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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.

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http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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The top image comes to us courtesy of the Klein Archive of Aviation Photographs available for view on this website.

 
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CESSNA AW NC7107

AN AIR RACE WINNER FLOWN BY ITS MAKER

Cessna NC7107 is an airplane of interest to us for a couple of reasons. It was a frequent visitor to the Airfield, landing five times between 1928 and 1931. When it landed at Tucson the first time on September 9, 1928 it was flown by Earl Rowland, who was a competitor in the 1928 National Air Races. Tucson was an interim checkpoint for the race that year. Rowland ultimately was the first-place trophy winner with an elapsed time of 22:00:31. There is another image of NC7107 at the link with the nose cowl installed, and with a different race number and paint job.

Please note, there appear to be some discrepancies among sources regarding the identification of this airplane. Follow along to see what I mean. The annotation on the original image below says, "Cessna BW 'Red Wing', Wright R-790  220 HP, C7107, Casper P. Mayer’s, Bettis Field 1928". Bettis Field was in Pittsburgh, PA.

Cessna NC7107, 1928 (Source: Klein)
Cessna NC7107, 1928 (Source: Klein)

There is probably a typo on the original photo, shown here, because, according to aerofiles.com, the airplane shown, NC7107, is a model Cessna AW, 140. Likewise, the Rodengen source cited at the Air Races link, above, identifies NC7107 as a model AW with race number 30 (so identified when it was raced by Eldon Cessna in 1934). The race number 99 was worn, as above, in the 1928 transcontinental derby as won by Earl Rowland.

Also, according to Rodengen, it was another airplane, Cessna NC5035, that had “My Name is Red Wings” written under the cockpit window. That airplane, pictured at the Air Races link, wore race number 96, and had "MAYER" writ large upon the fuselage. According to Rodengen, NC5035 is, indeed, a model BW.

So, either the annotation on this image is in error, or two reliable and researched sources are in error. It's fairly clear that the photographer or documentor of this image has confused NC7107 with NC5035. Below is an action photo of 7107 courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum (SDAM).

Cessna AW NC7107, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)
Cessna AW NC7107, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)

Regardless of the possible discrepancy, NC7107 was flown to Tucson by Rowland again on September 18, 1928, probably returning east after the Races. The next two visits to Tucson on July 15 and 19, 1929 were east-west and west-east transits. Both were flown by pilot Stanley T. Stanton carrying a Major Wehele and his son. No purpose was given for these flights. The final landing was on August 19, 1931. The pilot was Eldon Cessna carrying passenger Roscoe Vaughan. Eldon wrote "OK" in the Remarks column of the Register. In 1929 the airplane was flown to Alaska. Thanks to site visitor C. Hollibone for calling my attention to the following photographs. The link takes you to Ms. Hollibone's fine art Web site.

Below, from Alaska's Digital Archives (ADA), is a photograph of 7107 on skis. The location is Fairbanks and the date provided at ADA is sometime between 1929-1935. These photographs are probably scenes from a U.S. to Siberia flight made by a pilot named Parker Cramer (not a Register signer).

Cessna NC7107, Fairbanks, AK, Ca. 1929-35 (Source: ADA)

The person near the propeller appears to be removing or preparing to install a canvas engine cover. Below, from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks photo jukebox, NC7107 stands in front of a hangar at Fairbanks ca. 1929. NC7107 can just be read under the port wing. The gathered crowd may have been there to view the Cessna during its U.S. to Siberia flight.

Cessna NC7107, Fairbanks, AK, Ca. 1929 (Source: UAF)
Cessna NC7107, Fairbanks, AK, Ca. 1929 (Source: UAF)

The quote below from the link, describes the transport company.

"James S. 'Jimmy' Rodebaugh, born ca. 1887 in Ohio, brought his wife Johanna 'Hannah' Rodebaugh to Alaska where he worked as a conductor for the Alaska Railroad. Rodebaugh saw the potential of commercial aviation in Alaska and, in 1924, established the Alaska Aerial Transportation Company. When Rodebaugh's company merged with the Farthest-North Airplane Company to become the Fairbanks Airplane Corporation Company in 1925-1925, he left the company with pilot A.A. Bennett to form the Bennett-Rodebaugh Company in 1926. This company was eventually taken over by Alaskan Airways in 1929."

