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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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.

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Pedersen, Jeannine. 2008. Images of Aviation: Catalina By Air. Arcadia Publishing. San Francisco, CA. 129pp.

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I'm looking for information and photographs of this 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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Thanks to Raymond Crawford's grandson for sharing photographs, news clippings and information about his grandfather and grandmother.

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RAYMOND CALVIN CRAWFORD

Ray Crawford is signed twice in the Santa Monica Register. His first visit was on Tuesday, December 1, 1931 at 10:30AM. He carried two unidentified passengers in the Stinson SM-6000-B he identified as NC11118 (S/N 5004).

He arrived at Santa Monica from San Francisco, CA, and identified San Francisco as his destination. He wrote in the Register that the airplane was owned by the (San Francisco) "Examiner Printing Company." The Examiner was a newspaper owned by William Randolph Hearst at the time, and Hearst was known as an early adopter of aviation for his business travel. Crawford did not cite a departure time or date.

Stinson NC11118 was a frequent visitor to The Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT), and appears in that Register at least 17 times between March and July, 1931, probably flown in and out of Glendale, CA because of San Francisco Examiner business. Unfortunately, the pilot's name was recorded for none of the landings. Chances are good that the pilot was Crawford for some of the records.

Below, Crawford appears at the Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale, date unknown. He posed wearing a parachute next to a Fleet aircraft that had a canvas shroud that is fitted over the rear cockpit. This shroud was closed over the pilot and used for instrument flight practice (i.e. "blind flying"). A check pilot who could see everything sat in the front cockpit. Note the bugs spattered on the leading surface of the canvas hood.

Ray Crawford, Date Unknown, Glendale, CA (Source: SDAM)
Ray Crawford, Date Unknown, Glendale, CA (Source: SDAM)

 

Ray Crawford and Lulu, Ca. 1932 (Source: Crawford Family)
Ray Crawford and Lulu, Ca. 1932 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

Ray Crawford was born in October 27, 1905 in California. The 1910 U.S. Census, his first, cited him at age 4 living on a farm in Santa Clara County, CA with his father Grant E. Crawford (38; b. 1869?), and mother, Lulu Crawford (33; b. 1877) and brother Robert (8). At right Ray was posed on a tree stump years later with his mother in 1932 wearing the latest in men's swimwear. He was about 27 years old.

The 1920 Census placed him at age 14 living on a farm in Santa Clara County, CA with his mother whose occupation was listed as a telephone operator. His father had passed away young. The 1922 and 1923 Long Beach City Directories listed Raymond (16) as an oil worker living at 427½ 5th Street with his mother. his brother was not mentioned. The 1926 directory identified the oil company he worked for as Shell. His mother still lived with him.

The 1927 Long Beach directory listed him as a pilot helper at the International Aircraft Corporation. The 1930 Census placed him living in San Mateo County CA at age 24. He lived at the Capuchino Apartments, 710 E. 5th St., Lomita Park, with his mother (51) and a boarder, Thomas Carlson. His occupation was cited as "Aviation Pilot." If you do the math, he learned to fly sometime between 1927 and 1930, but an article below suggests a date of 1924.

1930 was a big year for Crawford. He married Nell Emogene Wriston on June 2nd, below. In April that year, Nell Wriston (22) was a bookkeeper in a radio shop, rooming at 501 Grand Avenue.

Raymond and Nell Crawford, June 2, 1930 (Source: Crawford Family)
Raymond and Nell Crawford, June 2, 1930 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

Crawford-Wriston Engagement, May 22, 1930 (Source: Crawford Family)
Crawford-Wriston Engagement, May 22, 1930 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

Crawford-Wriston Marriage, San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1930 (Source: Crawford Family)
Crawford-Wriston Marriage, San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1930 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

Crawford and Nell were engaged May 22, 1930 as reported in the Morgan Hill Times (CA), left. Their wedding was announced in the San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1930, right. Their marriage was also reported as far away as Charleston, WV in the Charleston Daily Mail, June 22, 1930. Note the consistent misspelling in news articles of Wriston as Wristen.

Nell Crawford (Source: Woodling)
Nell Crawford (Source: Woodling)

 

Nell appears at left in a vignette probably taken near her wedding day.

 

A photograph in Crawford's family collection shows Nell poised smiling on a diving board over Flathead Lake, MT during their "Summer in Montana, 1930."

September 9, 1930 Missoula Gazette (MT) (Source: Woodling)
September 9, 1930 Missoula Gazette (MT) (Source: Woodling)

 

Crawford moved around during 1930-31, probably as a symptom of the deepening Great Depression. He became chief pilot for the newly-formed Montana Airlines. The September 9, 1930 Missoula Gazette (MT) reported his new job, right.

 

 

Daily Inter Lake, Kalispell, MT, January 24, 1931 (Source: Woodling)
Daily Inter Lake, Kalispell, MT, January 24, 1931 (Source: Woodling)

 

 

 

The article at right also cited his work with T.A.T.-Maddux in Los Angeles, CA. And then he moved to Montana where he worked for Montana Airways and then he moved to San Francisco.

