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.
Other motion picture films
on this site may be viewed here.
This rare film clip of NC126M comes to us courtesy of the
Parker Family Archives.
The cameraman was Kenneth Parker, grandfather of the visitor
to the site who offered this footage to us. The airplane was
"discovered" as original, 16mm films were transcribed
to videotape. He provides also this vignette about his grandfather.
"Kenneth Parker (b. 1895; d. 1979) was the son of George
S. Parker, the founder of the Parker Pen Company. Kenneth
dropped out of Brown University in 1917 to join the U.S.
Naval Reserves and learn how to fly. After ground school
at MIT, actual flight training took place in Miami and Pensacola.
His passion for flying [including this unique film footage]
followed him throughout his life.
"In 1928 he initiated an advertising program
for The Parker Pen Company that used a bright orange Fairchild
FC-2W2 called the Parker Duofold*; it was christened by
Amelia Earhart. In addition to a Verville Sportsman AT and
a Stinson Junior S which he personally owned, Parker Pen
owned several planes over the next 40 years, from Beech
18s to DC-3s to a Lockheed Vega Ventura, and an On-Mark/Douglas
"Kenneth Parker, who became president of the
business in 1933, designed and developed the Parker 51 fountain
pen [the one with the hooded nib; designed to commemorate
the 51st year of the Parker Pen business], which, among
many firsts, was the first fountain pen engineered for use
in airplanes. At his direction Parker Pen UK donated a Spitfire
Mark Vb to the RAF in 1941 as part of their war-time Presentation
From the Parker Pen website: "The original
Parker Duofold Pen debuted in the Roaring Twenties. "It
became an instant classic and has influenced manufacturers
and designers throughout the world to this day. It used all
the design improvements introduced since the start of the
century, the most important of which were: mechanical filling
(1904), improved "spear"
feeds (1905 and 1911), screw-on caps (1912) and the washer
clip (1916). These features were part of the existing Jack-Knife
range, but when combined with the colored pen with which
company founder, George Safford Parker, had first experimented
in 1904, the result was spectacular."
See the Museum’s ARCHIVES listings online to understand
the scope of their holdings, and the procedures for acquiring
Image of the registration record for NC126M, right, from
the archives of the National Air & Space Museum.
Two-page Parker Pen advertisement from the Saturday Evening
Post, September 7, 1929.
This link gets you a brief article on the Fairchild "Parker
FOKKER SUPER UNIVERSAL NC126M
45-SECOND VIDEO CLIP OF THE AIRCRAFT IN FLIGHT AND DURING GROUND
It is very rare when you can find a motion
picture of one of the aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan
Airfield. In this film we can see clearly how the airplane
moved in the air and how it behaved when taxied. For a brief
second, as it sits in profile and the camera pans through,
we can see that it has a "US MAIL" marking on the
vertical stabilizer, the registration number and a few other
numbers, including 218, and what looks like AM 12 and AM 33.
As it moves, we see the paint finish gleam in
the sun. We see a few bystanders keeping their distance. We
see the people involved with loading the aircraft, probably
with a bundle of mail. We see the location of the cargo door.
We see the good-humored, uniformed pilot in command. There
is a general spirit of relaxed urgency in the footage that
gives us a feeling of how it must have been to greet a Golden
Age airliner. The shiny automobile is a model A Ford. Site visitor Lt. Col. Alan Thomas says, "In the Fokker clip, the car is a model A Ford. Cannot see the body type but the headlights and engine cover are dead give-aways. I owned one in high school days. It cost me $35 dollars down and five a month til paid."
How did we come by this footage? The sharp eye
of one site visitor noted the registration number of this
airplane caught on film by his grandfather over 75 years ago.
It appeared on old family 16-mm movies which were in the process
of being transferred to videotape. He "Googled"
the registration number, and came up with this website. In
fact, as of the upload date of this page, this website is the ONLY hit you'll get if you Google
What we know about the airplane is limited so
far to the records of aircraft registrations maintained at
the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC (see the
image of typical NASM aircraft registration information at
the end of this page). It is clear that NC126M was manufactured
in September 1929 by the Fokker Aircraft Corporation of America
(S/N 865; ATC 52), based at Teterboro Airport in Hasbrouck
NC126M came from the factory with a Pratt &
Whitney Wasp engine (S/N 1391) of 410HP. It was certified
as a seven- place airplane, weighing 5,150 pounds. It sold
on October 7, 1929 to Aero Corporation of California, Inc., a brokerage
and air transport company operated by Jack
Frye. The airplane had been under contract to Aero for
this sale since July 22, 1929.
