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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. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.

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http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.

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THE ELMER C. McLEOD PHOTOGRAPH

AND DOCUMENT COLLECTION

PHOTOGRAPHS SECTION

E.C. McLeod, 1930
E.C. McLeod, 1930

 

The Collection contains 22 photographs, mostly 8" x 10" glossies, that depict mostly various activities while McLeod worked for the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. Some have identification on the back; most do not, so dates and people are mostly unidentified. If you can help identify any aspects of these photographs, please let me KNOW.

Although the photographs are in excellent condition, some are not overly sharp, making it difficult to see details under magnification. I have cited which photos I was able to determine additional information under magnification.

 

 

 

Below, an aerial photograph of the Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT) before its remodeling and rededication in 1929. Why the photo was among McLeod's belongings is a unknown, although his pilot log books cite many landings at the facility. Note the Los Angeles River at lower right. The terminal building at center left does not yet have the control tower constructed. The dome-shaped buildings, center right, are the hangars of the Slate Dirigible Company. Under magnification, a grandstand is visible just to the right of the terminal building. As well, G-L-E-N-D-A-L-E can be made out painted on the top of the left-most domed hangar. The caption at lower right is the identification of the aerial photography company, based at GCAT, that took the photograph.

Grand Central Air Terminal Before the 1929 Upgrades
Grand Central Air Terminal Before the 1929 Upgrades

Near bottom center of this photograph is a fence row with GRIFFITH PARK MANOR lettered on it. According to a couple of Web sources, this was to be a housing development; an air terminal subdivision, which would date this photograph before 1928.

John Underwood says of this photo, "The tower is under construction at the end of the main terminal building, probably not visible in this picture. It was not completed and in operation until about mid '29.    And, yes, the grandstand was set up just for the dedication which was a major event for Los Angeles and drew a large number of celebrities and airplanes."

And, with a small clue to his social life, John says, "Elmer (Mac) Mc Leod was a poker-playing friend of my Aunt Tina and Uncle Alfred...."

Below, another photograph by the same aerial photography company of a coastal scene. The streets are laid out in a real estate development area that is not yet built out. Under magnification, there are a few very large homes visible. If it was taken near the same date as the photo above, it's probably pre-1929 or so. Since he was in southern California near this time, McLeod may have flown the aircraft from which the photograph was taken.

Coastal Scene, Date & Location Unknown
Coastal Scene, Date & Location Unknown

A site visitor identifies the location of the photo as, "... Bird Rock and La Jolla, CA.  The mountain on the right is the foot of Mount Soledad.  This is where Charles Lindbergh set a regional soaring record in 1930 flying a Bowlus sailplane.  Also this is where Anne Morrow Lindbergh became the first woman in the U.S. to receive a 'first class' glider license.  The coast in the upper right is Torrey Pines; site of the famous glider port.  This location also is about six miles west of Miramar Naval Air Station. When Miramar was still an abandoned Camp Kearney Airport, Lindbergh practiced take-offs and landings prior to his trans-Atlantic flight.  Also within a few miles is Montgomery Field airport, originally Gibbs Field which the City of San Diego purchased from William Gibbs in 1947."

Below, a Google Earth view of the Bird Rock (visible just off the lower point of land) vicinity from a slightly greater altitude. If you go to this location with Google Earth and look around you'll note that the street patterns have remained the same as in the photo above.

Google Earth View of the Area Above, 2011
Google Earth View of the Area Above, 2011

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Below, dated 1939, is a series of photographs showing a Lockheed Electra being loaded on shipboard. The handwritten caption on the back of the photos reads, "To England." The registration number is not visible on any of the shots. These are uniformly small images, as indicated by the scale (inches) at the left. John Underwood says about the airplane, "Possibly one of Sid Cotton's high-flying  L-12 spy planes.   That's definitely a Lockheed 12, unofficially known as Electra Jr." See Cotton's link for what might be another photograph of this airplane.

Lockheed Electra Being Loaded on Shipboard For England, Ca. 1939
Lockheed Electra Being Loaded on Shipboard For England, Ca. 1939

Below, other small photographs depicting McLeod during Lockheed duties. His trip to South Africa in May, 1940 is documented in the second photo, and in his Pilot Log Book #5. In the bottom photo, McLeod is at left with his back against the planning board. The stamped disclaimer on the back of this photograph was commonly applied by Lockheed during WWII. Can anyone IDENTIFY the other pilots?

Miscellaneous Photographs, 1939-40
Miscellaneous Photographs, 1939-40

Below, taken in the late 1930s, shows McLeod standing in front of what the eBay notation says is "a mock-up of a Lockeed 10 Electra." According to the Collection donor, the mockup was for a film that was being shot in the late 1930s.  According to John Underwood, "Phantom of the Sky:  "...  that's no L 10 mockup.    It's the real thing!"

