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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, 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 here. (or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author).

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An image of a Thunderbird W-14 is available here.

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THUNDERBIRD W-14 NC5770

Registration Number NC5770

Where Did It Go?

This aircraft is a Thunderbird W-14, S/N 2811. The Thunderbird Aircraft Co., Glendale, CA manufactured it in May 1928. It was equipped with a 150 HP Hispano-Suiza engine, S/N 83363. It was a three-place airplane.

NC5770 was sold on 5/31/28 to General Aircraft Company, Los Angeles, CA, “For instruction flights”. General was the Thunderbird distributor for the state of California and operated the Thunderbird School of Aviation (“Wings of the Wind”).

We find 5770 at Tucson Thursday September 27, 1928 flown by Jay Talbot. He carried two passengers R.L. Smith and Bill Robinson. They were southbound from Los Angeles, CA to Guadalajara, Mexico. No purpose was given for the trip.

The airplane was reported sold for cash in October 1928 to R.L. Smith (our passenger during the landing in September) of Calexico, CA, however no bill of sale or transfer papers, and no application for license or registration were submitted. Official mail to Smith was returned “unknown”.

In November 1928, inspector Parkin in Los Angeles was unable to locate the airplane and was told by the D.O.C. in May 1929 to ground it if found. A 5/21/29 letter to General Aircraft Co. regarding this airplane was returned by the post office as “unclaimed” and the registration was cancelled as of 5/21. No further information. One possibility might be that Smith remained with it in Mexico, or sold it in Mexico without an export permit.

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Although it is not known if this airplane is still in existence, its sister ship, NC5830, s/n 2812, is and it has an interesting story.  It was used by Roscoe Turner to test a whole airplane parachute and he rode it to the ground.  It is now beautifully restored and flying, however it still has the bent seat tube from the parachute episode. I'm working on acquiring an image of this airplane.

UPLOADED: 6/27/05 REVISED: 12/3/08

 
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