Parker Cramer was an Early Bird originally from Pennsylvania. He specialized in Arctic flying pre-WWI and in the 1920s. Below, another photograph of NC7107 at Fairbanks, 1929, from UAF. The two women are unidentified. I am unable to read the text in the heart-shaped logo on the rear fuselage. If anyone knows what it represented, please let me KNOW.

Cessna NC7107, Fairbanks, AK, Ca. 1929 (Source: UAF)
Cessna NC7107, Fairbanks, AK, Ca. 1929 (Source: UAF)

Visitor Hollibone points out this quote from a French Web site that describes Parker Cramer's flight with NC7107 from Wichita, KS to Siberia and return. Translation courtesy of Google Translate by your Webmaster. Most of it is understandable, save for the last sentence. If you can provide a better translation from the text at the link, please let me KNOW.

Late April or early May 1929 Parker Cramer embarks on the road to the east by taking a flight in stages beginning in Wichita (Kansas) over Detroit (Michigan), Nome (Alaska), and crossed the Bering Strait via Cape Prince of Wales, he flies over the Diomede Islands to reach the Eastern Cape (Cape Dezhnev) in Siberia. It makes the return trip to Nome and moves on in stages to New York."

"He chose for his flight a Cessna Model AW 140 This aircraft entered service in 1928, was used until 1931 [in] several races where they [achieved] very good results. It has the registration number NC7107. Cramer made ​​this civilian flight [to Russia] with some ease. Remember that the American and Russian coasts as four separate its twenty kilometers paving the way for Europe and Asia to the east, but the Soviet system is not accommodating to provide rights over it [sic]."

I am not sure by what route the airplane got back to the lower 48, but it surely did, as noted below.

In July, 1929, NC7107 was a poster child for a Curtiss-Wright Flying Service advertisement in Aeronautics magazine, below. The ad features the flight by Cramer, and it also claims that Cessna airplanes flew three trips from Wichita, KS to New York City for an average cost of $25 for gas and oil for each trip. If you're a pilot, you're thinking those were the days.

Advertisement, Aeronautics Magazine, July, 1929 (Source: Web)
Advertisement, Aeronautics Magazine, July, 1929 (Source: Web)

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Site visitor Russ Plehinger (please see his book cited in REFERENCES) provides the following: "Further data on Cessna 7107: raced in 1931 by Eldon Cessna as race #5, raced in 1932 by Eldon Cessna as race #18, raced in 1933 by Eldon Cessna as race #30, raced in 1934 by Paul W. Clough as #37, raced in 1935 by Fred Wallingford as # ?." Clearly this was a well-used airplane with some reputation among the Cessna Company and others. Below, from the SDAM, a photograph of 7107 with race #30 as flown by Eldon Cessna in 1933. Note the wheel pants and engine cowling installed. Site visitor Tim Kalina notes, "... we have another D-M plane in the background. To the very right in this photo you'll see our old friend Sirius NC16W in 'Texaco 16' markings.

Cessna AW NC7107, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)
Cessna AW NC7107, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)

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Site visitor John Underwood says, "This airplane had a long racing career, beginning with the '28 NAR at Los Angeles, which was where CVC [Clyde Cessna, who was also flying in the NAR in a different airplane] was heading.   NC7107 was among the big money winners that year, with something like $7,000 in purses.   Earl Rowland did the racing, not CVC.  Son Eldon made a living racing 7107 for several seasons.  It ended its days hereabouts [Los Angeles] during the postwar era when it was left in the open and allowed to disintegrate.  I am pretty sure it was the bare bones AW I used to see languishing in the tall grass at Gardena Valley [CA] in the early '50s.   I've been trying to find somebody who remembers it.  In those days worn out airplanes weren't worth anything, even with a dossier full of history."

Cessna NC7107 also landed once and was signed into the Register at Parks Airport, East St. Louis, IL. Stanton was the pilot ca. December 1, 1929.

UPLOADED: 09/29/07 REVISED: 10/02/07, 11/07/07, 07/01/08, 06/29/11, 06/09/14, 10/19/14

 
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