The Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register

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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.


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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LOCKHEED VEGA Model 5 Executive NC395H

LOCKHEED VEGA Model 5 Executive NC395H


This airplane is a Lockheed Vega Model 5 Executive (S/N 88; ATC #93) manufactured during August, 1929 by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, CA.  It left the factory with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp B engine (S/N 1815) of 450 HP.  It was a five-place airplane.

We find NC395H landing at Tucson three times (8/11/29, 8/25/1929, 8/31/29).  Each time it was piloted by Ernest L. Benway.  Benway was the executive pilot for August Belmont Company, New York, NY. 

On August 11th Benway was solo and did not cite his origin or destination.  On the 25th he carried a single unidentified passenger.  They were westbound from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA.  On the 31st he carried two unidentified passengers eastbound from Los Angeles to El Paso.

On November 30, 1929 NC395H was sold to the August Belmont Company.  Interestingly, it was loaned by Belmont before he owned it to Col. & Mrs. Charles A. Lindbergh for a trip to Miami in 1929. Below is a news photo of NC395H at the time it was used by Lindbergh. And, at the link is a news motion picture of Lindbergh, Mrs. Lindbergh and NC395H (about three minutes long) taken the same day as the still. In the movie, various photographers (note the motion picture photographer uses a hand-crank!) cluster in the foreground while the Lindberghs pose. Charles Lindbergh even manages to smile for about a second. Compare the surroundings in the film with the image below. The airplane main wheels rest on a concrete strip and the puddles are visible in both. It is clear the airplane is in the same position. Image and video link courtesy of Tim Kalina.

Lockheed Vega NC395H, September 18, 1929
Lockheed Vega NC395H, September 18, 1929

On April 19, 1930 the airplane was sold to the Detroit Aircraft Corporation, Detroit, MI.  Two months later, on June 14th, they sold it to Corporacion Aeronautica De Transportes (CAT), S.A., Torreon, Mexico.  It was painted red with ivory trim in Mexico and its U.S. registration was cancelled. A Mexican license was applied for on 9/18/30, but no record exists of its issuance.  It was known to be registered as XA-BHM in Mexico.

The airplane was listed in mortgage proceedings against CAT on February 20, 1932.  That was the last record.  Mexican license XA-BHM was cancelled February 19, 1933.


UPLOADED: 06/02/06 REVISED: 08/29/08, 10/18/11, 09/01/15

The Register
I'm looking for other photographs of this airplane to include on this page. If you have one or more 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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