At some point he was in business for himself with Crawford Airways. He made a newsworthy flight one snowy night transporting a wrestler from San Francisco to Oregon to participate in a critical match. A report of the flight appeared in the Daily Inter Lake, Kalispell, MT for January 24, 1931, left. Note that Nell accompanied Crawford and his paying passenger.

I have no information about his airline. I have some information about his "three-mile-a-minute" flagship. An unsourced January 3, 1931 article identified it as a "cabin plane" equipped with "flares for night service." At 180 MPH this was indeed a very fast airplane for 1931. The success of the flight was reported when it occurred in the Oregon Daily Journal, Portland, OR, January 15, 1931.

Oakland Post-Enquirer, January 31, 1931 (Source: Crawford Family)
Oakland Post-Enquirer, January 31, 1931 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

In early 1931, Crawford was appointed as a pilot with Overland Airways, Ltd. in Oakland, CA. His appointment was reported in the Oakland Post-Enquirer of January 31, 1931, right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below, Ray and Nell, ca. 1931.

Ray and Nell Crawford, Ca. 1931 (Source: Crawford Family)
Ray and Nell Crawford, Ca. 1931 (Source: Crawford Family)

 


Bakersfield Californian Friday, March 6, 1931
(Source: Woodling)
Bakersfield Californian Friday, March 6, 1931 (Source: Woodling)
Big Springs Daily Herald (TX), April 1, 1934 (Source: Woodling)
Big Springs Daily Herald (TX), April 1, 1934 (Source: Woodling)

 

 

The Bakersfield Californian Friday, March 6, 1931 cited his work as a flight instructor with Overland Airways, right. He taught California Governor James "Sunny Jim" Rolph how to fly.

In late 1931 he settled in San Francisco and began flying for the San Francisco Examiner, which brought him to his first visit at Santa Monica on December 1st, above. He worked for the Examiner for about four years.

The San Francisco Examiner, May 14, 1932 headlined, "Examiner's Plane Guides Akron. Airship Led Through Fog to Sunnyvale." The article described Crawford flying lead in he Examiner's airplane to guide the Akron through fog to attempt a landing at Sunnyvale. It was a unique cooperation between a large, military airship and a private civilian airliner. A separate article expressed the Akron skipper's gratefulness, right. Other news articles and photos in the Crawford family collection show an aerial view of the Akron, as well as Nell and her mother posed in front of a navy dirigible (not the Akron).

San Francisco Examiner, May 14, 1932 (Source: Crawford Family)
San Francisco Examiner, May 14, 1932 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

Below, left, Crawford appears to be somewhat formally dressed in the bow of a round-bottomed boat, wearing a cap that looks like the one he wore in the photograph of him and Nell, above.

The boat has some electronic gear mounted below the gunwhale next to his right knee. There is a metal box with at least two knobs. The equipment is relatively small to be some sort of radio device of the era. If you recognize the equipment, please let me KNOW.

The location of the photo is probably somewhere in northern California, since he moved there in 1931. He is wearing shoes that look like they have thick soles (felt?) of the type that might be used for walking on slippery rocks.

Ray Crawford, Ca. 1932 (Source: Crawford Family)
Ray Crawford, Ca. 1932 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

In 1933, as reported in the Glendale, CA city directory that year, he and Nell had moved to Glendale, living at 461 West Colorado Blvd. That stucco-faced building today looks to be 1930s vintage, but it appears to be office space and not residential. Crawford was identified as a "Pilot." During the same year, the 1933 San Francisco city directory listed him living there as an "Aeroplane pilot" for the "SF Examiner." No street address was listed.

The following year, Crawford carried (part of the way) George Hearst, oldest son of William Randolph Hearst, publisher of the Examiner, on a flight from California to Miami, FL. That flight was documented in the Big Springs Daily Herald (TX) of April 1, 1934, left.

Coincidentally, Crawford also appeared once in Tucson, AZ signed in the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register. He landed there Monday, April 2, 1934 at 9:03AM. He carried one unidentified passenger in Stinson NC12196. They arrived at Tucson from Ft. Worth, TX enroute to Glendale, CA. This was probably Crawford's return flight west from dropping off Hearst in Ft. Worth. The passenger was either Bill Hoettle or mechanic Fred Brown. Probably Brown. Note in the article that Hearst was flown from Ft. Worth to Miami by Register pilot Roscoe Turner.

Crawford's second landing at Clover Field was almost three years after his first one. It was on Thursday, October 18, 1934 at 12:10PM. This time he was solo in the Stinson U he identified as NC12196 (S/N 9023). He arrived at Santa Monica from San Simeon, CA, remained on the ground 20 minutes, then departed for Glendale. He noted in the Register that the Stinson was owned by William Randolph Hearst and the "San Francisco Examiner."

