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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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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Some of this information is from the Blue Book of Aviation, Roland W. Hoagland, Ed., published in 1932 by The Hoagland Company, Publishers, Los Angeles, CA. 292 pp.

The cover of this handsome book is deeply engraved, and the fly leaves are printed with terrific art deco accents. Inside are brief biographies of contemporary aviation figures, as well as tables of various data.

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

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I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Kelley and her 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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ELIZABETH BROWNLEE KELLEY (Inwood)

 

 

Elizabeth Kelley was born August 22, 1907 at Seattle,WA. The 1910 U.S. Census, her first, placed her father and mother living at 1511 37th Avenue, Seattle, WA. Curiously, Kelley (who would have been two+ years old) was not entered on the form (Census taken in April). Either she was not living with them at the time, or the Census taker made a clerical error. The 1920 Census, however, placed her at age 12 living with her father, Arthur R. (age 41) and mother, Mary N. (36) in Berkeley, CA. Her younger brother Eugene W. (10) lived with them. Her father was employed as a "General Consulting Engineer."

Seattle Sunday Times, June 16,1912 (Source: Woodling)

 

Elizabeth Kelley, Early Portrait (Source: Kelley Family)

 

Indeed, the first five years of her life were spent in Seattle, then, in 1912, her father took a new engineering position in San Francisco and the family moved south, as reported in the Seattle Sunday Times, June 16, 1912, right.

The photograph at left, and most of those that follow, came from an album of Kelley's photos and artifacts maintained by her family. Many thanks to Kelley's niece and granddaughter who shared them with us.

 

Elizabeth Kelley, Ca. 1929, Location Unknown (Source: Kelley Family)
Elizabeth Kelley, Ca. 1929, Location Unknown (Source: Kelley Family)

 

At right, Kelley stands in front of the same light trainier aircraft as in the photo above. The aircraft is a Cycloplane model C-2. The two-cylinder motor was mounted on the leading edge of the wing above the seat. It was an inexpensive trainer, which cost $895 new. See a profile of an entire Cycloplane at the link. The wider view shows the wing bracing and the seemingly frail nature of the craft. From her outfit, the engine fins and mount, and the utility pole in the background, it's fairly clear these two photos were taken on the same sunny and breezy day (necktie).

Kelley landed once at Santa Monica, on Friday, May 9, 1930. She was 22 years old when she landed. She was apparently solo in the American Eagle NC617E. The airplane was owned by the Aero Corporation of California, where she probably met her husband (see below). Her point of departure was somewhere in the greater Los Angeles area, and her destination was written as Culver City, CA. She probably had the following pilot certificate and identification card in her purse that day at Santa Monica.

Elizabeth Kelley, Department of Commerce Pilot Certificate, December 15, 1929 (Source: Kelley Family)
Elizabeth Kelley, Department of Commerce Pilot Certificate, December 15, 1929 (Source: Kelley Family)

A few years earlier, Kelley was a student at the University of California, Berkeley. The 1925-26 Register of the University (page 212) lists her as a freshman in the College of Letters & Science. Her residence was cited as Santa Monica, and her local address was listed as 2721 Channing Way, Berkeley. That building still exists today and is probably of 1920s vintage. However, it now appears to be the Delta Chi fraternity house.

Regardless, the location is just blocks from the Berkeley main campus. When she landed at Clover Field in 1930, she was probably a recent college graduate. We know she was a certificated pilot for less than a year, because we have the first page from her pilot log that documents her first flight lesson on September 4, 1929, below. She flew for 30 minutes in Clover Field Register airplane NC8283, an Alexander Eaglerock A-4, S/N 846. If you can provide photographs or information regarding this airplane, please let me KNOW. None of her other airplanes flown in September are signed in any Register.

E. Kelley, First Pilot Log book, September, 1929 (Source: Kelley Family)
E. Kelley, First Pilot Log book, September, 1929 (Source: Kelley Family)

Notice that she crossed out her "Private" pilot classification and wrote in that she had earned a Limited Commercial classification (March 20, 1930). According to her family, her first commercial (paying) job was dropping cremations out over the Pacific Ocean from her open cockpit. She also did racing and stunt flying. Her favorite story was about losing her watch, that her father had given her, while she was performing stunts. She was upside down, lost her watch and it was found by a farmer in his field and returned, because it was engraved. It still worked. 

But I digress. Upon her landing at Santa Monica, she was among a group of at least 19 other women who landed at the same time, about mid-day, on Friday. The other women's flights originated at several airfields around Los Angeles, but their unanimous destination that day was Culver City, CA. Santa Monica was their rendezvous point. Register pilot Clema Granger was opening an airfield in Culver City that day, so their group flight to there was a fly-in gathering in celebration of that event. There exists a group photo of the women who celebrated the opening of Culver City Airport that day. That photo can be viewed at LaVelle Sweeley's link.

