NORTHROP ALPHA 2 NC11Y
HANGS OUT (LITERALLY) AT THE AIR & SPACE
This airplane is a Northrop Alpha 2 (S/N 3; ATC# 381) manufactured
during November 1930 by Northrop Aircraft Corporation, United
CA. It left the factory with a Pratt & Whitney
Wasp C engine (S/N 3162) of 420 HP. It was a three-place
airplane, painted black and orange. It is one of two
Northrop Alphas that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield
during the period of the Register. The other is NC933Y.
Initially, our Alpha was sold to the U.S. Department of
Commerce and was registered as NS-1. It was tested
for Northrop by test-pilot Edward T. Allen and flown by Asst.
Sec. of Commerce Clarence M. Young.
On April 16, 1931, the DOC sold the airplane to the Ford
Motor Company, Dearborn, MI. Ford sold it immediately
to National Air Transport, Chicago, IL. It was registered
as NC11Y and flown briefly by N.A.T. in five-place configuration.
NC11Y descended into Tucson on June 2, 1931 at 5:10PM. It
was flown by Gage Irving carrying one unidentified passenger. They
were eastbound from Burbank, CA to Kansas City, MO. Neither
the Register, nor the NASM record, suggests the purpose of
the flight. We can assume it was a N.A.T. charter,
or perhaps a post-maintenance flight from the factory.
Northrop Alpha NR11Y, Date & Location Unknown
Image, above, from Tim Kalina. Regarding the "NR" registration, upon further research at the Smithsonian, I discovered the airplane never was officially registered "NR". While the photo clearly shows the rudder painted so, it apparently was illegal. Note the “trousered” landing
On November 27,
1931 it was sold to Transcontinental & Western
Air, Inc., New York, NY. It was painted with “T.W.A.
#12” and flown on T.W.A. mail routes from 1931 to 1935. Charles
Lindbergh flew it on T.W.A. business on February 21,
1933. Key players in T.W.A. were Davis-Monthan pilots Jack
Frye and Paul
NC11Y then passed almost annually, over the next fourteen
years, through ten owners as follows. Transcontinental & Western
Air, Inc. (a new company) on December 27, 1934. Please follow
this link for
an image of the airplane in TWA livery. And follow this link for another image in TWA livery taken in 1933 with Charles
Lindbergh as pilot. Frederick B. Lee, NY, on April 26, 1935 (Lee
purchased floats and was planning a long-distance flight. He
did not make the flight. See the PDF download available in
the left sidebar).
Harry V. Spaulding, NY, on 9/12/37 (as a single-place airplane). Richard
E. Conley, Ridgefield, CT, 1/20/38. Murray B. Dilley,
Jr., Kansas City, MO, 12/20/40. Dilley Aircraft Company,
Kansas City, 6/20/41. Victory Aircraft School, Kansas
City, 2/23/42. United Aircraft Training, Wichita, KS,
5/16/42. Harold V. Leslie, Detroit, MI, 6/12/45. Stephen
Tuttle, Dearborn, MI, 9/10/45. Foster Hannaford, Jr.,
Winnetka, IL, 9/18/45. An image of NC11Y in 1940 is on this
site and can be found here.
An interesting biographical aside regarding owner Hannaford appears on a Web page that describes homes in St. Paul, MN. One of the homes, at 875 West Osceola Avenue, was owned by Foster Hannaford. Using Google Earth, you can see this home today, still with its detached garage. The description of the home and Hannaford's ownership and aviation interests are quoted below.
"875 West Osceola Avenue: Built in 1907. The structure is a two story, 2643 square foot, ten room, four bedroom, two bathroom, two half-bathroom, frame house, with a detached garage. The 1918 city directory indicates that Mr. and Mrs. Foster Hannaford resided at this address. The 1930 city directory indicates that Adam J. Holmes resided at this address.
"Foster Hannaford (1888-1981) was the son of Jule Murat Hannaford and was a 1908 graduate of the Yale University Sheffield School. Alice Steel Ide Hannaford (1888-1975,) the daughter of Mrs. Charles Ide, who was a sculptress who exhibited at the National Academy and who made her debut in 1908, was the wife of Foster Hannaford.
"Foster Hannaford was interested in airplanes. In 1935, a Northrop Alpha, piloted by R. S. LeRoy, had an accident near St. Clairsville, Ohio. The aircraft was salvaged and the remains were sold in 1938 to Foster Hannaford, Jr., of Minneapolis, who planned to rebuild the aircraft and retained the registration as late as 1948. In 1945, Hannaford also purchased an intact Northrop Alpha NC11Y that had been flown by Charles Lindbergh and he stored both airframes in a barn. In 1971, the aircraft were acquired by the Experimental Aircraft Association, TWA Technical Services Center, Kansas City, Missouri, restored NC11Y, and it was on display at the National Air and Space Museum in 2003.
"An aircraft manufactured under license to Jack Rose in 1947 by Blackhawk Aircraft Company was registered, but did not complete the certification process and was sold to Foster Hannaford, along with four incomplete airframes in 1948. Foster Hannaford had a license from Jack Rose to manufacture and sell five Hannaford Rose A-4 Parrakeets per year. In 1950, the Hannaford Aircraft Company completed and sold it's first Hannaford A-4 as an experimental airplane.
"Sometime between 1948 and the early 1950's, Rose came to believe that Hannaford had violated their agreement and filed an injunction against Hannaford Aircraft, which was settled out of court. By 1955, plans marketed as Hannaford Bee Model D-1, but in fact copies of the Rose Parrakeet plans were sold for $85 by Hannaford Aircraft Company.
"Foster Hannaford also collected Medieval manuscripts. In 2002, Ogden Hannaford and other heirs of Foster Hannaford of Winnetka, Illinois, gave to the Oberlin College Library a complete medieval manuscript in original bindings, a 15th century missal of German origin that contains a full set of liturgical calendars and extensive hand coloring.
"There is a Foster Hannaford Recognition Award for distinguished service at the North Shore Country Day School of Winnetka, Illinois. Alice Ide Hannaford was a correspondent with Booker T. Washington. R. Ogden Hannaford was a son of and Priscilla Hannaford Greeley, Taylor Hannaford Churchill, and Charlotte Hannaford Drake were daughters of Foster Hannaford and Alice Ide Hannaford. Mary Eva Gay Hannaford (1916-1999,) the daughter of Edward Elias Gay and Etta Deen Wright Gay, was born in Springdale, Arkansas, was the wife of Foster Hannaford, Jr., and died in Kankakee, Illinois. The last sale of this property was in 1993 and the sale price was $276,000. The current owners of record of the property are ...."
To continue, NC11Y remained with Hannaford until 1971, when it was acquired
by the Experimental Aircraft Association, Hales Corners,
WI. In 1975 it was completely rebuilt and refinished
in TWA livery by the TWA Technical Services Center, Kansas
It was presented to the National Air & Space Museum
(NASM) and hung in the Hall of Flight in 1976. It is there
today, and you can see images of NC11Y here. An article describing the restoration at NASM is at the link.
UPLOADED: 06/25/06 REVISED: 11/06/07, 01/27/09