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This information comes from the listings of Non-Prefixed and Non-Suffixed aircraft reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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TRAVEL AIR 2000 NC1076

TRAVEL AIR 2000 NC1076

PANCAKES, BARRELS AND REASSIGNMENTS

This airplane is a Travel Air 2000 (S/N 151; ATC #30) manufactured during September 1926 by the Travel Air Manufacturing Company, Wichita, KS.  It left the factory with a Curtiss OX-5 engine (S/N 273) of 90 HP.  It was a three-place airplane weighing 2,180 pounds.

It sold “flyaway” on September 9, 1926 to Wilford Gerbracht, Gerbracht Aeronautical Corporation, Ames, IA.  This link cites the "Gerbracht Flying Service", which is probably an entity of the Corporation. The airplane pictured at the link is not NC1076, and the description of it there is suspect, as there is no model "700" Travel Air.

We find NC1076 in Tucson twice. Ten months after it was manufactured, on Tuesday June 28, 1927, it arrived at the Airfield flown by Gerbracht carrying passenger James Hall, Jr. They were westbound from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA.

On Wednesday July 20, 1927 NC1076 arrived flown by Gerbracht carrying passenger Frank Goodale.  They were eastbound from Yuma, AZ to El Paso, TX.  Noted in the Remarks column of the Register for the two flights is "W.B. Crow Patrol Inspector", and "Chester Gracie U.S.I.S. Border Patrol."  The airplane was probably inspected at Tucson for contraband liquor (remember, this was the Prohibition era). Note the spelling of Gerbracht's name in the Register looks like "Welford".

The NASM record states, “Ship was pancaked, twisting fuselage & breaking both lower wings & L/G.  New wings, L/G, repairs in process at White’s Aircraft Co., Des Moines, Iowa.”  There is no mention in the record of who was flying, or if there were injuries. There is no date given for this event, but it was probably after July 20, 1927 when we saw the airplane in Tucson.

Needed repairs must have been extensive.  On February 1, 1928 a new registration number (NC4017) was given to the rebuilt airplane.  The record for NC1076 is continued in the record for 4017.

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The separate NASM record for NC4017 continues as follows. Almost concurrent with the new registration assignment, NC4017 sold for $2,000 to the Central Iowa Aircraft Co. in Nevada, IA on January 27, 1928. We can guess from the record that the airplane had another accident soon after transfer, as the airplane was judged "not ready for inspection" on July 11, 1929 and on January 11, 1930. As of July 1, 1931 it was, "repaired with new spars in left wings, o'hauled, recovered."

In a bureaucratic mixup, it was assigned registration number 12059 in error as of September 2, 1931. The error was corrected by September 29th. The record notes it had an OX-5 (S/N/ 2737) installed as of October 4, 1931.

On April 25, 1932 NC4017 was sold to Kenneth V. Benesh of Monticello, IA. It suffered an accident a month later on May 30th with, "damage to motor mount, upper left spar & wing, gas tank, firewall and cowling. Right upper, lower wings." There is no record of repairs for these damages, but we can infer they probably were made as the airplane sold again December 29, 1933 to Douglas Harris of Milwaukee, WI and again on December 6, 1934 to Forest L. Reed and Alfred M. Klatt of Eagle, WI.

Between 1934 and 1948, NC4017 went through five more owners and three more accidents, including one where it, "had been taxied over a barrel. Split spar and damaged a rib." Its final owner was Jack R. Bigler of Blacklick, OH who purchased it June 18, 1945.

On April 15 1946 the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) received a wire from the sheriff of Janesville, WI that NC4017 had been abandoned there since October of 1945, forced down on the farm of Harold Teubert, RD #1, Janesville, WI. On August 2, 1946 an attorney for Mr. Teubert stated he was preparing to sell the plane for damage claims agains it. Mr. Bigler phoned to say he was coming to reclaim the plane, but did not appear.

Two years went by, during which it appears the airplane was again transferred to another owner. The CAA received notice during July 1948 from "Clent Breedlove Aerial Service" (no location stated) that the plane had been permanently retired from service. No further information.

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That no grass grew under the feet of the CAA is proven by the fact that the original registration number for this Travel Air, and the one used by Gerbracht to identify it in the Register, was itself reassigned to a Ford 4-AT-9 that was manufactured on August 20, 1927, less than a month after the number was relinquished by the Travel Air.

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UPLOADED: 04/10/06 REVISED: 01/16/08, 01/18/08, 11/18/08, 02/09/09

 
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