrived at Santa Monica from Santa Ana, CA and Burlew identified their destination as Palo Alto, CA.

Pioneer Memories of the Santa Ana Valley, V. VII, 1987 (Source: Web)
Pioneer Memories of the Santa Ana Valley, V. VII, 1987 (Source: Web)

 

At right is page twelve of Pioneer Memories of the Santa Ana Valley, Volume VII. It identifies Burlew's parents as Jesse M. and Mary Northrop, married June 19, 1909. From the description provided for Fred, he was a quick study and very intelligent. He was born ca. 1911 and was thus quite young when he landed at Santa Monica.

The 1920 U.S. Census, which was Fred's first, placed Jessie (age 45), Mary (33) and Fred (8) living at 1015 Broadway in Santa Ana, CA. Jessie was a physician with a general surgery practice and Mary was his nurse and office assistant. Also living with them was Minerva M. King (20), identified on the Census form as a housekeeper/maid.

The 1930 Census placed the family at the same address, with Jessie (50 [sic] should be 55) as a physician in a general surgery practice. Mary (42) was not employed. Fred was age 18. Living with the family was Elma V. Egge (27), a lodger and trained nurse attending to Mary, and Anna E. Stewart (53) a servant. Their home was valued in the Census at $15,000.

The Stanford Daily of April 30, 1931 listed Burlew as a pending June graduate from the School of Engineering that year. The date of the newspaper was a day earlier than his landing at Santa Monica. I do not know where he learned to fly, but chances are good that he might have learned through one of the flying clubs that were common at southern California universities during the Golden Age. See for example the Trojan Club.

Note, at right, the mention of James Northrop (1856-1940), Mary's father. Interestingly, in 1930 James (72) and his wife, Emily E. (73) were next door neighbors at 1013 Broadway. James' occupation was listed as "Inventor" in the "Cotton machinery" business. His "Northrop Loom" is pictured and described at the link.

Burlew met his end at age 24 in an airplane crash on September 1, 1935. A report of the crash appeared in the The Anniston Star (AL) of September 2, 1935, below.

EXPRESS PLANE CRASHES, KILLS CREW OF THREE.
WESTERN AIR EXPRESS FALLS, BURNS ONLY MILE FROM LOS ANGELES AIRPORT.

Los Angeles, Sept. 2. (U.P.) -- A Western Air express plane crashed and burst into flames shortly before midnight, burning its crew of two men and a woman to death.

Western Air dispatchers listed the crew as GEORGE SHERWOOD, 38, veteran Los Angeles pilot; FRED M. BURLEW, co-pilot, Glendale, Calif.; DONNA NAYLOR, stewardess, Burbank, Calif.

Less than a mile from the airport its motors began sputtering, MALDIN BURT, Van Nuys rancher reported.
"The plane was flying low and it seemed that the motor was sputtering," he said. "The pilot gave it the gun. It seemed to zoom up and then the motor went dead and the plane nosed downward."

"The pilot looked like he was trying to pull up its nose and he succeeded partly. The plane, skimmed across several irrigation stempipes [sic] and the propeller broke off."

"It skidded across Empire Boulevard here and went into a cow pasture. Suddenly it broke into flames."

According to the Register, Burlew carried pilot Certificate number 14369. Fred N. Burlew signed the Parks Airport Register and, with high probablility, also signed the Register of the Grand Central Air Terminal on May 10, 1931.

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