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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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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 Lyle 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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GEORGE LYLE

George Lyle landed once at Clover Field, Saturday, August 10, 1929 at 1:30PM. He was flying the Stearman he identified as NC8825. He arrived at Santa Monica from Kansas City, MO and identified Clover Field as his final destination. The owner of the airplane was identified as Herschel Linville. Lyle did not state if he was carrying passengers.

George Lyle, Clover Field, 1927 (Source: Lyle Family)
George Lyle, Clover Field, 1927 (Source: Lyle Family)

We are fortunate to have, through Lyle's son, a biography that nicely describes Lyle and positions him in the career in aviation that he followed all his life. He learned to fly in 1925 and soloed on September 3rd. He was taught to fly by

George Lyle Pilot Log Book, 1925-26 (Source: Lyle Family)
George Lyle Pilot Log Book, 1925-26 (Source: Lyle Family)

Fred Hoyt (see below) in a Curtiss JN-4. Interestingly, his first 103 flight hours were recorded in a pocket notebook rather than a log book. At right is a notebook page bridging 1925-1926 that shows the detail of his record: not a lot of information. Also of interest is the fact that Hoyt had sold the Jenny to Lyle before he soloed, so he actually soloed in an airplane he owned.

Lyle had landed a few years earlier and signed the Davis-Monthan Register at Tucson, AZ on Friday, January 29, 1926. He flew a Travel Air that he did not identify by registration number. Just below his signature in the Davis-Monthan Register is that of Fred Hoyt, who had taught Lyle how to fly. Hoyt and Lyle were partners in the First Western Travel Air agency, later becoming Stearman distributors. This might explain why he was flying a Travel Air in '26 and a Stearman aircraft when we found him at Clover Field in 1929. His partner Hoyt was killed early on in an unrelated incident. I had originally identified Hoyt as Lyle's passenger, but, from the article cited below, it is clear that Hoyt was flying his own Travel Air.

Regardless, his pocket notebook records the cross-country flight that brought him through Tucson January 29th, and an article shared by his family corroborates the dates and gives a reason for the itinerary.

George Lyle, Pilot Log, January, 1926 (Source: Lyle Family)
George Lyle, Pilot Log, January, 1926 (Source: Lyle Family)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyle's notebook page documenting the flight is at left (flights dated 1/18-1/31). The Aero Digest for March, 1926 featured a "Western News" article authored by Lyle entitled "Travel Airing thru the Great Southwest." It describes his and Hoyt's decision to buy a new Travel Air in order to boost their aviation business offerings. It goes on to give us a taste of what it was like to fly small airplanes cross-country in 1926.

As it turned out, a trip that started with the purchase of a single OX-5-powered Travel Air resulted in the partners purchasing a second Travel Air and acquiring the distributorship for Travels Air craft throughout the Pacific Coast states. The article futher reveals that Hoyt flew the second Travel Air from Wichita to Clover Field.

The article states they were flying into a headwind with the OX-5 airplane in the lead capable of an airspeed of 80MPH. This could explain why it took seven days and 23.5 flight hours to cover the distance from Kansas to California (but see below).

George Lyle With Bankline Oil Company Buhl NC9629, Clover Field, 1929 (Source: Lyle Family)
George Lyle With Bankline Oil Company Buhl NC9629, Clover Field, 1929 (Source: Lyle Family)

 

 

From Wichita, their route took them to Ft. Sill, OK, Big Spring, TX and El Paso, TX. Their flights from El Paso to Tucson, to Yuma, AZ were described as, "uneventful and pleasant." Their final leg was not so. From Yuma, as they skirted the Salton Sea, storm clouds appeared and heavy rain forced them down to 100 feet to follow the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks. The rain finally slowed, and, "... it was a great relief to be out of the mountains with our home station, Clover Field, but a short distance away. This trip being my first long cross-country was for me replete with thrills, impressions and experiences that are nigh invaluable."

Lyle and his wife, Marian, raised six children. Thanks to George B. Lyle, eldest son, for sharing this information with us. His father's 25 year career in aviation saw him as a partner in the Lyle-Hoyt Aircraft Company (above) from 1925-1927, a flying service in Holland, MI in 1928. This was an ill-fated venture and he went back to Clover Field in November, 1928 for Pacific Aviation from 1928-1929 (company owned by James Granger). He quit Pacific Aviation to become the pilot for Bankline Oil Company out of Clover Field in 1929-30. At right, Lyle is shown with Bankline's Buhl NC9629 (airplane recorded in Davis-Monthan Airfield Register, 4/25/1929, at the link). Please direct your browser to the airplane to learn about its interesting history. Lyle's employment with Bankline ended November 13, 1930, due to the Depression.

While in the employ of Jim Granger in the late 1920's, Pacific Aviation did some of the flying for the Hollywood epics "Wings", "Hell's Angels" and "Skylark."  Contributor Lyle states, "Apparently Dad was involved in this flying, for in 1929 his logbook has some rather cryptic entries labeled 'movie work.'  He died too young for me to ever query him about his 'movie work' and researching the above movies I found no mention of him . . . if indeed he ever flew during their production."

George Lyle did not fly professionally again until, in 1938, he became a partner in Huchendorf & Lyle Flying Service at Clover Field, and then from 1939-1942 sole proprietor of Lyle Flying Service at Clover Field and Metropolitan Airport in Van Nuys, CA. Early in WWII he ran the Civilian Pilot Training Program for the University of California, Los Angeles. Later he joined the Army Air Corps, Air Transport Command, and flew all over the world delivering new aircraft and supplies to various battlefronts and flying back war-weary aircraft to the U.S. for rehabilitation. His experience flying fatigued 4-engine B-29s back from India led him to call the B-29 "our best 3-engine aircraft."

George Lyle was born in 1903 and died young in May, 1953 of a heart attack (his second). His first heart attack in 1950 in the air over Palm Springs, CA, ended his flying career (he landed his airplane without incident). His wife followed him in death in December of a cerebral hemorrhage.

He carried Transport pilot certificate T1518 as well as a mechanic's certificate. As well as his 1926 article cited above, he authored articles for Flying Aces Magazine in the 1930's, and a column, "Advice to the Airborne," in the Aviation News Beacon in the 1940's.

Dossier 2.1.196

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