Now the Market Crash of October 1929 occurred,
and Aero sold the airplane to Mid Continent Air Express, Inc.
of Los Angeles a few months later on April 20, 1930. Mid Continent
flew it for two years. It sold again on April 16, 1932 to Western
Air Express, Inc. of United Airport, Burbank, CA. Western
Air Express operated it for another two years. There were
no monetary values given for these sales. Likewise, although
it is common among the NASM documentation of many other aircraft,
there is no record that NC126M ever suffered any accidents,
or underwent engine changes or repairs.
So when was this footage taken by Mr. Parker?
If you look closely at the film, you'll notice NC126M was
in the distinctive Western Air Express livery when it was
filmed by Mr. Parker. Therefore, he probably filmed it sometime
during the two-year period between April 16, 1932 when Western Air bought it, and June
25, 1934 when it was again sold to a private owner, G.J. Atwater
of Phoenix, AZ.
All totaled, NC126M led a fairly "clean"
life for a transport aircraft of the era. It had only four
owners, and there were no recorded accidents or repairs (although
it probably did have some; they just weren't recorded). There
is no record of total flight hours.
The airplane was about six-years old when it
landed at Tucson on March 9, 1935. It was piloted to the Davis-Monthan
Airfield by C.E. Powell. He carried two passengers, identified
simply as Middleton and Williams. Based in Los Angeles, they
arrived at Tucson from Phoenix and their destination was El
Paso, TX. Soon the airplane would be in Mexico, never to be
seen again in the U.S.
According to the records from the National Air
and Space Museum (paperwork for NC126M, below), on June 18, 1935
the owner advised the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Authority (precursor
of the FAA) that the airplane was sent to Mexico to be used
on an airline based at Chihuahua. The owner requested cancellation
of its U.S. license so that a Mexican license could be issued.
That's all that is known about the final disposition of this
beautiful, workhorse airplane.
One last note. According to the film archivist
at the National Air & Space Museum, this film is a rare
animal indeed. Although there are, in the National Archives
and other databases that we checked, references to moving
pictures of Fokker Universals and Super Universals, you can
count their numbers on one hand. Most examples are news films;
none are of the "amateur photography" type.
You better go back up to the top of this page
and enjoy the film clip again; you are seeing one of the very
few examples in the world of this aircraft type in action,
and perhaps the only one filmed on 16mm by an amateur photographer.
Another last note. Below is an image from the
San Diego Aerospace Museum (reference in left sidebar). Although
the date ot this image is unknown, it is probably between
1932 and 1935 while it was flying for Western Air Express.
Note the WAE livery.
And another last note. The images below are
from the Saturday Evening Post of September 7, 1929. They
depict a double-wide magazine advertisement for Parker Duofold
Pens. Note the aviation connection featuring Michigan's "Lady
Lindy" Bertha Flo standing in front of an Arrow Sport. This advertising could be the influence
of Kenneth Parker, who, in 1928, developed an advertising
program for the company that was based on aviation.
The facing page, below, features a fountain pen as a productivity
tool, saving motion and time by not having to dip!
Interestingly, the month this magazine ad appeared
is the same month that NC126M was manufactured (September
As happens sometimes, I get special chances to meet with the people who contact me through dmairfield.org. One occasion was August 10, 2009 when I met Geoff Parker who contributed the great film footage of NC126M. Below, your Webmaster (L) with Geoff. I hold a vintage Parker Duofold fountain pen from Geoff's collection (like the orange one in the advertisement above).
Your Webmaster (L) With Geoffrey Parker, August 10, 2010 (Source: Webmaster)
NC126M also landed once and is recorded in the Peterson Field Register. It was flown by Hadley F. Hershey.
There appears to be no evidence of passengers being carried. Briefly
during taxi you can see clear through the windows and out the other
side of the airplane. No heads are visible in the windows. No people
were getting out of the airplane to stretch their legs and be on
their way. Likewise, upon departure it didn't take very long to
get airborne once the tail lifted off, indicating a light load.
The taxiway and ramp were "unimproved", showing clumps
of grass and stones.
The visit must have been a fast turnaround, since the propeller
continued to turn while what looked like some documents or mail
were loaded on board.
And what about those staff ID badges, security checkpoints, drug-sniffing dogs, metal
detectors and chain link fences?