Military Orders!

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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.


"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.


Some of this information comes from U.S. Army personnel files reviewed by me in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) facility, Laguna Niguel, CA.


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BELLANCA Y1C-27, 32-402

This airplane is a large Bellanca identified in the Register as a model Y1C-27. A photograph of a similar airplane is at provides the following information. The Y1C-27 was powered by a 550HP Pratt & Whitney R-1860 Hornet engine. It had a wingspan of 65'0"; length: 42'9". It carried a load of 3,928 pounds. Its range was 570 miles; ceiling 14,500 feet. This particular number, 32-402, was the last one delivered to the Army.

Below, a photograph of another example of a C-27 taken by your Webmaster's father at France Field, Panama, C.Z. ca. 1938. Note the large lift struts and streamlined wheel farings. Unfortunately, there is no visible identifying number. Can anyone IDENTIFY it?

Bellanca C-27, France Field, Panama C.Z., 1939 (Source: W.F. Hyatt)
Bellanca C-27, France Field, Panama C.Z., 1939 (Source: W.F. Hyatt)

Rarely do we have so accurate an accounting of the purpose of a landing by one of our aircraft at Tucson. In this case, we have the actual military travel orders that were cut on May 17, 1935 authorizing the flight of this airplane and the outcome expected. These orders identify who was to be the pilot, who were to be the passengers, the itinerary and reason(s) for the flight.

Flight Orders for Bellanca 32-402, May 17, 1935 (Source: NARA, Laguna Niguel)
Flight Orders for Bellanca 32-402, May 17, 1935 (Source: NARA, Laguna Niguel)

If we compare the orders with pilot Arthur Hanson's signature line in the Register, we can judge that Hanson had little familiarity with the men he carried. In the passenger column he spells Thurman's name correctly, but he lists Nunn as Dunn, and Campbell as Carrell. It appears this mission was just a repair mission, not some type of team-building exercise.

Regardless, we have Hanson and company arriving at Tucson Friday, May 17, 1935, the same day the orders were cut. Red Rock, AZ, mentioned in the orders as their destination, is northwest of Tucson, about halfway on a direct line between Tucson and Casa Grande. It is a small town, even today. The object of their effort was an engine change on a "Brooks Field O-43A" forced down and located at Red Rock. It is notable that the only O-43 aircraft identified in the Register anywhere near that time landed at Tucson eight months earlier, during October, 1934.

Nevertheless, we can picture Hanson's itinerary from Rockwell. They departed early on Friday eastbound via Casa Grande and Red Rock. They may have stopped at Casa Grande for fuel, then stopped at Red Rock (Google Earth today shows no visible landing area for aircraft, so they probably landed on a road or in a field) to assess their mechanical needs. Then they proceeded southeast to Tucson, arriving at 6:55PM according to their Register entry. They had endured a long, spring day of flying.

They did not indicate a departure date from Tucson, so we don't know if they shuttled back and forth with 32-402 between Tucson and Red Rock during the course of repairs, or if they based themselves in Tucson during the five days allowed for their business and drove back and forth to Red Rock. Their need to move old and new engines for the O-43 might suggest they needed to use a truck. No further information.



The Register
I'm looking for photographs of this airplane and information about pilot Hanson to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me
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