Registration Number NC6020
“On to Los Angeles”
This aircraft is a Travel Air 2000, S/N 543 (ATC #30), manufactured
May 29, 1928 by Travel Air Manufacturing Co., Wichita, KS. It had
a Curtiss 90 HP OX-5 engine, S/N 7018. It weighed 2,180 pounds.
It was purchased for $3,082 on May, 1929 by H.C. Lippiatt of Hollywood,
CA, a dealer in Travel Air planes for southern California.
We first see NC6020 at Tucson Monday, June 4, 1928, flown by Mr. Lippiatt.
He was enroute to Los Angeles, CA from Wichita, undoubtedly ferrying
the airplane from the factory. He sold the airplane to California
Airways, Inc. of Los Angeles on June 8, 1928 for $3,410. He made
$328 on the deal, which included his ferry time, fuel, overhead
and paperwork: an acceptable profit margin, probably, for
better than a week’s work in 1928.
We next see NC6020 at Tucson Sunday, September 9, 1928, flown by George
W. Brill. Pilot Brill and the Travel Air were competitors in
the 1928 National Air Races, “On to Los Angeles.” They took 23rd place, finishing the New York to Los Angeles
route in 44:44:06. Below, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr Stream (SDAM), is a profile of NC6020. The writing on the cowl states that it is powered by a Tank V-8 engine. This could be one of the three different engines installed in the airplane as indicated below from the NASM record.
Travel Air 2000, NC6020, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)
Five months later, the airplane suffered an accident at San
Gabriel, CA (forced landing due to overheated engine; insufficient
landing field). Pilot Robert S. LeRoy (transport license #1005)
was uninjured. The airplane had damage to lower wings, landing gear
The airplane then sold nine more times through 1933. It was
re-engined three times, and minor repairs and re-covering
were recorded three times. Finally, it had an accident at
Norwalk, CA on February 24, 1935. News photo below is watermarked for eBay and brought to my attention by site visitor J.R. It shows the damage sustained in this final (fatal) accident (see below).
Travel Air NC6020, March 7, 1935, Norwalk, CA (Source: eBay)
Below, the caption on the back of the photograph. Pilot Robert E. Buxton was seriously injured and probably died, and passenger Peter Wibalda was killed in this low-altitude stall-spin accident. From the looks of things, there was no post-crash fire, suggesting fuel starvation. With the engine out, the pilot then failed to maintain best glide speed, stalled and crashed.
Travel Air NC6020, March 7, 1935, Norwalk, CA, Caption (Source: eBay)
According to the NASM record, the left upper wing (not visible in the photo above, but probably the least damaged portion of the wings) from NC6020
was installed on NC1592 (S/N 196), which also landed twice
at Tucson. I have no information on NC1592. Can anyone HELP? Registration NC6020 was cancelled as of February 24, 1935.
UPLOADED: 07/09/05 REVISED: 09/11/11, 12/10/12, 12/07/14, 01/17/15