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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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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SAMUEL JOSEPH SAMSON

S.J. Samson, Date Unknown (Source: Web)

 

S.J. Samson was born June 23, 1900 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. His father was S.O. Samson, and mother Isabella Duechncau.He immigrated to the U.S. in 1919. He wouldn't have had an entry in the 1910 U.S. Census; neither could I find a 1920 Census record for him, perhaps because of his recent immigration. Incidentally, most of the newspaper and magazine references I found for Samson identifed him as "S.J. Samson."

Northrop Delta 1D, NC14242 (S/N 39), Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)

 

Samson signed the Clover Field Register three times, each time flying the Northrop Delta 1D he identified as NC14242 (S/N 39), right. The photograph of NC14242 is courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum (SDAM) Flickr Stream.

The airplane was owned by Hal Roach (1892-1992), one of a half-dozen or so aircraft he owned.The link takes you to a YouTube video of an interview with Roach on his hundredth birthday. Please direct your browser to Register pilot James Dickson's biography page, and the links there from, for more on Roach and his airplanes. Roach was a Hollywood film producer famous for the "Our Gang" and "Laurel & Hardy" films of the 1920s-1940s.

The 1930 Census cited Samson (age 30) living at 511 West Seventh Street in Plainfield, NJ with his wife, Pauline Jones Samson (28). According to the Census form, they had been married four years and lived in a home they rented for $100 per month. His occupation was listed as "Pilot" for the "Air Mail." He flew for National Air Transport. They had no children at the time of the Census, however a daughter, Nancy, was soon born April 6, 1930 (d. 2004). Samson was featured in an article in the Chicago Tribune of January 19, 1930 for a record flight of the mail from Chicago to the eastern terminus of the line in New York in 4 hours and 25 minutes.

He was well-known as an airmail pilot, and at least two product advertisments appeared which bore his endorsements. One, for the Aero Model Company, is below.

S.J. Samson in Aero Ace Model Advertisement, 1929 (Source: Web)

Another advertisement appeared in the June 15, 1929 issue of Air Transportation. Samson was cited and pictured in the ad, along with 14 other National Air Transport pilots, as owners and users of Meyrowitz Luxor flight goggles.

The Cornell Daily Sun (NY), December 16, 1936 (Source: Web)

 

Samson's first visit at Santa Monica was recorded in the Register on Friday, October 12, 1934 at 3:20PM. He appeared to be solo in the airplane, with his destination recorded as Palm Springs, CA. Likewise, he was solo on his second visit, Saturday, December 15, 1934 11:40AM. His destination this time was recorded as San Simeon, CA.

His final landing was a couple of weeks later on Friday, January 4, 1935 at 12:45PM. He had arrived at Santa Monica from Burbank, CA, with his destination stated as Palm Springs again. He offered no purposes for any of his flights.

The Glendale city directory for 1936 listed him and Pauline living at 418 Ross Street, and cited his occupation as "Air pilot." He was, at the time, a pilot for Western Air Express.

Samson died December 15, 1936 in a plane crash in the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. Based at Glendale, CA, he was the pilot of a Western Air Express Boeing 247D, NC13370. Among the five passengers and two crew there were no survivors. The crash, the search and the aftermath were well-covered in the national media. For example, The Cornell Daily Sun (NY), December 16, 1936, left, reported the airplane missing, as well as included a back story, of questionable sensitivity, involving a love triangle between the deceased stewardess and two of her suitors.

The Kingsport Times (TN) of December 17, 1936 reported the following.

ABANDON HOPE FOR OCCUPANTS AND MISSING PLANE.
SEARCHERS CONFIDENT PLANE WILL BE FOUND; TRACKS FOUND IN MOUNTAIN.
SEVEN ABOARD.
PASSENGERS AND CREW BELIEVED TO HAVE CRASHED TO DEATH IN HEAVY FOG.

Salt Lake City, Dec. 17. (AP) -- A freshly sheared mountain tree and possible "tracks of an airplane" drew searchers into a snow-drifted wilderness today, confident the fate of an airliner carrying two women and five men would be known by nightfall.

The passengers -- including a pretty stewardess who stepped deftly in and out of a triangular romance -- were feared to have crashed to death or to have died of exposure.

The hunt centered on the western slope of the Wasatch Mountains, 25 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, where several persons reported hearing a sputtering airplane motor early Tuesday, the day the Los Angeles-Salt Lake City Western Air Express transport disappeared.

Believe Located.
At dusk yesterday a broken tree was found atop a ridge and on the nearby rim of a canyon were deep indentations in the shale. J. I. Hess, forest service foreman, said they "might be tracks of an airplane."
A sudden snowstorm cut short investigation last night.

Grimly, A. E. Cahlan of Las Vegas, spokesman for Western Air Express, admitted that officials believed "the plane's occupants have perished."

The missing were:
MR. and MRS. JOHN F. WOLFE, of Chicago, married only 17 days ago.
HENRY W. EDWARDS, Minneapolis, a representative of Northwest Airlines.
CARL CHRISTOPHER, Dwight, Ill., on his way home when informed his wife was seriously ill.
Stewardess GLADYS WITT, who recently made the headlines with a cross-country romantic mixup.
S. J. SAMSON, Pilot.
WILLIAM BOGEN, Pilot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The route of his red eye flight that night was Los Angeles/Burbank – Las Vegas – Salt Lake City. The plane was expected to arrive in Salt Lake City at 4:10AM. The last radio contact with the plane was at 3:27AM when pilot Samson radioed he was at an altitude of 10,000 feet with high overcast near Milford, 90 miles southwest of Delta. The pilots then lost orientation due to local static conditions which rendered the aircraft’s navigation receivers inoperative. Without a definite course to follow the plane drifted east and eventually crashed into Lone Peak in the Wasatch Range southeast of Salt Lake City.

At first the authorities thought the plane had landed at an isolated airport in the snow-rimmed area. An extensive search followed for several days, but without success. Amelia Earhart participated in the search. The wreck was eventually discovered in June, 1937.

According to his Utah death certificate, below, his airplane and remains were not found until July. It is clear that the extent of his injuries was such that it is highly unlikely that he suffered. His remains were cremated. He was just 36 years old.

Samuel Joseph Samson, Utah Death Certificate, July 15, 1937 (Source: ancestry.com)

Samson flew West carrying Transport pilot certificate T1547. The 1940 Census placed the widowed Pauline and daughter Nancy living by themselves in Williams City, AZ where Pauline was employed as a grade school teacher.

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