From the Register, the group consisted of (in order of their signatures in the Register), W.V. Ludlow (?), Melba Gorby(*), Mary Cline, Jean Stuart, Ethel Richardson, Helen M. Beck, Eileen Curley, Clema Granger, Eunice Sargent, Patty Willis, Ruth AlexanderGladys O'Donnell (*), Aline Miller, LaVelle Sweeley, Kelley, Katherine Truett, Lindsay Holladey, Edith Bond, Felice Farrow and Peggy Gilliland. If you know anything about these women, please let me KNOW. I list their names here so that the search engines will find them. The ? after Ludlow signifies that I am not sure of gender or whether Ludlow was a member of the group. The asterisks denote charter members of the newly-formed (1929) Ninety-Nines, a women's aviation organization still active today. Elizabeth was a 99 (see below). She was not among the list of charter members, but there is documentation that shows she was a member.  She attended 99 meetings in Sun City (AZ) through the 1970's (see below). According to her family, she was also a member of the OX-5 Club, meaning she had flown an airplane with a classic Curtiss OX-5 engine.

A press release from the Curtiss-Wright Company dated February 16, 1930, below, tells of Kelley's acquisition of her Private pilot certificate and her work toward her Limited Commercial certification.

Curtiss-Wright Company Press Release, February 16, 1930 (Source: Kelley Family)
Curtiss-Wright Company Press Release, February 16, 1930 (Source: Kelley Family)

This press release gives a snapshot of women's pilot certifications at that time. A majority of the 138 certificated female pilots (99 of them) were charter members of the Ninety-Nines. Note mention of two other Register pilots: Laura Ingalls and Joan Shankle. This image is as I received it.

L.R. Inwood, Santa Ana Register, November 1, 1926 (Source: newspapers.com)
L.R. Inwood, Santa Ana Register, November 1, 1926 (Source: newspapers.com)

 

 

The 1930 U.S. Census placed Kelley at age 22 living in Los Angeles with her father and mother, and younger sister and brother. Kelley was married to Louis Richard Inwood (1896-1964) October 23, 1931. Inwood at the time was an employee of the Aero Corporation of California, founded by Register pilots Jack Frye and Paul Richter.

Inwood came into their marriage under the grimmest of circumstances, left. Subsequently, Inwood and Elizabeth had two children in their marriage, a son Arthur Richard (1933-1942; electrocuted by a faulty pole lamp) and a daughter, Mary Elizabeth (1935-2013).

 

Women's flying in California was well-developed in the 1930s. Besides the gathering in support of Clema Granger's new airfield in 1930, the Oakland Tribune of December 13, 1931 reported the following gathering.

Oakland Tribune, December 13, 1931 (Source: newspapers.com)

 

E. Kelley in The Blue Book of Aviation, 1932 (Source: Webmaster)

 

 

Kelley appeared second from the right in the second row of the photo. Note that she had adopted her new married name. Besides some of the Register pilots mentioned and linked above, this gathering included Mildred Morgan (who was very active in maintaining the women's network), Jessie Keith-Miller, Bobbi Trout, Hilda Jarmuth, Gretchen Fyle, Margaret Cooper and Pancho Barnes.

Besides a few news articles, Kelley appeared in the prestigious Blue Book of Aviation in 1932 (cited, left sidebar). The Blue Book, right, provided short biographical sketches and flying information for its entrys. From her entry we learn that she acquired her Private pilot certification on November 15, 1929 and her Limited Commercial certification four months later on March 20, 1930.

Besides the pilot identification card exhibited above, Kelley's family has preserved three of her flying licenses. Her F.A.I license is below.

Elizabeth Kelley, F.A.I. License, September 16, 1931 (Source: Kelley Family)
Elizabeth Kelley, F.A.I. License, September 16, 1931 (Source: Kelley Family)

A second in a confusing set of licensures is below, her F.A.I. Sporting License.

Elizabeth Kelley, 1931 F.A.I. Sporting License (Source: Kelley Family)
Elizabeth Kelley, 1931 F.A.I. Sporting License (Source: Kelley Family)

A third pilot certificate, below, is a photograph of her non-commercial license set to expire in 1936. She had indeed earned her Lilmited Commercial rating in 1930. Perhaps she failed to maintain the qualifications for the rating and was reassigned as a Private pilot. Either way, she was eligible to fly at least to 1936. Note the change of last name contingent upon her earlier marriage.

Elizabeth Inwood, April 30, 1936, Pilot License (Source: Kelley Family)
Elizabeth Inwood, April 30, 1936, Pilot License (Source: Kelley Family)

Below is her 1932 application to the Ninety-Nines. From the application we learn that she had accumulated 120 flight hours in an OX-5 powered Alexander Eaglerock (thus her membership in the OX-5 Club), Monocoupe and Monocoach, Fleet, Stinson, Waco and Cycloplane (see her with a Cycloplane in the photographs, above).