"Phantom of the Sky," Lockheed 10, Ca. Late 1930s
"Phantom of the Sky," Lockheed 10, Ca. Late 1930s

A site visitor states, "This machine was delivered on September 9, 1935 and sold later in 1936 to Spain. On January 5, 1937 it was captured aboard S.S. Mar Cantabrico by Spanish Nationalists and was flown later as the personal plane of General Kindelán until 1950s (with the registration 42-2). This should limit the date of your McLeod photo to between 9/1936 to 11/1936."

Below, McLeod stands at left discussing paperwork with another individual. The logo on the nose of this airplane is for Trans-Canada Airlines. Since TCA was created in 1937, this photograph post-dates that. "Around 1940" is penciled on the back of the photo. The airline's name was changed to Air Canada in 1965. Note McLeod's parachute.

Testing Trans-Canada Airlines Lockheed
Testing Trans-Canada Airlines Lockheed

Below, another scene of what appears to be an imminent test. McLeod is on the right holding the very thick testflight logbook; person on the left is unidentified on the photograph. A couple of site visitors suggested the person on the left is, "a young Kelly Johnson." Other profiles of Johnson in other photos confirm that it is. Penciled on the back is, "young E.C. McLeod."

Elmer C. McLeod (R), Date, Location Unknown. Other Person is Kelly Johnson
Elmer C. McLeod (R), Date, Location & Other Person Unidentified

A site visitor states the airplane is , ... probably one of the early British Airways' machines (G-AEPN or AEPO). These were clearly discernible because of being delivered with only one (right) landing light instead of two in the nose.

Below, a ramp scene with two unidentified men walking toward the silouhette of an airplane. Other than the Lockheed stamp cited above, there is nothing written on the back of this photograph. John Underwood states, "Lockheed ramp scene looks more like the aviation country club on the SW corner of GCAT.    Definitely, doesn't look like anything I remember at BUR [Burbank, the location of the Lockheed factory]."

Lockheed Ramp Scene, Post-1940
Lockheed Ramp Scene, Post-1940

Below, three views of what the Collection donor identifies as a, "... Lockheed 10 crashed in the Mojave Desert, and the 3 photos show the dismantling of what could be salvaged and then burning it." Date and exact location unknown.

Lockheed 10 Crashed in Mojave Desert
Lockheed 10 Crashed in Mojave Desert

The port engine was either salvaged or torn off and lying elsewhere. It appears that the oil tank leaked onto the ground. John Underwood says of this series, "This is no ordinary L 10 Electra.   Wish I could read an N-number.    My hunch is that it was a special -- very special -- with pressurized cabin.     I've never seen a windshield like it.    My guess is that a prop blade separated and the resulting shaking took the engine out, which would have been a hairy affair."

But a site visitor states, "... this is NO SPECIAL "high-altitude job" as John Underwood assumes in his note. It is a standard Electra. The one and only Electra with pressurized cabin for high-altitude flights produced was XC-35 for the USAAC which does look differently and is well preserved at the Smithonian - look at their web for photos. Surely mysterious is the end (burning up the wreckage to hide it from newspaper headlines for illegal use of AA livery???) and that today there is no trace of such accident in accessible records - the only one known crash of a Lockheed plane in the Mojave desert is the Northwest L-14 Super Electra." So goes opinion.

Lockheed 10 Crashed in Mojave Desert
Lockheed 10 Crashed in Mojave Desert

Nothing is written or stamped on the backs of these three photographs. One site visitor states, "... this one is mysterious only through the dark paint livery - seems to me as the old American Airlines dark blue livery with orange cheat lines - probably a masquerade for some Holywood movie, as from the complete production list of 149 Electras none was delivered painted in dark colors (except to one c/n 1052 R2O-1 for U.S. Navy with Admiral Blue fuselage only), all were natural metal or silver dope. Another mystery is the lack of any registration - this could be maybe the one and only unaccounted c/n 1114, which was manufactured on Oct 12, 1937, but was never registered in the U.S. or abroad. I have previously always deduced, that this one airframe was produced as a spare set only to replace the heavily damaged Czechoslovak machine OK-CTA (c/n 1068), which did crash in Riis Park, Chicago, IL on Apr 4, 1937 and was subsequently generally overhauled by Lockheed before being re-delivered (as c/n 1068 OK-CTA again) to Czechoslovakia by sea in November 1937. Its owner was the Bata Shoe Company of Zlin, Czechoslovakia and it flew with Mr. Jan A. Baťa around the World (with the Pacific and Atlantic passages by ship)."

Lockheed 10 Crashed in Mojave Desert
Lockheed 10 Crashed in Mojave Desert

Below, McLeod, right, confers with Register pilot Lester J. Holoubek, then Chief Pilot at Lockheed-Vega Division. Upon magnification, McLeod's badge reads "Assistant Chief Pilot." He would later become Chief Pilot and wear the badge shown at the link. The back of the photo displays the disclaimer stamp as well as penciled identifications of Holoubek and McLeod. This photo is signed with a fountain pen, "To Mac -- With sincere best wishes. Holly."