After his work for W.R. Hearst and the Examiner, Crawford went to work for Wilmington-Catalina Airlines, which flew amphibious passenger aircraft from Los Angeles to Santa Catalina Island and return. He appeared in a group photograph of Wilmington-Catalina pilots in the Pedersen reference in the left sidebar, page

Raymond Crawford (L) And Other Wilmington-Catalina Airlines Pilots (Source: Sidebar)
Raymond Crawford (L) And Other Wilmington-Catalina Airlines Pilots (Source: Sidebar)

The other pilots listed in the caption for the photograph were, left to right, Crawford, Bob Simmons, Harry Downs, George Ryan, William Jamison, Henry Rideort, Jack Emmerich and Jack Hill. Only Ryan was a fellow Clover Field Register pilot.

Another photograph of Crawford with a Wilmington-Catalina amphibian is below. The Airline's livery is on the rear fuselage. NC12212, a Douglas Dolphin 1, S/N 1002, manufactured September 25, 1931, was not a Register airplane.

Ray Crawford With Willimington-Catalina Aircraft (Source: Crawford Family)
Ray Crawford With Willimington-Catalina Aircraft (Source: Crawford Family)

NC12212 crashed off Santa Catalina Island November 2, 1933. According to the FAA online database, its airworthiness certificate was canceled December 1, 1933, and its registration number is now assigned to and worn by a 1973 Cessna 172M based in the state of Washington.

Seattle Sunday Times, October 16, 1938 (Source: Woodling)
Seattle Sunday Times, October 16, 1938 (Source: Woodling)

 

In July, 1935, a news article documented Nell's brother visiting with the Crawfords and making a flight to Catalina Island with him.

Crawford had an aircraft incident near San Luis Obispo, as reported in the Seattle Sunday Times of October 16, 1938, left. The make of his airplane is unclear from the article, but it must have been an amphibian, because he taxied it four miles to shore.

 

 

 

 

 

Nell, Ca. 1938 (Source: Crawford Family)
Nell, Ca. 1938 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

 

 

Nell & Ray, Jr., 1937 (Source: Crawford Family)
Nell & Ray, Jr., 1937 (Source: Crawford Family)

At left is a photograph of Nell, ca. 1938. The 1940 Census reported Nell Crawford (31) living at 1816 Pacific Ave. in San Francisco. She and Ray were divorced sometime between 1936 and 1940. She was living with her son Raymond Crawford, Jr. (5) and her brother James Wriston (24). I do not know exactly when or why Ray and Nell divorced. A photo of Nell and Ray, Jr. is at right, dated 1937.

 

 

Below is a photograph of Nell and Ray, Jr. taken ca. 1936. From her wrist watch, the photograph was snapped at 12:50PM.

Nell & Ray, Jr. 1936 (Source: Crawford Family)
Nell & Ray, Jr. 1936 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

 

A photograph of their son is below at approximately five years old, dated 1940 at the Pacific Avenue address.

Ray Crawford, Jr., June 1940 (Source: Crawford Family)
Ray Crawford, Jr., June 1940 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

Below is another photograph of Ray, Jr. with Ray, Sr. taken when Jr. was 7.5 months old: about the same age as at left.

 

 

 

 

Ray Crawford With Ray, Jr., Ca. 1936 (Source: Crawford Family)
Ray Crawford With Ray, Jr., Ca. 1936 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

Below is a photograph of Ray, Jr.'s first airplane ride at 10.5 months old. From the text painted on the fuselage, the airplane belonged to the San Francisco Examiner. The photo does not show the Stinson flown to Clover Field by Crawford in 1934. Rather the wing root design and round door window suggest a Vultee model, probably a B-1A also flown by Hearst on behalf of his newspapers.

Ray, Jr. First Airplane Ride, Ca. 1935 (Source: Crawford Family)
Ray, Jr. First Airplane Ride, Ca. 1935 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nell remarried, probably near 1940, as dated photographs show her with Ted, her new husband, through the 1940s. Below is Ray, Jr., Nell and Ted.

Ray, Jr., Nell, Ted, Ca. Mid-1940s (Source: Crawford Family)
Ray, Jr., Nell, Ted, Ca. 1940 (Source: Crawford Family)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crawford did fly aircraft during WWII. His obituary, below, from the Bakersfield Californian, November 15, 1944, states that he was a test pilot for the Douglas Aircraft Company (Burbank, CA) and that he flew bombers from Canada to England.

 

Ray Crawford, Obituary, Bakersfield, CA, November 15, 1944 (Source: Woodling)
Ray Crawford, Obituary, Bakersfield, CA, November 15, 1944 (Source: Woodling)

 

 

Unfortunately, he didn't live long enough to see the end of WWII. Ray Crawford, Sr. died November 15, 1944. He was barely 39 years old. From this article, he was remarried to Katherine. Another obituary from the Bakersfield Californian, November 17, 1944 is below. He flew West with Transport pilot certificate T1679.

Ray Crawford Obituary, Bakersfield Californian, November 17, 1944 (Source: Woodling)
Ray Crawford Obituary, Bakersfield Californian, November 17, 1944 (Source: Woodling)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have additional information or photographs of Ray Crawford and his aircraft to share, please let me KNOW.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 07/28/16 REVISED: 08/04/16