Elizabeth Kelley, Ninety-Nines Application, January 15, 1932 (Source: Kelley Family)
Elizabeth Kelley, Ninety-Nines Application, January 15, 1932 (Source: Kelley Family)

There is some conjecture that she was a charter member of 99s, which would have placed her name on the Charter Member list at the 99s Web site. But, according to the archivist at the Nintey-Nines Museum in Oklahoma City, the first record of her joining the 99s is a membership list from September 10, 1930 (below), and there is a membership application dated 1932 (above). Copies of an accounting ledger show membership payment in 1932 and 1933. Regardless of her charter member status or not, which would have stemmed from the 1929 first meeting of the organization, she was definitely active in the 99s during the early years of the organization.

Elizabeth Kelley Inwood, Ninety-Nines Membership, September 10, 1930 (Source: Kelley Family)
Elizabeth Kelley Inwood, Ninety-Nines Membership, September 10, 1930 (Source: Kelley Family)

Below is a photograph of 99s from the Southwest Chapter newsletter The 99er, dated March, 1934. Kelley is kneeling at the far right. Other 99s, some Register pilots, are listed in the caption. Standing just behind her is Henrietta (Sumner) Lantz. Kelley appeared in several other 99s group photos.

Ninety-Nines, March, 1934 (Source: Kelley Family)
Ninety-Nines, March, 1934 (Source: Kelley Family)

 

Below is a biographical sketch for Kelley, dated March 15, 1978, written by Ninety-Nine member Melba Beard (not a Register pilot), and originally published in the national 99s Newsletter of that date. Kelley's family also possesses a copy of the original Beard typescript from the 99s Museum.

Elizabeth Kelley Inwood Biographical Sketch, March 15, 1978 (Source: Kelley Family)
Elizabeth Kelley Inwood Biographical Sketch, March 15, 1978 (Source: Kelley Family)

There are a few discrepancies in this article, one being that, given she was born in 1907, she would have been 22 years old in 1929 when she learned to fly. Another is her alleged participation in the three-airplane, good will tour from Los Angeles to New York in September, 1934. Register pilot Mary Charles was one of the participants, and that flight is documented with photos and a news article at her link. Kelley was not among the pilots who made the flight. The names and photos of the participants were Charles, Bobbi Trout, Pancho Barnes, Viola Neill, Patty Willis and Nancy Chaffee. Lastly, she and Louis couldn't have moved with their son and daughter to Washington, DC in 1934, because their daughter wasn't born until 1935.

Sun Cities Life, November/December, 1987 (Source: Kelley Family)

 

Kelley poses in helmet, goggles, jodhpurs and boots, below, next to NC99-something. The airplane, date and location are unknown.

 

Elizabeth Kelley in Flying Attire, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Kelley Family)
Elizabeth Kelley in Flying Attire, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Kelley Family)

 

The 1940 U.S. Census placed the family living in Hyattsville, MD at 126 Garfield Avenue. His occupation at age 43 was listed as "Executive" with the "Air Safety Board." At age 32 she had no occupation listed. They had a lodger living with them, John L. Towne (30), a "Lawyer" with the "Department of Commerce." This Census also listed the Inwood's 1935 residence as Washington, DC.

By 1942, the family had moved to 6109 43rd Avenue in Hyattsville. Louis' draft card, dated April 26, 1942, identified his occupation with the War Production Board.

 

Elizabeth Kelley, Ca. 1931 (Source: Kelley Family)
Elizabeth Kelley, Ca. 1931 (Source: Kelley Family)

 

Elizabeth Kelley Inwood, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Kelley Family)

 

 

 

Kelley has essentially no Web presence that I could find, and very little newspaper coverage. Husband Louis Inwood enjoyed some news coverage, especially in the late 1940s-50s when he was the director of aviation for Philadelphia, PA.

As with many administrators, he was a cheerleader for aviation and appeared in a few articles dealing with public events and aviation budgets. One novel article from the Hagerstown Daily Mail of November 11, 1954 is below.

Daily Mail, Hagerstown, MD, November 11, 1954 (Source: newspapers.com)
Daily Mail, Hagerstown, MD, November 11, 1954 (Source: newspapers.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Danville Bee (VA) of the same date reported that the proposal was rejected. Family events showed up in the news as well, such as the marriage of their daughter on August 17, 1957 (Morning Herald, Hagerstown, MD, August 19th).

At some point after 1960, Elizabeth and Louis retired to Sun City, AZ in the greater Phoenix area. I have no record of her flight activities later in life. Ever the administrator, Louis became president of the Sun City Home Owners Association. After Louis passed away in 1964, Elizabeth studied and became a well-known travel agent.The article, above, left, from Sun Cities Life, November-December, 1987 described the kinds of travel she booked. She was an active participant in her clients' travels, guiding expeditions into her 8th decade. Note that someone corrected in the margin her numerical position in the total of female pilots in the late 1920s. Kelley survived Louis for over thirty years and flew West from Sun City on September 3, 1996 at age 89. She carried her Limited Commercial pilot certificate 10704.

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