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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.


A source for this page is the book titled, "Airports and Established Landing Fields in the United States, 1933", published by The Airport Directory Company, Hackensack, NJ. Refer to page 30 of that book.


U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Air Commerce. 1937. Descriptions of Airports and Landing Fields in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. 222 pp. This book is shared with us by Tim Kalina.


I could find no data for NC18A in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.


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This large, lighter-than-air dirigible landed at Tucson Sunday, December 13, 1931 at 8:20PM. It was surely dark that time of year, so this approach and landing must have been steeped in vigilance. Although the Airfield had flood and boundary lighting as of 1933 (references, left sidebar), I'm not sure if they were installed in 1931. Regardless, what a vision it must have been from the ground to have this huge airship descending from the east out of the cold December night.

Goodyear Airship NC18A, Date & Location Unknown (Source: The Goodyear Airships p. 25)
Goodyear Airship NC18A, Date & Location Unknown (Source: The Goodyear Airships)

The two pilots, Wadsworth and Bowie, were westbound, arriving that night from Douglas, AZ. They remained overnight in Tucson, departing the next day at 1:35PM for "L.A. via Yuma". This cross-country voyage joins at least one other as being the first coast-to-coast flight by an aircraft type. Register pilot John Miller in his autogiro NC10781 had landed at Tucson several months earlier on May 28th on his way to setting the record for the first trans-continental autogiro flight. His record stood for close to 70 years.

NC18A was a TZ type (GZ-7), built May 23, 1930. It had a volume of 86,000 cubic feet, and was one of 64 Goodyear blimps built between 1919 and 1978. NC18A was flown by two reserve military pilots, a Major Wadsworth and a Lt. Bowie. Information from the 1977 book, The Goodyear Airships, page 108, states that NC18A was, "Renamed and re-registered; chartered to Enna Jettick Shoe Co.; first commercial ship to fly cross-country (with intermediate stops and an Army Air Corps Reserve crew) to Los Angeles 1931-1932; crash-landed 3-15-32 at Clint, Tex.; remains sold to J. Lansing Collins of Hammondsport, NY, not repaired or returned to service." It flew barely 90 days after its visit with us at Tucson.


Although related to NC18A only by aircraft type, below is an excellent photograph of NC4A aloft in 1948 over the Goodyear hangar (not sure where). The registration number is clearly visible on the lower rudder. Thanks to site visitor Jackie Crabb for this very clear photograph from her grandfather's album.

Goodyear Airship NC4A, 1948, Location Unknown (Source: Crabb)


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 11/02/09 REVISED: 04/01/14

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

---o0o--- Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of 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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