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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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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. The cover of this handsome 1932 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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I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Omlie 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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PHOEBE FAIRGRAVE OMLIE

Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie, Ca. 1928 (Source: M. Guth)
Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie, Ca. 1928 (Source: M. Guth)

 

Photograph, right, courtesy of site visitor Mickey Guth. The button on the front of Omlie's coverall says "Saint Paul Aviator Guest 1928." A good guess would be that this photo was taken July 24, 1928 when the National Air Tour that year passed through St. Paul (Holman Field), MN. She was about four days away from her 24th place finish. She was the only woman to place in that Tour.

Later, Phoebe Omlie landed twice at Santa Monica. Her first visit was on August 17, 1931 in conjunction with the 1931 National Air Races (NAR). She arrived from Memphis, TN with one unidentified passenger in Monocoupe NC518W.

The NAR transcontinental race for women began that year at Santa Monica and followed a course to Cleveland, OH. It wasn't the first time she had covered that route (see boxed quote below). She and her Monocoupe took first place in the 1931 event, completing the course and winning $3,000 for her effort. Four of the top five winners,including Omlie, are signed in the Clover Field Register: Martie Bowman, Edith Foltz and Louise Thaden.

Omlie was born and educated in Des Moines, IA. She was a 1920 graduate of the Des Moines Mechanic Arts High School. Not surprisingly, she became an early female aviation mechanic (her certificate, #422, is dated July 31, 1933).

A biographical statement for Omlie appears in the Blue Book of Aviation, cited in the left sidebar. As usual in publications of that era, the date of her birth is not cited. The following is quoted from that statement (page 228). It was written after her 1931 win at Cleveland and it gives a good sense of how successful she was competing in some of the premier air racing events of the Golden Age.

One of the foremost women flyers, Mrs. Omlie began her aviation career, while still a high school student, as a parachute jumper and exhibition flyer, at St. Paul, Minn. in 1921. Later that same year she removed to Memphis, Tenn., and with her husband established the first commercial flying school in Tennessee. This school remained under the Omlie management, subsequently becoming one of the foremost schools of the south, and was continued until its purchase by the Curtiss-Wright interests in 1929. Since 1931 she has been active in operations at the Municipal Airport of Memphis, as secretary-treasurer of the Mid-South Airways, Inc. She is also associated with the Mono Aircraft Corp.

Mrs. Omlie participated in the National Air Tours in 1928, and 1929 and in the latter year was the winner of the 500 class Women's National Air Derby from Santa Monica, Calif., to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1930 she was the winner of the Eastern Derby from Washington to Chicago, and in the same year also won the all cabin races for women at Chicago, as well as other events. In 1931 she won first place in the Santa Monica, (Calif.) - Cleveland (Ohio) Air Derby.

Transport Pilot license No. 199; owner of a Monocoupe, powered with a Warner motor, license NC518W. Member: Federation Aeronautique Internationale, Ligue Internationale de Aviateurs, National Air Pilots Assn., Women's Natioinal Aeronautic Assn. (hon. member), National Aeronautic Assn., Girl Scouts, Betsy Ross Corps, Eastern Star. Clubs: Contact, 99's, Memphis Aero....

Mid-South Airways, Inc. is shown in the photograph, below, painted on the transom of the hangar that was part of the Omlie's aviation business in Memphis, TN. The automobile she was standing by appeared to be a stunning model L-29 Cord, manufactured by Oxnard Field Register pilot Ehret Lobban Cord (Oxnard Field is not represented by a Web site yet). The Monocoupe aircraft in the background and the dog sitting on the running board were unidentified. This photograph is from the Saint Louis University Library Digital Collection (SLU).

Phoebe Omlie, L-29 Cord, Monocoupe, Ca. 1929 (Source: SLU)
Phoebe Omlie, L-29 Cord, Monocoupe, Ca. 1929 (Source: Link)

Omlie's second landing at Santa Monica is recorded in the Register on July 7, 1934. This time she was flying with another unidentified passenger in a Department of Commerce Monocoupe, NS42. They were flying locally from Los Angeles Mines Field to the Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale, CA. No reason was given for the flight, but she was involved with an airport marking program at the time.

Omlie's biography is extended at this link to the Davis-Monthan Register Web site. She landed seventeen times at four of the six Airfields (Davis-Monthan, Clover, Parks Airport and Peterson Field) represented in this suite of Web sites celebrating the individual Registers. Many of her memorabilia, including a leather tooth grip she used when hanging by her teeth from an aircraft aloft during exhibition flying, are on exhibit today at the Memphis Airport. Phoebe Omlie flew West July 17, 1975 at age 73.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/13/13 REVISED: 06/19/17