Lester J. Holoubek (L) and Elmer C. McLeod, Date Unknown
Lester J. Holoubek (L) and Elmer C. McLeod, Date Unknown

Below, McLeod performing administrative duty by dictation. His badge identifies him as "Assistant Chief Pilot," as above. Annotated in pencil on the back is, "approx. 1942." The Lockheed stamp is also affixed. Today, most people can do this kind of dictating with their smart phone.

E.C. McLeod Dictating, Ca. 1942
E.C. McLeod Dictating, Ca. 1942

Below, McLeod, left, exercises while connected to an oxygen tank. The back of the photo is penciled, "approx. 1942" and the other person is identified as "Maddern." The spelling should be "Mattern," since this is Register pilot Jimmie Mattern.

McLeod (L) and Jimmie Mattern, Ca. 1942
McLeod (L) and Maddern, Ca. 1942

Site contributor Mike Gerow offers the following interpretation of the photograph above, "By way of what McLeod and Mattern are doing in that photo, they are denitrogenating or "supercharging" themselves prior to a stratospheric test flight in the P-38. There is really no other explanation for that image. According to a lengthy article in the March 1941 issue of Western Flying ('Supercharged Pilot' by Marc Hanlon, PDF 398kB), Lockheed test pilots would breathe pure oxygen for 30 mins while exercising in order to leach all of the nitrogen out of their systems. This process eliminated the threat of aeroembolism or 'aeronautical bends.'"

Below, McLeod (L) with Mattern again. The venue looks like a hypobaric chamber and this photo is probably a follow-on to the one above (both men wear the same clothes).

E.C. McLeod (L) In Lockheed Hypobaric Chamber, Ca. 1942
E.C. McLeod (L) In Lockheed Hypobaric Chamber, Ca. 1942

Although these pilots probably did this exercise long ago, novices to high altitude enter the hypobaric chamber and are exposed to high-altitude atmospheric conditions of low pressure and low oxygen to learn about the effects of oxygen starvation. Pilots learn by performing simple tasks, e.g. sums or writing their name under both high oxygen (with the mask on) and low oxygen (mask off).

The general hypoxic mental state is one of euphoria and just not caring. From personal experience, your Webmaster knows how inaccurate simple arithmetic summations become, and about the uncontrollable scrawl of handwriting when hypoxic (my signature was unreadable, and I didn't care). Color vision is also compromised under hypoxia. It's a real lesson to view your world in shades of grey with the mask off, then to have everything snap back to technicolor in just a few breaths when the mask is put back on. Penciled on the back of the photograph is, "approx. 1942."

Below, a scene in an airplane photographed ca. 1950. McLeod is at left and at right is Eugene W. Biscailuz (pronounced "Biss-ka-lose"). Can anyone IDENTIFY the airplane? I am suspicious of the date, because that would make McLeod 48 years old and he looks older.

Elmer C. McLeod (L) and Eugene W. Biscailuz, Ca. 1950
Elmer C. McLeod (L) and Eugene W. Biscailuz, Ca. 1950

Below, the caption glued to the back of the photograph above. The writer of the caption, who speaks to us in the first person in the last paragraph, is unknown.

Caption, Elmer C. McLeod (L) and Eugene W. Biscailuz, Ca. 1950
Caption, Elmer C. McLeod (L) and Eugene W. Biscailuz, Ca. 1950

Below, the Sheriff's Aero Squadron photographed October 28, 1961. I don't have any information on how McLeod might have been associated with this organization.

Sheriff's Aero Squadron, October 28, 1961
Sheriff's Aero Squadron, October 28, 1961

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Besides these photographs, we are fortunate to have other raw materials from across twenty years of pilot McLeod's life in aviation. As sometimes happens, the items in this Collection were at auction on eBay during February, 2011. Friend of dmairfield.org, Tim Kalina, bid, won and donated all the items to Delta Mike Airfield, Inc. We owe Tim great thanks for sharing these artifacts with us. To review these other items, please direct your browser to the index for the Elmer C. McLeod Photograph and Document Collection.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 05/07/11 REVISED: 06/28/11, 01/06/16

 
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I'm looking for photographs and information about Register pilot Elmer C. McLeod and Ryan B-5 NC132W to include on this page. If you have any you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

OTHER BOOKS FOR YOU

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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.

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.  Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-1-8.

Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. What was it like to fly from Oakland to Honolulu in a single-engine plane during August 1927? Was the 25,000 dollar prize worth it? Did the resulting fame balance the risk? For the first time ever, this book presents the pilot and navigator's stories written by them within days of their record-setting adventure. Pilot Art Goebel and navigator William V. Davis, Jr. take us with them on the Woolaroc, their orange and blue Travel Air monoplane (NX869) as they enter the hazardous world of Golden Age trans-oceanic air racing. ISBN 978-0-9843074-3-2.

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